Croatia’s Museum Night
Posted on February 7, 2010 at 3:48pm Madrid / 9:48am Cincinnati by Kelly Larbes
We started out the evening at the museum in Split’s old city hall. It was all about the history of Split (with a lot of old photos and a lot to read) and seemed like the perfect exhibit to start off Croatia’s ‘NOC MUZEJA’ or Museum Night. The exhibit covered everything from historical preservation to installing wayfinding signage in the city to the rebuilding of the Riva. We found the photos and information about the Riva most interesting. The Riva, Split’s seaside promenade, was completely renovated in 2007 and caused quite a stir in the community. Some people loved it, but many others felt like it lost its character. It included photos of the Riva from the 1930s, which showed a beautiful fountain at one end of the Riva that was sadly torn down after WWII because it had been built by and represented “evil fascist Italians.” Some locals are campaigning to have it rebuilt; I hope they succeed.
For Croatia’s Museum Night all of the museums in cities throughout Croatia were open from 6 pm to 1 am. And best of all, they were all free. Many offered talented live music and special exhibits. More than 280,000 people attended the evening last Friday night, which is pretty impressive for the country’s total population of about 4 million. All of the museums in Split were lively and full of families, friends, and couples. It proved to be a great way to get people involved and interested in cultural activities.
From Split’s old city hall, we moved on to the Archeological Museum, which is a hidden gem just north of the old town. Everyone we talked with was most impressed with this museum, including us. It is Split’s oldest museum, which opened in 1820. It houses many old archaeological finds, over 70,000 medieval coins and over 30,000 books. Everything was beautifully exhibited inside the impressive Austrian style hall and outside around the perimeter of the gardens. We met up with our new friends, Elisa and Davor, there and enjoyed the live music performed by Davor’s friends. Jay and I particularly enjoyed it because it was mostly American classic hits.
After dinner at Galija Pizzeria, we headed to Split’s Art Gallery and met up with other new friends, Milda and Mario. We were also later joined by our friend, Mick and then by our friend, Paula. It had been awhile since we hung out with a big group of friends on a Friday night, so it made for a very enjoyable evening. The art gallery houses one of my favorite coffee shops, and there was a jazz band playing for the special night. It was so loud we couldn’t hear each other, but at least they sounded good. The drummer liked to go into passionate five minutes solos; everyone would clap every few minutes because they thought he was finished, but he would just close his eyes, shake his head, and continue on with his solo.
After a walk through the gallery and an uneventful visit to Split’s City Museum, the rain began to fall. We said goodnight to Milda and Mario and ran home between the rain drops.
Kelly’s note: We brought our camera but Jay forgot to put in the SD card, so these photos were borrowed from the event’s Facebook page.