PHOTOS: A trip to the impressive new visitor centre at Medvedgrad fortress in Zagreb
- by croatiaweek
- in Travel
By Stanko Zovak/George Dulcich
The new Medvedgrad Visitor Centre opened last weekend at the Medvednica Nature Park in the Croatian capital. The historic Medvednica fortress above Zagreb, and three buildings within the complex, have been reconstructed as part of the project worth €5 million.
The new visitor centre was established within the walls of Medvedgrad and this week we took a tour of it organised by the Medvednica Nature Park.
- Public transport / on foot:
Črnomerec – Lukšići – bus no. 128, then walk from Lukšići to Medvedgrad via Himper on the paved road – about an hour walk
Mihaljevac – Britanski trg – bus no. 102 to the church in Šestine, then walk on the hiking trail no. 12 (from Lagvić to Medvedgrad) – about an hour walk
- By car:
From Lukšići via Himper. From Himper to Medvedgrad leads a one-way paved road. The return route from Medvedgrad to Šestine goes via Kraljičin zdenac, also on a one-way paved road. NOTE: The roads to and from Medvedgrad are one-way roads
The fortress looks really impressive from the outside and has amazing views of the nature on Medvednica, especially at this time of the year with the beautiful fall colors. There is also a stunning view of the city of Zagreb beneath the fortress.
The fortress looks how you would expect a medieval fortress to look from the outside, but on the inside it is fantastic and modern. The designers of the exhibits did a great job and were actually there with us on the tour to see everything in action.
They designed everything with “interactive” as the main objective. It was great to see the dynamics of keeping the fortress looking like how it did in the 13th century (“It was built in 1254, after the catastrophic invasion of Tatars who had raided and devastated this area”), in contrast with the modern exhibits and unique technology to allow for an interactive and hands on visitor experience.
Inside the south tower it was decorated to look like a forest and pushing a button by a number of different animals would cause that animal to be projected onto the walls and move across them.
The tower stayed true to local Medvednica ecosystems by showing animals that lived on the mountain and providing interactive information on them. Going further up the tower, there was interesting information about the local herbs and plants that grow on Medvednica.
There was also a book of recipes that use local herbs and it allows you to actually print out whichever recipe you like at the push of a button. They had another feature which has a camera look at your face and shows it on the screen and is supposed to tell you your destiny, but it was not working that day.
Also there was a model of a raven that speaks some dialogue in the local Kajkavian dialect which got a laugh out of everyone. You could also go to the roof of the tower, where there was incredible views with lookout points. In the basement of the tower was some information about bats, along with a giant bat body that you stick your head in and you appear upside down in the mirror to mimic a hanging bat in a cave. There was also a great rock exhibit that kids can move sections of the rolling big rock to reveal information.
Next was the Theatre of Shadows which utilized a projector screen in a dark room (where the servants used to live) that showed a short couple of minutes about the legend of the Black Queen or Crna Kraljica who was a seemingly evil noble of Medvedgrad who always wore black, had black hair, and a raven as a pet.
In the next room you could see what people ate in those times and what they ate with. You could also look at old recipes there.
There is also a permanent museum exhibition, “Secrets of the Ancient Mountain”, which consists of a medieval pantry and a shadow theatre.
In the main part of the building, there is the souvenir shop and a room with more information about Medvedgrad. There is a mode of the fortress that gets video projected on it when you press a button. It tells the history of the fortress, when it was built, collapsed, and rebuilt, all with the projection showing visuals on the model throughout, There was also an interactive timeline where you move a screen along the wall and you see different information throughout the years on the screen depending where you move it.
Within the visitor centre, there is an area where various programmes, workshops and events can take place on the premises.
Overall it was really impressive because everything was so interactive. There was either a button, something to open, move, or something to watch and listen to. I’m sure kids would love it. Exhibit innovation wise, it was on par with any modern museum that you would see in Los Angeles or New York for example.
I was really impressed with the use of technology and very unique designs of interactive exhibits. Also, everything is both in Croatian and English, even the listening portions, so it’s good for tourists.
There was more than enough historical information and cool things to learn about for adults, and plenty of interactive exhibits to keep the kids entertained and learning as well.
More details about visiting can be found on the official website.