The Croatian Hawk Exhibition
Poster of the Croatian Hawk Parish “Ban Paližna” in Zadar for the annual Landing at Biograd-at-the-sea, October 19th 1913, Inv. No. 6068 
The Croatian Sports Museum organized the Croatian Hawk exhibition on the 140th anniversary of the publication of the first number of Croatia’s oldest sports and exercise magazine “Hawk” (1878) and the 135th anniversary of the construction and opening of Croatia’s first sports and exercise hall – Zagreb’s Croatian Hawk Hall (1883). The exhibition, opened for the 2018 Museum Night event, occupied the Croatian Hawk Hall, one of Europe’s oldest sports hall in near-original form which continues to serve its original purpose – training gymnasts.

The first Croatian Hawk society was established in Zagreb in 1874. By the beginning of the First World War, there were around 180 societies with some 20.000 members. In this period, the Croatian Hawk represented the largest and most numerous sports, social and physical exercise movement in Croatia. Physical exercise was the movement’s basic activity, but the movement’s goals and the fundamental reasons for its establishment were political and ideological: the fight against germanization and hungarization, the development and preservation of national consciousness and the fight for the preservation and advancement of Croatian autonomy. The fulfilment of these goals relied heavily on the movement’s size and scope, aided by the organization of public physical exercise events, so-called “Landings” and activities aimed at promoting education and culture. The leaders of the Croatian Hawk societies were largely prominent politicians tied to the National Party and later to the Croatian Rights’ Party. The Croatian Hawk had a role to play in the development of modern sports. The first sports clubs are born from Hawk societies. Hawk notables formed the foundation of the expert coaching and training cadre of Croatian sports all the way up to the 2nd World War. The first appearance by Croatian athletes on an international event under the Croatian flag can be tied to the Hawk movement. The movement also produced Franjo Bučar, the father of Croatian sports.