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Collecting Antiques – Britanac

III Art of Collecting– The British Square in Zagreb

Last time we wrote about the art of collecting and equipping yourself with the right tools, literature, and methods you need to know in order to prepare yourself for the vast and mysterious world of antiques. Now we will present one of the places where you can find the items for your collection. Let’s explore “Britanac”, a quaint little square for collecting antiques in the heart of Croatia’s capital.

Some fine items you can find on Britanac

Britanac – Not only for Brits

There’s much to see even for those not planning to become collectors. You may just be a fan of antiques, or a passer-by. In any case, the British Square in Zagreb is a place you really should visit. It is most commonly referred to as Britanac, and is one of the few remaining squares to include an open-air marketplace. The square is located on Ilica Street, just a few blocks west of the main city square, Ban Jelačić Square. A five-minute walk from the very heart of the city takes you into one of the busiest flea markets in Croatia.

The magic happens every Sunday when this marketplace turns into an antique fair. For fifteen years now, Sunday mornings are reserved for sellers of antique books and art objects from The Art Nouveau to the more recent period. You can find various items here, such as decorative items, antique books, and collectibles of both local and international origin.

This market is best known for having items from the period of WWII. Militaria, art deco, propaganda (both communist and fascist), and postcards are the forté of this fair. Before the sunrise, numerous cars and vans arrive at the British Square crammed with various objects out of which the sellers carefully take out their items and decorate the stands.

Scouting for Valuables

When the weather is favorable, taking a stroll through the stands is like taking a walk through history. Bathed in sunlight and full of charming cafés and small restaurants this place allows you to mingle around, satisfy your curiosity and purchase something that catches your eye. Once the stands are set, you can really notice a whole variety of items: decorative items made of glass and crystal, rifles, pistols and sabers, paintings, ancient radios, music records, badges, old coins, etc.

Britanac is a great place for meeting young artists who exhibit their paintings and handicrafts here. To be honest, we didn’t browse through various items that much, as we were there for the books. If you have a keen eye, you could find very nice editions on various subjects: Croatian and Yugoslavian art, politics, history, ethnography, linguistics, dictionaries or, even rare and valuable belletristic editions.


An extremely rare work by Petar Hektorović on fishing that we found on Britanac. Unfortunately it’s a reprint but nonetheless a very beautiful and important book.

Beyond Collecting

Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer customers. However, this means sellers are offering their items for very popular prices. Even if you’re not here to buy anything, you can still enjoy the conversation with sellers, or meet new people who share your interests. Keep in mind that these sellers have various items they are not displaying. So, don’t be shy and ask the sellers if they have something extra to show you. We started talking to a seller of 20th-century art books, and next thing you know, we were talking about 16th-century manuscripts.

The interesting thing about Britanac is that many tourists come to visit this place all by themselves. They are mostly from Japan, South Korea, and Spain, but there are also those from the other parts of Europe. The atmosphere ranges from that of a marketplace, and art gallery, to a book and coffee shop. To sum it up, the experience is plentiful and suits various tastes.   As the day passes by, the visitors are less frequent and the stands empty one by one. As the last sellers leave, the place slowly transforms back into the little green market that usually occupies the British square.



Photo (1) property of
Photo (2) from active Ebay listing on Sigedon.

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