Yesterday morning, I walked out of my house determined to take some pictures while the sun was still out. Living in Samobor, a town just over 700 years of age, I thought that a few shots of its Baroque architecture would satisfy my craving. Think again.
Crossing the main square while greeting familiar faces, quickly I had the need to direct my path towards a place that I pass by almost every day but only entered once in my life: the Museum of Samobor.
Since I didn’t exactly plan my route, walking in was equally surprising to me as it seemed to be to the museum staff. Explaining what my intentions were, soon I was holding 3 brochures and two booklets in one hand as if I were the only blogger to ever enter this place (probable!).
The building of the museum is one of many Croatian sites marked with a “Heritage” medal by the Ministry of Culture. It was once, in fact, the house of one of Croatia’s most famous composers — Ferdo Livadić — whose statue stands both in the interior and exterior of the building. Perhaps he is best noted for his musical composition of “Još Hrvatska nij’ propala” (“Croatia Has Not Yet Fallen”), created in collaboration with multi-talented compatriot writer-politician, Ljudevit Gaj.
Composition of “Još Hrvatska nij’ propala” by Ferdo Livadić, text by Ljudevit Gaj
Though the “kurija” (archaic Croatian word for an urban villa) holds a number of thought-provoking artifacts and art, what was equally intriguing to me was the conversation I had with the guide. Who are their most numbered visitors, anyway? What are they interested in when they arrive? Perhaps most importantly — how is it that often times foreigners are so much more fascinated by the offer of this museum/Croatian Museums in general, than locals by their own heritage?
Our joint conclusion for that last question was something along the lines of foreigners understanding the value of art much more than domestic folk, most likely due to lack of education, awareness, or perception of culture in Croatia’s case. A topic to work on and bring up more often.
Ferdo Livadić’s piano
Fun facts — or, what I found out that I hadn’t known prior to my visit (alongside it once being the Livadić family’s home):
– Samobor has been known for its involvement in sports for centuries (note what was once believed to be a stable bicycle!), and supposedly the first-ever organized mountaineering trip in Croatia was to Okić in the Samobor mountains
Bicycle of pharmacist Mirko Kleščić from 1877
– thanks to its abundance of raw materials, Samobor was known as a “town of crafts”, though the number of craftsmen has, of course, reduced through time
– Samobor was long recognized for its pharmaceutical and medical tradition, beginning from the Franciscan pharmacy in the 16th century
– the Samobor Castle (yet-to-be revamped ruins of the old town dating back from the 13th century) has changed over 20 different families and/or owners to this day!
Roman tombstone of Pontius from the 3rd century, found in local village Kerestinec
Though I always knew this was an area of rich history, I was never really aware of the valuable evidence of cultural life that has been present here for millennia. With precious legendary objects including archeological findings and fossils dating back to 200 million years B.C., to manuscripts and poetry, renowned Samobor crystal and peculiar artwork, this museum may be too small for the amount of heritage it holds, but it is undoubtedly a sight to see.
Note to self: keep on digging.