Krapina Neanderthal Museum – Best museum in Croatia!

So this weekend, since it was holiday, we went to Zagreb to meet some business partners and friends. Zagreb is great in early fall although it was a bit too chilly for us as well as quite foggy in the mornings.
We also planned a visit to Krapina to see this great museum we heard a lot about: Krapina Neandertal museum – built at the Hušnjakov brijeg (hill) where, back in late 19th century, Croatian scientist Dragutin Gorjanović Kramberger, found numerous paleoanthropological remains of the Neanderthal people who lived in Europe between 130 000 and 30 000 years ago and you can learn more here. The neanderthals lived in this area about 125 000 years ago.
Last time I was in Krapina was when I was 5 :))))
And now we have this AMAZING museum in this beautiful town!

Entrance to the museum!

The museum has been all over the news and magazines for the past year and usual attributes associated with it were: “amazing”, “best in the World”, “unique”… and, from the photos I have seen, it definitely looked like a place to visit. But nothing you read or hear can prepare you for the actual visit as this place is simply stunning with everything it offers and the way it is displayed.
The museum is not only exhibiting the finds from Krapina but tells the story of the history of our planet and puts things in a perspective showing the history of Earth from the “Big bang” to the modern humans.

Ever walked with our ancestors?

The most amazing thing about this museum are the layers and how they show the rise of life all the way to the modern humans in relations to rest of the life (animals and plants) as well as the shape of our continents. I particularly enjoyed the begging of the exhibition as it show Krapina in the late 19th century and gives a great insight where the findings took place: the people, the time, the culture…

But the highlight of the museum is definitely the reconstruction of shelter at Hušnjakov brijeg!

This is what they looked like! (Museum image)

The life-like sculptures really gave the impression of what the Neanderthals really looked like as well as the Hušnjakov brijeg shelter back in those days. But that is not all: this diorama is particularly impressive as it is accompanied by smells of sweat and burning meat as well as sounds meant to recreate those typical of the Stone Age! Unbelievable!

There are several other scenes and all hyper -realistic sculptures were modeled by French sculptress Elisabeth Daynes incorporating the most recent and updated knowledge of these people.

Taking care of the ill...

Although the exhibition is not big, we spent about an hour or so enjoying all the exhibits and discovering all the fascinating layers of human past.

And then, from the top floor, there is a path leading visitors to the actual site and that was a lovely walk in the woods to familiar bronze sculptures we all associate with Krapina. But, with this museum, that is surely changing!

This is how we viewed Neanderthal people before…

This is how we viewed Neanderthal people before...

The museum is some 40 Km from Zagreb and a great place to go if you are in the area or simply traveling by car from Slovenia. Just enter Krapina and follow the signs to the museum. There is a big parking lot as well and here is more information on the museum (in Croatian):
Museum site
and you can see and learn more here (in Croatian) and the actual site (hard to find…):

I must also say that a restaurant offer nearby is not interesting at all and they can go “crazy” with menu and make everything so much more interesting (although not dressing up like the Flinstones). Same goes for the museum shop but we still have to learn how to make our museums more profitable.

Entrance tickets are 50 Kn per adult visitors and 25 for students and children. Open every day but Mondays and major holidays.

Not sure why they don’t allow photographing as I am sure many blogs would bring many more people to this fascinating place so enjoy these few I had to “smuggle” with my small camera…

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  1. Kristijan says:

    Great update since I have been there last time around 30 years ago.
    Museums usually do not allow photos taken. That bugs me too and makes me feel like a petty thief when hiding camera and taking poor quality shoots because of that 🙂

  2. I know! Silly rule but…

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