Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Museums and Cultural Itineraries in Zagreb Croatia

Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. The first recorded appearance of the name Zagreb is dated to 1094, at which time the city existed as two different city centers: the smaller, eastern Kaptol, inhabited mainly by clergy and housing Zagreb Cathedral, and the larger, western Gradec, inhabited mainly by farmers and merchants. They were united in 1851. Some sources suggest that the name derives from the term 'za breg' or 'beyond the hill'. The hill may well have been the river bank of the River Sava, which is believed to have previously flowed closer to the city center. According to another old legend, a city ruler was thirsty and ordered a girl named Manda to take water from Lake Manduševac, nowadays a fountain in Ban Jelačić Square, using the sentence: "Zagrabi, Mando!" which means, Scoop it up, Manda!
A cafe culture downtown outdoor cafes are crammed with caffeine-seeking voyeurs, assessing passersby while gossiping or debating politics. Friendly and funny, many of the city's residents speak English. No double skim lattes, these purists go for espresso -- with or without whipped cream -- or cappuccino elegantly served in cup and saucer.
The food over the past millennia, Romans, Ottomans, Venetians and Austrians have all battled over Croatia. The result is a remarkably diverse cuisine based on quality ingredients. Be sure to order Paski sir (cheese from the island of Pag), janjetina na raznju (spit-roasted lamb) and riba na gradele (fish on the grill), as well as Turkish treats cevapi u somunu (grilled meat dumplings) and raznjici (pork shish-kabab). And with all the vineyards around, wine is delicious and inexpensive.
The Cathedral despite being communist until 1989, Croatia managed to retain its Catholic religion. The twin spires of Zagreb's neo-Gothic cathedral dominate the downtown skyline.
The Archeology Museum the Zagreb mummy is too macabre to resist. This mummified body of a woman replete with toenails and hair, was brought to Croatia from Egypt in 1848. Like many celebrities, the Zagreb mummy is most famous for her clothes. Her bandage wrapping are strips of an Etruscan book made of linen, the longest known text (1,200 words) in this as-yet untranslated language. The mystery, however, is why the Etruscan mummy was in Egypt in the first place!
Day 2 after breakfast departure by bus for the Croatian Zagorje region. Our first stop will be Krapina to visit the Neanderthal Museum. The main museum attraction is the authentic reconstruction of a Neanderthal family of 17 people. The archaeological site on a hill called Husnjak had over eight hundred fossil remains of 75 Neanderthals along with tools and weapons, making it one of the most significant in Europe. Next stop is the nearby town of Gornja Stubica and the Peasant Revolt Museum, founded and opened to the public on the 400th anniversary of the great 1573 Peasant's Revolt. It is situated in the 18th century baroque palace of the Oršić family and built on the site of a medieval fort. The Museum collects material related to the Peasants' Revolt, noblemen and farmers' life, and all objects from the cultural, historical, and art heritage of Zagorje. Items are divided into three collections: cultural and historical collection, art collection, and ethnographic collection; the Museum also contains archaeological findings from the ancient town of Konjšćina.
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Day 3after breakfast departure by bus to the Ethno village Kumrovec. The Staro Selo Museum is the only open-air museum in Croatia that is equipped with all facilities with which to justify its existence as a European open-air museum. The restored and reconstructed buildings include 25 residential houses, 9 farm buildings and 8 smaller structures (2 corn sheds, 2 pigsties, and 4 wells), covering a total area of 12,640 square meters. The museum holdings include 2,800 exhibits the majority of which are permanently on show. The 15 permanent ethnographic displays and the two historical ones provide insight into the traditional ways of life, old customs, handicrafts, and trades some of which have long been forgotten. Next stop is Veliki Tabor, the fortress and a museum dating from the 12th century.
The collections in the exhibition spaces include old vehicles, ethnographic items, the first manufacture of medicines, swords and armor, paintings and pottery, as well as a presentation of the noble Ratkaj family which used to own the castle. Afterward, we will walk to the nearby local restaurant where you will have an opportunity to enjoy the rural ambiance and tasteful food.
After the lunch break we continue to the small town of Klanjec to visit the Gallery of Antun Augustincic, established in 1970, when Antun Augustincic (1900-1979), educated in both Zagreb and Paris, among our most renowned sculptors, as well as the foremost representative of Croatian contemporary art, donated to its native town of Klanjec his own sculptures, created over 50 years of work, from the 20's to the 70's.  The Gallery hosts works, exhibits as well as a sculpture park.
Back in Zagreb, we suggest a visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships – winner of Kenneth Hudson Award for the most innovative museum in Europe. The Museum grew from a traveling exhibition revolving around the concept of failed relationships and their ruins. Unlike ‘destructive’ self-help instructions for recovery from failed loves, the Museum offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation: such as contributing to the Museum's collection.
You can also go to the Zagreb Ethnographic Museum, founded in 1919 and holdings about 80,000 items that cover the ethnographic heritage of Croatia, classified in the three cultural zones: the Pannonian, Dinaric and Adriatic. There are about 3,000 items in the permanent display of the Museum, and they are arranged so as to illustrate two main themes: the folk costumes of Croatia and the popular art and handicrafts with a representative selection of Croatian national costume (lace from Pag, Slavonian goldsmith work and Konavle jewelry) as well as collections of rarities from extra-European traditional cultures.  In the non-European section there are items from the traditional cultures of Africa, Latin America, Asia, Australia and Oceania. About 5,000 items of clothing, furniture, arms, tools, jewelry, musical instruments, religious and cult items and many other things were collected at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. These collections vividly represents local cultures on these continents. Following a brief stop at your hotel we will have dinner at the local restaurant.
Day 4 after breakfast we will meet a local guide who will take us on a tour around Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Zagreb has more than thousand-year long history: its development began on the two hills Kaptol and Gradec - today the Upper Town. Our stroll around the streets of Zagreb begins on King Tomislav Square and adjacent park, then to Zrinjevac park with its fountains, the most valuable example of the 19th century architectural design. From the park, Praska street leads to the main square called Trg Bana Jelacica.  After a short walk we will arrive to the Cathedral and a visit to its interior. Sightseeing continues on the other part of the old Upper Town - Gradec hill. There we will visit the well-preserved 13th Century Stone Gate, part of defense walls, St. Mark church with its famed multi-color roof, the Parliament buildings, St. Catherine church, and Lotrščak tower. Nearby, there is a Promenade with a beautiful view of downtown Zagreb.
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