Must See This Winter: Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb

Must See This Winter: Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb

We already planned out our visit to Zagreb Christmas markets, when I noticed the special Nutcracker exhibition will be opening the very same day. Of course, we extended our visit to the city center and headed straight to the Zagreb’s Museum of Arts and Crafts first. 

From November 26, 2016, until February 27, 2017, the Museum of Arts and Crafts is the venue to visit in the city. Unique and never seen before, the Nutcracker Christmas exhibition in Zagreb will capture your heart easily, no matter if you are a fan or not.

Read more: When did Zagreb Christmas market become this awesome?!

The Nutcracker Christmas Fairy Tale

Following the story of the most popular Christmas ballet in the world, the Nutcracker exhibition will draw you into a magical story of Clara and her toy. Even the story is based on “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E. T. A. Hoffman, today’s ballet is a bit different. However, the basics remain the same – it follows the story of young Clara, a German girl who dreams of a fierce Nutcracker Prince battling the scary Mouse King with seven heads. 

It all starts with Clara’s family hosting their annual Christmas party where her Christmas present, a beautiful Nutcracker toy, becomes a hit. Her jealous brother breaks it and the family tries to repair it. They did the best they could but Clara, worried about him, sneaks back to the tree and falls asleep with the toy in her arms.

Read more: Forget Advent in Vienna, head to Zagreb instead!

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

As the clock strikes midnight, the toys around the tree come to life and the Mouse King attacks them with his army. After the grand victory and thanks to Clara’s love, the Nutcracker turns into a prince and takes her on a magical journey through the Snow Forest and the Kingdom of sweets where they dance and celebrate. Unfortunately, every dream comes to its end – Clara wakes up underneath the tree still holding her beloved Nutcracker. 

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

The Enchanting Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb

You do not need to know the story, or see the ballet to love this exhibition. It will enchant you with its fairy tale scenography, details from behind the scene and those wonderful costumes which were worn by some famous ensembles.

You can see the material from Saint Petersburg 1892 premiere, costumes worn in Milan’s Scala and Zagreb National theater as well as some items from Jelko Yuresha’s (Željko Jureša) private collection. He was Croatian / British artist who traveled the world with his wife Belinda Wright in order to promote the ballet. They were both regulars in the Nutcracker ensemble since late 1940-is and together they staged many choreographies and designed costumes, jewelry, and sets.

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

As the Nutcracker is the most frequently performed classical ballet, many theaters around the world made their own adaptations. This exhibition shows several costumes designed by a famous costume designer Nicholas Georgiadis, designed for performances in Milan’s Scala during 1960-is. They are amazing, aren’t they?

In Zagreb, the Nutcracker has been performing since 1931. However, in the spirit of the former socialist Yugoslavia, the story did not take place on a Christmas Eve (Christmas was not celebrated back then), but on Clara’s birthday and, since then, several versions of the ballet were performed over the years. 

Read more: Croatian winter comfort food you should try

Ticket for this wonderful exhibition will cost you 40 kn per person (around 5,5€), just make sure to come before February 27 when the fairy tale ends. Museum is located in Zagreb, Croatia, just across the National Theatre in the city center, so you can’t miss it. If you have some time free, in the basement there is also an excellent restaurant and cafe (a place where we had our wedding celebration, actually!).

Besides those spectacular Nutcracker toys exhibited, the youngsters will enjoy Santa’s workshop house in the museum’s lobby, music listening corner and dreamy toys they can bring home as a souvenir

Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts | Mexatia

In total, the exhibition about the ballet performed in the most beautiful time of the year is very well organized, attractive and interesting. I would call it being extremely successful since it made us want to see the ballet performance again. Too bad all the tickets were already sold out. But, if you have an opportunity, make sure to visit the Nutcracker Christmas Exhibition in Zagreb! Also, it is a great place to warm up while going around the city and trying all those delicious winter comfort food.

Museum of Arts and Crafts
Trg maršala Tita
Zagreb, Croatia
Entrance fee: 40 kn

If you or your little ones are fans of the Nutcracker, you might consider treating yourself with this precious souvenirs.
   
 

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Trakoscan Castle, a modern fairy tale close to Zagreb

Trakoscan Castle, a modern fairy tale close to Zagreb

Situated in Zagorje region near Croatian – Slovenian border, Trakoscan Castle is around 1.5 hour drive from Zagreb. The drive is well worth since Trakoscan is one of the most beautiful and best preserved castles in Croatia with beautiful surroundings and breathtaking views. Also it is one of rare castles which are actually restored and opened to public. It is a true must see destination in Croatia.

