Stadion Maksimir

Capacity38 168
718 (VIP seats)
335 (Press seats)
Country Croatia
CityZagreb
ClubsGNK Dinamo Zagreb
Floodlights 1200 lux
Inauguration 05.05.1912
Renovations 1998, 1999, 2011
Design Branko Kincl (1997)

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Description: Stadion Maksimir

The ground was built in the Eastern part of Zagreb in Spring 1912. Just as the district and the park opposite the stadium, it bears the name Maksimir. No wonder Maksimir also stands in the venue’s name. Throughout the years it’s been revamped several times, never loosing the athletics track. Moreover, it wasn’t until 2011 that the ground lost parts of disused historical terracing encircling the track. New stands were thus built behind both the track and historical bowl, resulting in extremely big distances and poor sightlines.

Among the architects working on Maksimir were renown Croatian specialists Vladimir Turina or Branko Kincl, but the outcome has been raising controversy and even outrage for many years. Most significant redevelopment started in 1998 with new north stand being built with two tiers accommodating some 10,000 people, similar to the main, western part. At that point the only reminder of previous oval shape was the south curve.

The plan was to eventually complete a ring of double-tiered stands with corners being filled with infrastructure, just like space underneath the seating. Among other hotel, shopping mall and offices were planned. This however was done only partly in the north and north-western parts. Last chance for finishing the works started in 1998 was the Euro 2012 bid by Croatia and Hungary. However, due to Poland and Ukraine being chosen as hosts, the plan was abandoned.

In 2008 competition for a new 50,000 stadium in Kajzerica district was announced. The winning concept may had been unique, but was never implemented, leaving Maksimir as Zagreb’s prime sporting venue. For that reason in 2011 a major facelift was carried out. All seats were changed, athletics track covered in blue artificial turf. This colour also appeared on the remains of old stands inside the bowl and on buildings that were left unfinished for decades in the north-western part.

The hosts, as signs on seats state from 2011, are Dinamo Zagreb. Their satellite club Lokomotiva also play here from 2009 on. Though not by name, Maksimir is effectively the national stadium of Croatia and boasts an impressive record – the side lost no game for 16 years, a streak ended by England scoring 4 goals in 2008. Maksimir was also a Euro 1976 venue (then as part of Yugoslavia) and main venue for 1978 Universiade.

Apart from sport this arena is seen as a symbolic start to the Croatian War of Independence. In 1990 riot started between hooligans of Dinamo Zagreb and Crvena Zvezda Belgrade and are thought to be the beginning of warfare by many. Then, in Autumn 1990 a more positive event took place – first concert was played at Maksimir, by David Bowie. Then came more top performers like Bjelo Dugme, U2 or Bon Jovi.    

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