Museum of Broken Relationships (Zagreb, Croatia)

The Museum of Broken Relationships was a game-changer for us. Having made out way through the world-class museums of over 25 countries throughout Europe, it was this boutique museum that left one of the bigger impressions on us.

We had been visiting our friend Sanda, fellow blog writer & friend from Angloville, at the time and had very few expectations for Zagreb when we arrived.

After showing us around a few of Zagreb’s finest spots (which were gorgeous) Sanda introduced us to one of our favourite museums that we’ve ever visited; The Museum of Broken Relationships.

The Museum got its start initially as a small pop up exhibition whose popularity ended up forcing the pop up exhibition to find a full time permanent premises. The museum was inspired by the sting of a society that takes the time to celebrate a number of life’s big moments;  Birth, Birthdays, Bah Mitzvahs, Graduations, Deaths yet ignores one of life’s biggest moments of hurting and moulding…Broken Relationships.

This museum gives the opportunity for people who’ve been holding onto an item associated with that relationship, an item of significance, to let go by putting it on display. The items range from the beautiful, to hurtful to the hilarious. We found ourselves transfixed by the items and their descriptions.

The Toaster of Vindication

The Toaster of Vindication: “When I moved out, and across the country, I took the toaster. That’ll show you. How are you going to toast anything now?”

The museum moves beyond just your typical broken romantic relationships featuring many sections that distinguish between the likes of: Unreturned love, divorces, cheaters, mutual separation & loved ones who’ve passed away.

The museum has been so popular that in order to show off enough of their now vast collection they are consistently have to tour their goods internationally which has been met with significant interest.

The Divorce Day Mad Dwarf

“The Divorce Day Mad Dwarf: The divorce day garden dwarf. He arrived in a new car. Arrogant and heartless. The dwarf was closing the gate that he himself had destroyed some time ago. At that moment it flew over to the windscreen of the new car, rebounded and landed on the asphalt surface. It was a long loop, drawing an arc of time- and this long arc defined the end of love.”

Feeling inspired we came away wishing we could set up our own museum in their honour  back home in New Zealand. Without wanting to steal their idea the best we could come with was a Museum of Friendzone…But I don’t think this would quite do the concept justice!

So if you get the chance to visit either their museum or travelling exhibition, please do, you’ll be seeing a one-of-a-kind exhibition that will leave an impression on you!

 

 

Dubrovnik + Split + Zadar, Croatia

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is one of those exquisitely beautiful fortified cities on the coast the Adriatic Seas. The city is a sea of terracotta coloured roof tiles (many of which look new because they were replaced after the cities bombing once they had declared independence from Yugoslavia – despite its standing as a UNESCO world heritage site).

A walk around the walls, a peruse through the many winding old town streets and visits to a cliff bar and beach are a must for your visit.

We opted to invest in a 1 day museum pass (which cost 150 kuna – 30 more kuna than entrance to the walls which was included). We visited 5 of their top museums with the pass but were very underwhelmed with their quality (I pretty much switched off after seeing a paper mache swordfish with drawn on eyebrows at the natural history museum). The pass did include other benefits including discounts at many of the local restaurants and shops and a 24hour bus pass so on the whole paid for itself…just.

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We’d recommend just spending a day in Dubrovnik, its pretty but not a lot of depth to it. Also if you visit one of the cliff bars, bring your own drink (for around 7 kuna at the supermarket instead of the 40 at the bar) and head down to the lower sections of the cliffs which are for public use. This is the perfect place to watch the sun go down over a picnic dinner!

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Split

While not as visually stunning as Dubrovnik from the outside we found Split to have more depth to it as we explored the town. The town itself is formed amongst the ruins of Caesar Diocletian’s Palace. Many of the palace’s walls were utilised and incorporated into today’s town. There is plenty to see here, so leave your bags with one of the many affordable left luggage stands at the bus terminal and check out some of favourite Split attractions:

Diocletian’s mausoleum/Cathedral of Saint Domnius

Caesar Diocletian was well documented as being one of the worst persecutor of Christians in history. So it was an ironic twist of fate that Diocletian’s mausoleum would eventually be turned into a Cathedral. Diocletian’s remains did not remain inside the mausoleum (and to my knowledge are missing) but some impressive religious artifacts have; including the impressive altarpiece which depicts two angels weightlessly holding a wooden box between them. The church stands in the recordbooks as being the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that remains in use in its original structure. The original mausoleum being constructed in the second century (then later converted in the 7th century and adding the bell tower in the 12th).