Trakoscan Castle Croatia | dvorac Trakošćan Hrvatska | Mexatia

Trakoscan Castle © Mexatia

Trakoscan Castle Croatia | dvorac Trakošćan Hrvatska | Mexatia

Trakoscan Castle © Mexatia

Welcome to a fairytale

It was built in the late 13th century like a small medieval burg and observation fortress for monitoring the road from Ptuj to Bednja. In 16th century it became a residence of noble family Draskovic, who lived here for almost 400 years. Trakoscan Castle was restored in the late 19th century, when it got today’s romantic looks. Also the surrounding area was modified in the park and artificial lake was created. In 1944 the castle was nationalized and it was established as a museum in 1954.

As said, Trakoscan is a real medieval fortress situated on the hill. Due to that, you need to do some climbing to reach it. The road leading to the castle is not so steep, but it may not be suitable for elderly people. Also, once you get into the castle, you will need to face the stairs, so make sure you are physically able to do it. The castle’s surroundings are worth exploring. You can take a walk around the lake (it takes around 1.5 hour), you can jog or hire a paddle boat to explore the lake. Expect to have your breath taken by the fascinating views.

Trakoscan Castle Croatia | dvorac Trakošćan Hrvatska | Mexatia

Trakoscan Castle © Queenie Liewpin

Trakoscan Castle Croatia | dvorac Trakošćan Hrvatska | Mexatia

Trakoscan Castle © Mexatia

Trakoscan Castle Croatia | dvorac Trakošćan Hrvatska | Mexatia

Trakoscan Castle © Mexatia

Fascinating Interior

If you decide to visit the castle, the fascinating interior will welcome you. Thanks to family Draskovic, the Trakoscan museum takes you to the past while you are exploring castle’s medieval heritage (such as furniture, paintings, weapons etc.) and learning about the life of Croatian nobility. The objects date from 15th to 19th century and the exhibition covers all the areas of castle. It consists of four levels (low and high ground, first and second floor) where you can visit a kitchen, a dungeon with torture machine, a hunter hall decorated with hunting trophies, knight’s hall, dining and other rooms, libraries, music salon with old piano, etc. Second floor is especially interesting because each room is decorated in different style (baroque, rococo, etc.). All info panels in the castle are in Croatian and English.

Unfortunately, it is forbidden to take photos of the interior, only on terraces. So here are the photos of us 😀

Trakoscan Castle Croatia | dvorac Trakošćan Hrvatska | Mexatia

Trakoscan Castle © Mexatia

Trakoscan Castle Croatia | dvorac Trakošćan Hrvatska | Mexatia

Trakoscan Castle © Queenie Liewpin

Grab something to eat

You may be tired after exploring the museum and discovering the forest and lake around the castle. There are two places where you can get something to eat and drink, but the recommendation goes to one situated literally on the lake. From there you can enjoy the lake, views of the castle, nature and food at the same time. The other restaurant is located in front of the castle, near the parking.

Besides Trakoscan castle’s stunning beauty, you can also enjoy visiting Croatian countryside which most of the visitors usually forget about. You can visit the castle all year round. In spring or summer you can enjoy the intense green color, during autumn the whole color palate and in the winter you can see the castle covered with snow. Whenever you decide to go, it is wonderfully romantic. If you want, you can also organize a wedding or a photo shooting here.

Did you already visit Trakoscan castle?

Trakoscan castle day trip is great to combine with visits to the city of Varazdin, Krapina Neanderthal museum or other castles of Hrvatsko Zagorje.

Trakoscan Castle Croatia | dvorac Trakošćan Hrvatska | Mexatia

Trakoscan Castle © Mexatia

 

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Day trip to Krapina Neanderthal Museum from Zagreb

Day trip to Krapina Neanderthal Museum from Zagreb

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.

Mexatia.com | Day trip to Krapina Neanderthal Museum from Zagreb

Museum from the outside © Krapina Neanderthal Museum

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.”

Mexatia.com | Day trip to Krapina Neanderthal Museum from Zagreb

Interior design of the museum © Krapina Neanderthal Museum

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).

Mexatia.com | Day trip to Krapina Neanderthal Museum from Zagreb

Interior design of the museum © Krapina Neanderthal Museum

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 €).

