It’s nothing new that in recent film industry locations in Croatia are getting more and more wanted. Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Robin Hood, Mamma Mia, James Bond and Ridley Scott’s new show “The Terror” and the list goes on. But all those shows and movies were filmed in well-known places like Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Vis, Pag etc.
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But did you know that one of the cult movies of 20thcentury, Norman Jewison’s “Fiddler on the roof”, which won three Oscars (Best Cinematography, Best Sound and Best Music categories as well as nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Director and Best Set Decoration) and two Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture and Best Actor in Motion Picture, was shot just nearby Zagreb, in a small village called Lekenik?
That’s right, the set that depicted a rural landscape of pre-revolutionary Russia was shot in Lekenik which proved itself to be the perfect scenery for a musical that had a not so heartwarming story behind it.
While the crew for the movie was looking for an appropriate location to shoot the movie, Branko Lustig, a famous and acclaimed Croatian producer who won Academy Awards for his masterpieces “Schindler’s List” and “The Gladiator” (and most importantly- an Auschwitz survivor!) suggested that they should take a visit to Lekenik and see themselves why this was the perfect place for the movie.
The movie “Fiddler on the roof” indeed was shot in Lekenik and after it hit the theatres it instantly became a cult and has spread awareness about struggles of Jews in recent history.
Until recently, not many people heard of Lekenik and its importance not only for the film industry but also for the Jewish community in Croatia.
There is also a fact that a Jewish man named Julius Mann who lived in Lekenik in the first half of 20thcentury was the founder of the first fire brigade and the soccer club in Lekenik and was a respected member of the community until his very unfortunate death during the Holocaust in 1942.
The tourist board of Lekenik and Centre for Jewish Education “Rimon” decided to put Lekenik on the map of important historical and movie locations.
During the Homeland War that affected Croatia in many devastating ways, as many children lost their parents, Lekenik became a SOS village for children without parental care where generations grew up since 1993 and there were even musical plays of “Fiddler on the roof” performed by the children and young adults from the SOS village Lekenik.
Lekenik is just a half an hour from Zagreb and, believe it or not, looks not much different from the old Lekenik from the movie.
Its rustic and peaceful atmosphere is just a plus for all those who want to visit a place where movie history was made, but also to get away from the urban rush that is hard to avoid, as we all know.
Thanks to Centre for Jewish Education “Rimon”