Judging by the many statues of literary personalities that dot the city, Zagreb has always revered the written word. Today, although two major bookstores have closed down, Croatia’s capital is still home to a number of small-batch publishers that are also outlets. The city also specialises in antiquarian shops, where an entertaining browse should turn up a rare edition, map or curio.
One of a number of antiquarian bookstores in the city, Biblos is the place to go to for rare historic tomes, maps and books about Zagreb, some dating back to the mid 1800s. The majority of the stock is in Croatian but the more recently issued editions about the capital are dual-language. Rarities abound, such as Blau Otto’s meticulously detailed ‘Reisen in Bosnien und der Herzegowina’, published in Berlin in 1877, shortly before the Congress there ceded Bosnia & Herzegovina to the Habsburgs.
Biblos, Vlaška 19, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 4816 574
The most prominent of Zagreb’s contemporary literary establishments, Booksa is more a laid-back café and hangout than an out-and-out bookstore but it still hosts regular talks, workshops and discussions about the world of literature. English-language authors are regularly invited to give readings, international writers too.
Jesenski & Turk
A local mini-chain of second-hand bookstores, Jesenski & Turk has two branches in town, each one with a more populist stock than the somewhat erudite antiquarian establishments elsewhere. You should be able to find a suitable English-language novel for your onward train journey, photography books in good condition and guides to Zagreb and Croatia.
Jesenski & Turk, Vukotinićeva 4, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 4826 233
Vuković & Runjić
Since 1999, Vuković & Runjić has published 15 titles a year, including Croatian versions of classic, cultish and contemporary international fiction. Márquez, Orhan Pamuk and Salman Rushdie are presented between strikingly imaginative covers, with high production standards, making lovely gifts for a Croatian host or friend.
Vuković & Runjić, Teslina 16, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 4810 742
Right on Zagreb’s main square, Ljevak is a book publishers as well as a major outlet for (mainly) modern international fiction in Croatian. There’s a substantial section of English-language editions, as well as books on foreign languages, including dictionaries and workbooks.
Ljevak, Trg bana Josipa Jelačića 17, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 4812 992
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