Sunday, December 16, 2012

Zagreb's Weekly Flea Market

even on a cloudy day the red umbrellas cast a rosy light on the market

  50yearsinItaly hosts  a guest writer for the first time this week. 

 Douglas Ambrose  takes us to visit  Zagreb's weekly flea market.

On weekends, the market at Britanski Trg in Zagreb becomes a giant flea market/antique fair/social event.  The enormous snowstorm last weekend disrupted business, but the vendors were back this weekend, offering Christmas shoppers a dazzling array of goods.  

There is lots of loose silverware for sale.  The nice woman, who, like many of the vendors, is older and does not speak much English, offered the set  to me for $35.
silver plate 

 This tempted me. It's from the old socialist days and was awarded to firemen after ten years of service. The vendor had a few more, one of which was for a 20-year veteran . He wanted 50 kuna (about $9).

a tailor's iron used  to  press overcoats  
 My mother would have enjoyed this. She had a small collection of old irons, but she didn't have one like this. Note the little door on the large end; you open it up and put coals in it. It weighed a ton. One of those items that, if I were rich, would have been coming home with me.

This vendor was engaged in a typically animated discussion with a customer. Somehow, his leaning on the slot machine while haggling seemed apt.

 Lots of military stuff. It's sometimes difficult to determine if the material is genuine or not, but I think the helmets are the real deal. Note the irons on the right--my mom would have loved these.

Nazi ring (?) 

A vendor takes advantage of a lull in business to catch up with the Sunday paper

Another great collection--I loved the "arrangement" of items

 Oh, how I would have loved to have purchased this, although I knew better than to ask the price (which probably would have tempted me even more). 
The artwork reminded me of our daughter Augusta's style, but I was also charmed by the Christmas eve fish dinner and the family portrait on the wall.  Sretan Bozic  means  "Merry Christmas".
 I will have our landlord or a colleague at the University translate the poem/song.

 This potato "ricer" caught my eye. It was in excellent condition, and the ceramic bowl and plunger gave the item character. I actally asked how much this was: $62.

 This vendor was selling some nice silverware. Here he is checking the purity of the silver. It was stamped "800," or 80% pure, a standard quality for tableware.

Many tables feature pins from the old Yugoslavia. These two feature the date "29 November 1943." The vendor reminded me that Democratic Federal Yugoslavia, which soon became the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, was established on that date. The "JNA" is the Yugoslav National Army.

military pins  "snatcki"
 A parting shot of the square from the southeast corner. I can't wait to return next week with my children to discover new treasures and hear more stories about this country, its people, and their stuff.

Douglas Ambrose, a native of New Jersey, teaches American history at Hamilton College in upstate New York. As recipient of a Fulbright,  Douglas is teaching   American Studies at the University of Zagreb,Croatia this year .  Along with wife Sheila and their children, they are enjoying the discovery of this city and  Croatian lifestyle.

  Have  you visited this city?  What other special places  are there to see? 
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  1. I love flea markets (except when I come home with junk that I don't know what to do with). Porta Portese was fun but the last time I was there it was all stuff from China - so diappointing. I should have kept a list of all the markets I have visited although haven't been to Zagreb (yet).

  2. Douglas, I think the price of the silverware is good, the potato masher is way too expensive, people still use these here.