Mexatia.com | Day trip to Krapina Neanderthal Museum from Zagreb

Neanderthals © Mexatia

Mexatia.com | Day trip to Krapina Neanderthal Museum from Zagreb

Mom & Neanderthals © Mexatia

 

Did you already visit a museum? How did you like it?

Official data:
Krapina Neanderthal Museum
Šetalište Vilibalda Sluge, Krapina, Croatia
webpage | TripAdvisor

Admission:
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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Fabulous Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb

Fabulous Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb

Museum of Broken Relationships

You know that feeling when you break up with somebody and then you hate that person as much as the perfume which reminds you of him (or her) and that stupid stuffed animal he (she) gave you for the anniversary? Behind every relationship there is so much left, both material and non-material. A broken heart, an empty apartment, a photo album, a ring, a letter, a garden gnome, an ax. What to do with all those things? The heart will heal, so you don’t need to worry about that, and last few years you don’t need to worry about the things too. Everything that reminds you of your ex – just throw it, or put it in the museum.

The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia can be found in Upper town’s baroque palace and, like the name says, it is dedicated to failed relationships. It consists of various personal items donated by the ex-lovers and every item is followed by the short story.

Museum of Broken Relationships | Mexatia.com The museum was founded when the relationship between two Zagreb’s artists was broken. They were kidding about founding the museum because they didn’t know what to do with all the items that were left behind. Since 2006, the collection had traveled all around the world and at the end of 2010, it finally settled down in Zagreb, Croatia. Because of its originality, specific ambient and great working hours, the museum became one of the most popular in the city.

Like in the every other museum, in Museum of Broken Relationships one you can find the exhibits with the explanation labels. But, like in no other museum, the visitors stop in front of the every exhibit and they read every single label. Both exhibits and stories are exceptional; here you can find diverse items – from the ax, the wedding dress, and the garden gnome to the bicycle, the frizzle and Frankfurt’s map. Those personal stories will make you laugh, they will shock you, they will make you sad or even cry… because they belong to real people who really experienced them. They will induce the reaction. We all can identify ourselves with some of the stories and we all had the broken heart once. In one moment, all of us become aware how much memories can be kept in little, ordinary thing. And that is what makes this museum so valuable.

A side-view mirror, 1983 – 1988, Zagreb, Croatia

One night his car was parked in front of the “wrong” house. He paid for that negligence with his side-view mirror. I was sorry afterward since the car was not to blame. The wipers also got their share, but they were made of more solid materials and thus stayed in the car. The following day, when the “Gentleman” came home, he told me a weird story about some hooligans who tore off his side-view mirror and bent his wipers. It was so funny that I was tempted to confess. Still, since he never told me where he had been that evening, neither did I. It was the beginning of the end of our relationship.

[cml_media_alt id='1644']museum of broken relationships[/cml_media_alt]

A key bottle opener, 1988 – 1998, Ljubljana, Slovenia

You talked to me of love, gave me small gifts every day; this is just one of them. The key to the heart. You turned my head; you just didn’t want to sleep with me. I realized how much you loved me only after you died of AIDS.

[cml_media_alt id='1647']Museum of broken relationships[/cml_media_alt]

This museum is brilliant, entertaining, bizarre, genuine and – it is not sterile. None of the exhibits it’s hidden by the glass or some other obstacle and, even if you cannot touch them, you can feel like you are the part of museum’s story. The museum is not big and you are not going to spend the hours in it, but the visit will surely be a unique experience. Sweet café with an excellent coffee and an interesting gift shop are parts of the museum. In the gift shop, you can buy funny souvenirs like “bad memory” eraser and “I love break-ups” t-shirt.

Check it out in the photos bellow.

Museum of Broken Relationships | Mexatia.com Museum of Broken Relationships | Mexatia.com Museum of Broken Relationships | Mexatia.com Museum of Broken Relationships | Mexatia.com Museum of Broken Relationships | Mexatia.com

Museum of Broken Relationships
Cirilometodska 2, Zagreb, Croatia (Upper town)
website | 9 – 21 (summer 9 – 22:30)
entrance fee 30 kn
*featured photo and quotes are courtesy of Museum of Broken Relationships*

Did you already visit a museum of one of its visiting exhibitions?

ps. Now there is a new permanent exhibition in the museum, we will visit soon!

Museum of Broken Relationships | Mexatia.com