Cultural heritage

Family stories based on real events from the long history of the Gavrilović family.

Gavrilović’s Products Showcased in a Traditional Croatian-Style Glass Cabinet

Given the popularity and widespread consumption of their cured meat products – especially the Zimska Salami – in all the more elite homes throughout the Empire, the organizers of the Jubilee Exhibit of 1891 in Zagreb were determined to have Gavrilovic’s goods exhibited as well, “…to the pride and glory of the whole Croatian economy.” It is no wonder then that the organizers sent emissaries to visit Petrinja.

The Jubilee Exhibit was organized and decorated ornately for that day and age. It was located on what was then called University Square. Ever since the first Economic Exhibit took place there, back in 1864, followed by the opening of the grandiose Croatian National Theatre in 1895, the Square was named the Trade Square and finally, Marshal Tito Square. The Jubilee Exhibit surpassed its predecessor, the Economic Exhibit, in both size and quantity. Covering a striking eighteen-thousand square metre surface, it stretched from the University building to the north, all the way to the Sokol and Kola edifices to the south; Masarykova Street to the east, and Frankopanska and Prilaz to the west.

Local Zagreb newspapers wrote extensively about the upcoming Exhibit, while the Petrinja Banovac Weekly praised its local meat company in their paper. The Banovac anticipates that Gavrilović will once again show that they have long surpassed all their capacities on a local level and are ready to move on to larger markets. Petrinja’s papers inform their readers on everything concerning the organization and decoration of the Fair, in which the Gavrilović stand will display all of their most appealing products. We read that their special Petrinja salamis will be showcased in “…an ornate cabinet made in the traditional Croatian style, costing over a hundred forints, while a special tasting space will be set up to sample and purchase Gavrilović’s famous home-made products.

The Gavrilović factory was, at that time, the only one of its kind in Croatia. Jelica, the pretty girl chosen as the symbol of Gavrilović’s products, would be presenting the meat samples. She would be dressed in ceremonious Croatian attire, specific for young provincial girls from the Petrinja region of that time. The expensive dress was already ordered and finished, thanks to the Gavrilović brothers. “We can easily predict that visitors to the exhibit will marvel at the Gavrilović stand and give many a compliment and recognition, which will come as a great advantage for a neglected branch of our national economy.”

The Jubilee Exhibit gave Zagreb a new set of wings in terms of progress and innovation. The Exhibit coincided with another unique event; namely, the horse-pulled tram came into use. It “zoomed” past the Trade Square at a speed of six kilometres per hour and changed the life for the people of Zagreb, giving it a new image and appearance. The horse-pulled tram method of transportation lasted for a full twenty years, without any other forms of traffic to compete with, all the way up to the turn of the century when the first automobiles came into use. The horses with bells round their necks began to be confused with the automobile traffic around them, just as were the town folk who would call out:
“Watch out! Here comes a car!”

It is obvious that any major intervention in urban life carries with it other events and novelties. In the same manner, the Jubilee Exhibit introduced the aforementioned horse-pulled tram. At the base of Mesnička Street, a statue was built in honour of Franciscan monk, Andrija Kačić Miočić, sculpted by Croatian artist Ivan Rendić. The statue was a witness to all the events and novelties of 1891, including the Jubilee Economic-Forestry Exhibit, where, amongst other traditional products on display, Gavrilović’s fragrant and delicious salamis were exhibited and sold.