HOW THE WINNING LOTTERY TICKET HELPED ZAGREB TO GET THEATER
The first purpose-built theater building in Zagreb, the Stanković Theater (also called the Old Theater or the Theater on St. Mark's Square), was ceremoniously opened on October 4, 1834. It was built in the Upper Town between St. Mark's Square and Cyril and Methodius and Freudenreich streets. The theater building was built by rich merchant and entrepreneur Kristofor Stanković, with the money he won in the Vienna lottery. It was about 30,000 ducats that Stanković invested in the construction of the theater.
The projects for Stanković's theater building were made by Christofor and Anton Cragnolini, architects of Italian origin, in the neoclassical style. The building also had a ballroom, and around the auditorium were three rows of lodges, and the theater could accommodate more than 750 visitors. The orchestra was placed level with the audience.
The premier performance was Niklas Graf von Zriny by Theodor Körner and it was played in German. Well, the theater was mostly performed by German and Italian companies with rare plays in the Croatian language. Since 1860, with the expulsion of German actors, only Croatian plays have been performed, and the theater has been renamed into National Theater.
Stanković rented the building to various tenants for theatrical and other purposes, so, for example, the Croatian Parliament sat in it for some time in 1848. Finally, in 1851, on the initiative of Ban Jealčić, the building was bought by the Croatian government. The building was damaged in an earthquake in 1880, and in 1881 the Croatian Parliament passed a law on the construction of a new theater. The last performance was held on June 16. In 1895 the theater was moved to a newly built area known as Fairgrounds (today it is Republic of Croatia Square).
And what happened with the building of the Stanković Theater? Well, today this building is the seat of the City Assembly of the City of Zagreb.