The Heart of Zagreb

If you’re looking for a souvenir that will show your affection and good taste at the same time, this might be the thing you seek. The Licitar heart is one of the most traditional symbols of Zagreb and Central Croatia in general. Initially a colorfully decorated honey cookie, coming in various shapes such as birds, horses, mushrooms or corollas, it gained a cult status as a heart-shaped cookie young men used to give to the girls they liked.

Licitar heart 2
Licitar heart 2

During the 16th and 17th century, similar kind of cookies was made in Alpine parts of Europe, where they gained popularity, and the baking and decorating method spread to surrounding parts, including Pannonia and Central Croatia. The artisans who made them were called Licitars and enjoyed vast popularity among all classes of people. They would sell their product at city fairs and bake the cookies in all forms and shapes, but the heart would distinguish itself as the most common one being given to loved ones, and the tradition of gifting tiny hearts settled in no time.
It’s no oddity in Croatia to give someone a Licitar heart as a sign of affection, especially when today in many souvenir shops, you have a chance to create a unique custom-made Licitar heart with a name or a little mirror in the middle. The concept of Licitar hearts became such an indivisible part of Croatian culture that a popular Croatian ballet by Krešimir Baranović bears the same title- The Licitar heart.

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