Located only an hour drive from Zagreb, Krapina Neanderthal Museum (also called Kraneamus) is a great place for morning visit when you get bored of a big city life. Around 9:30 we arrived at the site (advice – use GPS because all road signs are unfortunately in Croatian only and museum’s signage is not the best one) and first we saw were impressive wooden sculptures all around the path which you need to take to reach the museum.
Krapina Neanderthal Museum – New and Innovative
The museum itself was redesigned and reopened in February 2010. Since then it attracts the attention of visitors due to its topic and presentation, but also the architecture. The building is made to remind you on the semi-cave where the prehistoric man lived and the whole exterior, interior and exhibition are designed and presented that way.
Travel into the Past
Upon entering the museum and buying the ticket, we saw a short 15-minute video about Neanderthals before entering the exhibition part. Even the video was filmed there, with local people playing Neanderthals, it was the least interesting part of our visit. We continued to the exhibition which was made around the evolution, but with the focus on Neanderthal men found whose remains were found on the nearby hill Hušnjakovo.
“The exhibition is set up as a time machine through the history of the Universe, the Earth and Man, leading up to the present day, and lays special emphasis on the Neanderthal period.”
The museum is fresh and informative. The information is presented in an interesting and innovative way in the context of evolution. It shows the period from the Big Bang until the appearance of human race. You are moving up in the circles while traveling through the years and geological periods. I remember how our high school geography professor tried to make this lessons more interesting by showing us how much would last every geological period if the whole history was shown through only 24 hours. They used the same way to simplify it and make it more interesting for the visitors with less geological knowledge.
“The rhythm and the density of the exhibits change, as well as the colors of the surrounding space, its sounds and atmosphere. The organic architectural form evokes the womb, the embryo, the snail’s spirals or a replica of a human brain. This actually corresponds to the place and the significance of Neanderthals in the evolution of mankind.”
Spend a lovely morning
It will take approximately an hour to finish with the museum tour. I loved the fact all the exhibits are labeled and followed by the explanation both in Croatian and English, and the main stories are shown in German too. They also offer guided tours and audio guides. Guided tours are available in Croatian (150 – 200 kn ~ 20 – 26 €) and English (200 – 250 kn ~ 26 – 33 €) and you need to reserve them in advance. Audio guides are available for only 10 kn (~ 1.30€) in eight languages (Croatian, Slovenian, English, German, French, Italian, Czech and Hungarian) and it is 70 minutes long. I cannot notice Spanish language is missing. 🙂
Modern technologies were well incorporated into presenting the history. They used videos, wax figures and interactive installations to make the visit even more educational and unique. I especially loved the wax figures representing the cavemen and their evolution. Also, at few different locations around the museum you can scan your ticket and take pictures of yourself like a Neanderthal. After you can purchase them for 10 kn (~ 1.30€) each in the gift shop. Unfortunately, taking photos for private use is forbidden and that ruined my visit a bit (that is why I am using photos from Museum’s site in this post).
See the cavemen site
Once finished with the museum tour, you will find yourself on a little hill. If you walk for only five minutes, you will find yourself in front of the reconstruction of semi-cave where the Neanderthals lived. Here you can take photos with cavemen and see the statues of prehistoric animals.
Right next to museum’s exit, there is a restaurant where you can try Croatian specialty “štrukle” for only 20 – 25 kn (~ 2.60 – 3.25 €).
Did you already visit a museum? How did you like it?
Adults 50 kn (~ 6.50€)
Children, students, pensioners 25 kn (~ 3.25€)
Family ticket 100 kn (~ 13€)
All quotes and most of the photos used in this post are owned by Museum.
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