Zagreb is a treasure trove of cultural heritage with a host of museums located near each other in the greater city centre. Together,  they tell a story of the cultural history of Zagreb. Let us take a stroll together through just a few of them. As we do this, let us not forget to look at the facades of the many famous buildings, visit some of the many arts galleries and enjoy a theatre performance.

1 Mimara Museum The arts collection of Ante and Wiltrud Topić Mimara is based on the donation by Ante Topić Mimara and was opened to the public in 1987. It is housed in a neo-renaissance palace in one of the most beautiful squares in Zagreb’s  Lower Town and consists of 3,750 pieces of arts. The museum’s permanent exhibit provides a chronological insight into the historical and stylistic periods starting with ancient civilizations, as well as various European schools of art and 20th century  workshops. The museum also boasts a rich library with over 5,400 titles. To learn more go to

2 The Arts and Crafts Museum was opened in 1880 as one of the first such institutions in Europe. The museum is located in the very heart of the Lower Town. A Crafts School, today the School for Applied Arts and Design, was opened next to it in 1882.  The Museum has at its disposal the biggest and richest holdings in Croatia, with over 100,000 artifacts of arts and applied arts dating back to the 14th through 20th centuries. An exceptionally valuable segment of the museum’s holdings can be seen in a  permanent exhibition featuring over 3,000 exhibits which reflect various styles of arts and crafts production – from gothic to art deco and contemporary authors. To learn more go to

3 The Ethnographic Museum was established in 1919. Prior to that, ethnographic materials were collected by the National Museum which was opened in Zagreb in 1846. The Museum is housed in the Secession building of the former Crafts Hall dating back to 1903 and located in the Lower Town. Most of the holdings, consisting of over 85,000 exhibits, are textile objects, but  there are also rich collections which represent traditional types of economy such as handicraft, furniture making, crafts, etc. The museum’s permanent exhibit features Croatian folk costumes from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. To learn more go to

4 The Croatian Museum of Naive Art is considered the first naive art museum in the world and it is based exclusively on the art created in Croatia. The museum is housed in the 18th century Bužan – Raffay Palace. Its holdings boast 5,000 paintings,  sculptures, drawings and prints by Croatian and renowned international artists. The museum also holds a rich collection of  documents on naive art. To learn more go to

5 The Museum of Broken Relationships grew from a traveling exhibition revolving around the concept of failed relationships and their ruins. Unlike ‘destructive’ self-help instructions for recovery from failed loves, the founders Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić offer a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation: by contributing to the Museum's collection. The exhibition consists of an array of knickknacks that goodhearted donors from all over the world forever decided to remove from their homes, thoughts and hearts. The exhibit area covers some 300 square meters and it is divided into several main themes: a room of breakup announcements, a room of passion, rage and fury…  Overall, the exhibition consists of some 100 items that  vary from the bizarre to banal and unique, such as stuffed toys or much more expensive jewellery and wedding dresses, as well  as some decidedly unusual ones, like an old axe.

6 The Marton Museum is the first privately owned museum in Croatia, housed in the beautiful baroque Kulmer Palace n the square of St. Catherine. It boasts an impressive and representative collection of porcelain and glass owned by renowned Croatian  collector, Veljko Marton. The collection consists of everyday items made from porcelain that were made by renowned  manufactures in Germany, Russia and Vienna during the second half of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries; the  museum also features glass items, numerous clocks, paintings etc.

7 The Meštrović Atelier  is housed in a family house in the heart of the Upper Town. It is part of the legacy of the greatest  Croatian sculptor, Ivan Meštrović. Together with the house where he resided between 1922 and 1942, the artist, who enjoys  global fame, left a representative art collection to Croatia. The collection consists of 300 sculptures made of stone, bronze, wood  and plaster of  Paris, drawings, lithographs and furniture made according to the artists own design, all part of the Ivan Meštrović   Foundation. To learn more go to

8 Zagreb City Museum was established in 1907 upon the proposal of the Brethren of the Croatian Dragon Society. It occupies  the former building of the Convent of the Poor Clares from 1650 in Zagreb’s Upper Town. The museum has at its disposal enviable holdings pertaining to the rich cultural,artistic, economic and political history of Zagreb, a city which was first mentioned in a  written document in 1094, when the Zagreb Diocese was founded. To learn more go to

9 The Archaeological Museum was founded in 1846. It is located  in the historical VranyczanyHafner Palace in Zrinjevac Park. The valuable museum holdings of about 460,000 items are systematically arranged in appropriate collections depicting the  development of many cultures, from the Paleolithic and Egyptian collections, the collections of antiquity and medieval arts to one of the biggest numismatic collections in the world. The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb possesses a small, but in this region  unique collection of Etruscan material. The best known and certainly the most valuable item is the famous linen book of Zagreb (Liber linteus Zagrabiensis), a manuscript with the longest preserved text in the Etruscan language, and simultaneously the only preserved example of a linen book in the entire classical world. To learn more go to

10 The Art Pavilion was opened in 1898 with a representative exhibition under the name of Croatian Salon. It is the oldest building in this part of Europe which was constructed for great exhibitions. It is located in one of the most beautiful areas of  Zagreb, deliberately planned and horticulturally rounded off in the “Green Horse Shoe” of the Lower Town. The Art Pavilion has staged great exhibitions by a number of international authors. At the same time, the pavilion has served to lay the foundation for  modern sculpture and painting in Croatia, and as such it deserves a prominent place in the presentation of Croatian national art.  To learn more go to

11 The Museum of Contemporary Art boasts a large art collection  consisting of some 14,000 works by Croatian and foreign artists, which were created in the period between the 1950’s and today. The new museum complex, spreading across 3500 square meters features a great artistic opus and the collections include paintings, drawings, posters, films and videos,  sculptures, and some new media art. Apart from exhibitions, the new museum building also caters to various other happenings,  ranging from film projections, theatre performances and concerts, to lectures, presentations, and children’s workshops. The museum offers the services of a library, restoration workshops, and an array of activities aimed at modern art aficionados.


Photo: Property of Zagreb tourist board archive

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