Archaeological Museum, Zagreb
I was really was impressed by Zagreb's archaeological museum. I've too often found that the archaeological aspects of a location are minimised, perhaps banished to the basement or over-focused on the Roman period (because the Romans left vast amounts of artefacts behind almost everywhere they lived). And in many museums the labelling, lighting and display are poor. In most cases there simply isn't the money to improve and, if there is, archaeological display is not a priority.
So when I entered Zagreb's archaeological museum (which focuses on archaeological discoveries rather than just prehistory) I was surprised and pleased to find none of those observations applied. Artefacts are displayed in a modern and accessible way and...most importantly..without the 'dumbing-down' which is blighting too many museums in the UK and elsewhere.
The museum is within the city centre, housed in a huge and rather lovely Vranyczany-Hafner mansion, which dates from the 1800s and not only has a wonderful marble-panelled staircase but also a superb old lift (elevator).
Artefacts are displayed in chronological order (hurrah!) so you start on the top floor and gradually work your way upwards in time as you go downwards in the building. The airy, well-lit modern galleries are a pleasure to wander.
I particularly loved the numerous beautifully-polished stone axes (such skill and so many hours of work!), the armlets and bracelets, the amber and stone-bead necklaces and...especially....the metal caps which formed part of jewellery sets worn by females in the Iron Age and earlier. I haven't come across those anywhere else so perhaps they were particular to that part of the world. These personal items can tell us much more about the real people who lived at the time than swords or even cooking pots.
The lower floors have equally-good displays of Roman artefacts (including a range of excellently-preserved helmets), Ancient Egyptian stelae, canopic jars, mummy cases etc, Ancient Greek pottery and..although I didn't bother...there is also an important collection of coins, one of the largest in Europe.
Outside, in what was nice the mansion's garden, there are displays of larger Roman sculptures (altars, graveslabs and suchlike) as well as a cafe with outside tables and a museum shop.
Everything is labelled in English as well as Croatian. Staff are helpful, pleasant and (in my experience) speak very good English. If you have any interest in early history (not just prehistory) you have no excuse not to visit...but do allow yourself a couple of hours to explore.
You can see more of the museum's artefacts in my travelogue here
The museum is closed on Mondays. Its late night is Thursday (open from 1000 to 2000) and on Sundays it's only open from 1000 - 1300. On the other days it's open from 1000 - 1800.
Adult entrance is 20 kuna (an absolute bargain!). Free entrance on the first Sunday of each month.
The official website has an English language version.
Great museum that you should not miss, situated in an old beautiful building on the most beautiful Zagreb Square Zrinjevac, the building alone is interesting enough to visit. The museum is not too big, there are some interesting collections. One of the things you must not miss is Zagreb mummy, Etruscan mummy found in Egypt. The Mummy was found wrapped up in a Etrucan manuscipt, the longest text know in Etrucan language in the world.
This year Croatian Apoxyomenos was finally exhibited. One of 8 bronze Greek sculptures like that in the world, found in 1998 near the island Losinj.
Tip: when you are done with your visit sit down in the Lapidarium in the Museums garden and enjoy your drink while being surrounded with Greek and Roman stone monuments (check photo 4).
PS: the ticket should be quite cheap, student one is 10 kunas.
The Archaelogical Croatian Museum is seated in the Vranyczany Hafner mansion at 19 Zrinski Square. The museum collections, consisting of nearly 400,000 varied artifacts and monuments, which have been gathered over the years from many different sources.
very nice approach covered with findings and good written text help you realize how was life some thousands years ago...
there's also a nice egyptian collection, small, but very nice