{Croatia} CECA 2011 – Day 4

September 19, 2011

Croatia

Today was out grand study trip to the Zagorje region of Crosatia. The weather report looked pretty gloomy – non stop rain from about lunch time onwards and a chance of thunderstorms – but we set of from Zagreb with clear blue sky and radiant sunshine.

Our first stop was the Museum of the Krapina Neanderthals. As a huge fan of the Neanderthal Museum in Germany, it was going to take a lot for another Neanderthal museum to win me over, but Krapina delivers a good show despite the slightly confusing introduction film recreating the life of a group of Neanderthals – why was the man ill but the woman died?! – featuring full frontal female nudity and a bloody stump after someone’s arm gets bitten off by a bear. But apparently the groups of children they get visiting take this all in their stride!

Muzej Krapinski Neandertalaca

The museum is located at an archaeological site where a significant number of Neanderthal remains were found, and presents not only the Neanderthals themselves and their archaeological discovery, but places them within the context of history – in other words, you also get to see some dinosaurs! In its own wor, the museum is “a signpost for contemporary nomads who wish to drop in and peer into a dark and for many people enigmatic prehistoric world” (guide book). With 150,000 visitors in its first year and 250,000 in its second, most of whom are school pupils and students, it is Croatia’s most visited museum.

Whilst we managed to avoid the potential thunderstorms, it did start raining and did not, as we had hoped, stop by the end of lunch. In fact, it did not stop at all. This meant that our next scheduled stop, at the Staro Selo Open Air Museum, was a rather damp and very short affair, as we were soon ushered back into the buses befo everyone got washed away. The final stop of our tour was luckily indoors (minus the sculpture garden), at the Antun Augustinčić Gallery, Augustinčić being one of Croatia’s most important sculptors and representatives of Croatian modern art. His most famous piece is the public ‘Peace’ monument next to the UN building in New York.

Galerija Antuna Augustincica

On our return to Zagreb we were rewarded either the most beautiful double rainbow arching over the city.

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