Kristofor Stanković

Kristofor Stanković - how a winning lottery ticket brought Zagreb a theatre
Kristofor Stanković (Zemun, 1793 - Zagreb, 1867) lived and worked in Zagreb. He was a well-respected entrepreneur and a prominent participant in the public life of the city of Zagreb. At the suggestion of the first mayor of Zagreb, Janko Kamauf, he became a city representative.
However, he has left a permanent mark on the history of Zagreb as the man who built the first professional theatre. That is why the Kristofor Stanković Gallery was set up in the Old Town Hall, as an homage to the person who donated the city's first purpose-built theatre building. A number of notable concerts and exhibitions were held in the revitalized, representative space of the Gallery.
Kristofor Stanković, who had won 30,000 ducats in the Vienna lottery in 1833, decided to invest this money in the construction of a theatre and a redoute dance hall if the city gave him the land on which the historic old town hall was located, which he had planned to demolish.
The city magistrate gave him the desired construction site, and in return, obliged him to renovate and upgrade what remained of the building after the demolition of its oldest part. In the mid-19th century, alongside the renovated town hall, the city was enriched by a theatre and a ballroom in the same palace complex.
The "Stanković Theatre" opened in 1834, and for over 60 years it was the most significant social hotspot for the citizens of Zagreb. The events that took place in the theatre had an impact on all aspects of political and cultural life in Croatia.
The theatre institution remained in the old building in the Upper Town until 1895, when a new theatre building was built. The old building was remodeled to suit the needs of the city administration, but the ballroom was retained with minor adaptations and still hosts sessions of the City Assembly of the City of Zagreb.
Stanković also found himself a part of the Illyrian movement, which gave context to the activities of numerous notable persons who encouraged the construction of important institutions in the mid-19th century, and his decision to build the first purpose-built building for a professional theatre for the people of Zagreb earned Stanković a place of great honour.