Unveiling the Treasures of Zagreb’s Archaeological Museum

Today I’m taking you to Zrinjevac Park, where we’ll visit one of the most famous museums in Zagreb. I’m talking about the one in the Vranyczany-Hafner Palace.

I don’t know why I’m so mysterious since you already read the title, and you know what Museum I’m talking about, so let’s dig into it.

The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb is a museum with over 450.000 varied artifacts and monuments gathered from various sources, mainly from Croatia and, in particular, from the surroundings of Zagreb. It is located at Trg Nikole Zrinskog, better known as the Zrinjevac Park.

The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb is a direct successor of the National Museum, the oldest museum institution in the capital. This first national museum institution started its public and organized—although non-institutional—work in 1846. Since 1940, when the National Museum was formally abolished, the Archaeological Museum has been working independently. Since 1945, the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb has been in the mentioned palace.

The Museum has five main sections: Prehistory, Egypt, Antiquity, Middle Ages, Coins, and Medals. The section “Prehistory” contains 78.000 objects, ranging from the Paleolithic to the Late Iron Age. The section “Egypt” displays about 600 things in the permanent exhibition. The section “Antiquity” contains a significant collection of Greek vases and stones with inscriptions. Roman Antiquity is represented by many statues, military equipment, metal objects, Roman religion and art, and objects from everyday life. The numismatic section is among the largest collections of this type in Europe.

Some of the famous artifacts in the Museum are the Vučedol dove (Croatian Vučedolska golubica), Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis, and Lumbarda Psephisma, which is a unique document on the establishment of a Greek settlement.

The Vučedol Dove is a famous artifact from the Vučedol culture, which flourished between 3000 and 2200 BCE in the territory of Croatian Pannonia and beyond. It is a ritual vase made between 2800 and 2500 BCE and is the oldest dove figure found in Europe so far. The vase is shaped like a bird and is highly decorative. It was depicted on the reverse of the Croatian 20 kuna banknote, issued in 1993 and 2001.

The Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis (Latin for “Linen Book of Zagreb”, also rarely known as Liber Agramensis, “Book of Agram”) is the longest Etruscan text and the only extant linen book (libri lintei), dated to the 3rd century BCE, making it arguably the oldest extant European book. Zagreb was once called Agram.

After the 5.5 earthquake that hit Zagreb in March 2020, the palace was heavily damaged, so it was closed for renovation. Museum was reopened in August 2023.

You can find more information about the Museum on their website www.amz.hr/en/home/.

Hi! My name is Ivan, and I'm an author of discoverzagreb.com. I have been photographing and exploring Zagreb for more than 15 years, and if you want to know more about me and discoverzagreb.com, read the Introduction articles by clicking here.

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