Temple of Jupiter/Baptistry of Saint John the Baptist (free)

Another roman building reclaimed by the Catholic church was the temple of Jupiter. While the only remaining detail inside the temple of the original structure is the well decorated ceiling, the building holds an impressively modern statue of John the Baptist, a baptism pool and a couple of tombs holding the remains of two former Archbishops of Split. A short but very interesting visit.

The Cellar’s of Diocletian’s palace (40Kuna pp)

While initially tempted to skip this attraction (because I thought the market, which was also located in the cellars, would give me a free preview of it), I’m glad I checked it out. The cellars are a reasonably vast network and showcased a variety of Roman technologies from Olive Oil Presses to original Roman sewerage pipes. Its an attraction that will help you to transport yourself back in time.

Lvxor Cafe & Restaurant

While anything more than coffee, sandwiches and deserts are pretty pricey, nothing beats consuming these 3 menu items sitting in the sun on the ancients steps of Diocletian’s palace gazing up at the bell tower of the cathedral. The staff were attentive and by stopping in this spot it gives you time to process the plethora of ancient artifacts in sight that you might otherwise miss!

Zadar

While being smallest of 3 highlighted towns, Zadar had some secret quirky treasures to share with those who venture. With the main historic township is located on a peninsular, walking through the centre you are served glimpses of stunning waterscapes that add to an overall ora of tranquility and relaxation. Some of highlights from the town include:

The Gold and Silver of Zadar (30Kn / €4 pp)

St Mary's Cathedral

St. Mary’s Cathedral, the entrance to The Gold and Silver of Zadar is through the gates to the left of the main door

On permanent display and curated by the nuns of  the Benedictine Convent of St. Mary, the Gold and silver of Zadar is an impressive collection of religious art and artefacts. The collection holds an immense collection of art, religious tools (staffs, bowls, chalices, pews etc) and our ever-favourite the bones of saints and martyrs encapsulated in golden limbs. Entrance is cheap and as we went in off season we had the place to ourselves (other than the nun following us around to make sure we took no photos…but we still managed to sneak this one ;-))

The Gold and Silver of Zadar

All my saints give me a what what!

The Sea Organ (Free)

 For those who are unfamiliar with sea organs, the general concept is that a series of semi submerged pipes of varying lengths are placed along a waterfront to utilise the natural lapping of the water to create sound. While its true that the Sea Organ is not unique to Zadar, its still unique enough that this was our first encounter with one. The sound created is a soothing and deep reminiscent of whale calls. Its the perfect accompaniment to lazy day at the seaside soaking up the sun, reading a book or picnic with friends.

Sea Organ

Sea Organ Zadar

The Greeting to the Sun (Free)

Located adjacent to the sea organ is a piece of art called The Greeting to the Sun. What seems like a plain circular glass floor installation during the day, reveals its true form at night. The glass installation actually holds a series of solar panels which soaks up the energy of the sun during the day and lights up in magnificent moving colours at night. A perfect nighttime accompaniment to the moving deep sounds of the organ.

The Greeting to the Sun Daytime

The Greeting to the Sun Daytime

Crazy Pizza

Sometimes the easiest things to enjoy are the cheapest. This was the case with Crazy Pizza in Zadar (Stomorica ul. 1, 23000, Zadar). After trawling through countless expensive menus throughout town we were blown away by the affordability and delectability of this place. At only 10Kn (1.3 Euros) for a full quarter of a pizza this place was a bargain, I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in pizza that night. I highly recommend trying the bacon rasher pizza.

Overall Conclusions

Overall, each of the 3 towns are definitely worth a day’s visit, each a pearl on the string of the Adriatic. While we enjoyed all 3 Jenny & I disagree on our favourite, Jenny opts for the immersive beauty of Dubrovnik while I vote for the historical intrigue of Split.

Got a different conclusion? We’d love to hear it! Please leave your thoughts, questions and comments below!