Do you have an adventurous spirit? Go on a treasure hunt, and see a 30,000-year-old needle, a 5200-year old wooden wheel with a wooden axle, and venerable golden patches that are more than 3000 years old. If you are not interested in ancient history, take a ride through space.
Visit the most unusual museums in Slovenia
Every museum has its own treasures for everyone. Museum corridors and exhibition rooms are permeated by vivid, captivating stories from the past. If you dismiss this idea, saying that you are unmoved by dusty exhibits and historical facts, you may change your mind when you receive an invitation to visit somewhat untypical museums. Quench your thirst for exploration and choose a museum to your taste.
Slovenian museums and galleries house numerous valuable items that testify that the area of today's Slovenia has been significantly involved in international developments for a really long time. The mythological character Jason supposedly transported his golden fleece through here, and important battles for territories and world domination took place in this land during various periods. Art works were created here that drew the attention of the public in Paris and Venice, and finally, this was the place where the idea of space travel was born.
National Museum of Slovenia
The oldest and the most fascinating items at the Museum speak of the high level of culture in the area of Slovenia since prehistoric times. The Museum is home to the 60,000-year old flute of a Neanderthal, which is considered to be the oldest musical instrument in the world. Marvel at the valuable items, which also include the Vače Situla, a golden carving from the 13th or the 12th century B.C. found in Lake Bled, an idol and a dugout from the Ljubljana Marshes, a chasuble made from the clothing of Hassan Pasha, a breverl (a folded sheet) with magic charms, and a urn containing the heart of the founder of the Trappist monastery.
While walking through the complex of the National Gallery, you will have the opportunity to explore gems of Slovenian art dating from a period spanning the 13th to the 20th century. You will be able to see works by Slovenian impressionists and their depictions of the Slovenian landscape, glowing in bright colours. You will also see the works of Anton Ažbe, Jurij Šubic, Jožef Petkovšek, a nearly photographic depiction of old folk costumes and customs by Maksim Gaspari and the sophisticated Summer of Ivana Kobilca. The collection is also enriched by the works of the famous Zoran Mušič.
At the Modern Gallery MG+ and the Metelkova Museum of Modern Art +MSUM, you can marvel at the creations by artists from the 20th and 21st centuries. You will learn names, such as Avgust Černigoj, Jože Ciuha, Riko Debenjak, Irwin, Božidar Jakac, Tone Kralj, Metka Krašovec, Zoran Mušič, Marij Pregelj, Marjetica Potrč, Gabrijel Stupica, and many others. The Arteast 2000+ International Collection is based on Eastern European neo-avant-garde artists, and here you can encounter Marina Abramović, Joseph Beuys, and Kazimir Malevič. Malevičem.
On the banks of the Ljubljanica River towards Poljane, just a short walk from the centre of Ljubljana, a new contemporary art venue and hub – Cukrarna – opened in 2021 in a former sugar refinery. A walk through the monumental lobby with its distinctive windows is an experience in itself, and Cukrarna's programme ranges from visual to intermedia, performance, music, sound and other forms of contemporary art.
Enter the world of modern and contemporary art in Maribor. Discover some of the most prominent names in Slovenian visual art in the past hundred years and follow influential developments on the international art scene. In the gallery, you can not only see the works of established artists, but also meet the rising stars of the contemporary art world. Explore the topical themes of visual arts. If you would like to put your creativity to the test, you can take part in an educational programme that connects different generations, national communities and educational institutions.
A visit to this museum is a unique experience, as it is located in a former Carthusian monastery from the 13th century. You simply must see the collection of prestigious limousines that formerly belonged to the Yugoslavian President Tito and learn about the history of motor vehicles, enriched by the collection from the Deutsches Technikmuseum of Berlin. Your interest will be piqued when you learn about the fascinating work of Nikola Tesla and explore other collections dedicated to agriculture, forestry, the timber industry, hunting, fishing, textiles, and printing.
The Franja Hospital, hidden and sheltered among rocks and the forest in the Pasica Gorge, is a unique expression of human solidarity. During World War II, under unbearable conditions, this was a place where Slovenian soldiers, allied soldiers, as well as soldiers of our enemies at the time were all treated. Wooden barracks and various artefacts still spread the message of incredible sacrifices and courage, respect for dignity, and humanity, and this remarkable place may soon be placed on the UNESCO European Heritage list. It already holds the label of European Heritage, as it is a milestone in the development of modern Europe.
Did you know that, during World War I, one of the most important fronts ran through Slovenia, where the largest mountain battle in all of military history was fought? The pointlessness of war is shown at the Kobarid Museum, the proud holder of the Council of Europe Prize. You can also re-live horrifying stories outside, in areas where the battlefields of the Isonzo (Soča) Front once were, in fortresses, and in the Ossuary of Italian Soldiers.
At this unique Center of Space Technologies, you can learn about projects that connect art, culture, science, and space. The founders of the centre are especially excited about Herman Potočnik Noordung, who was born here and who, in 1925, published the revolutionary book The Problem of Space Travel, which made him the first architect of space and its weightless conditions. The building that houses Center Noordung is also special because it is designed as the living wheel space station of Herman Potočnik Noordung.
The Božidar Jakac Art Museum is considered to be one of the most important treasure troves of 20th century Slovenian art. An impressive 9000 works of art are housed here, including the sculpture Foal, for which its creator France Kralj received an award at the Paris International Exposition in 1937. Pablo Picasso also introduced his painting Guernica at the same Exposition. Works of art are not the only thing that impresses visitors. The Art Museum building, a former Cistercian monastery, founded in 1234, is also quite impressive.
Learn about the million-year-old history of Slovenia and Earth. One of the special features shown at the Museum is a fossil of a Trigav fish from the Triassic period, which is 210 million years old and is thus a rarity on a global scale. Here, you can also learn about the human fish (proteus), see two mammoth skeletons from 20,000 years ago, a cave bear, and one of the world’s most beautiful mineral collections. Its owner was Žiga Zois, Baron of Edelstein, who gave his name to the rare mineral called zoisite.
Visit the cradle of music in Slovenia and re-live the life of a Neanderthal. In the dynamic landscape of the Idrija and Cerklje Hills, you can find Divje Babe, a site which has yielded findings from the Early Stone Age. Research into strata that are between 116,000 and 40,000 years old resulted in the finding of various stone tools, bone points and awls, and the most valuable item, a 60,000-year old musical instrument, a flute made from the thigh bone of a young cave bear.
The Prince’s Mansion, the residence of the influential Counts of Celje in the 14th and 15th centuries, is now a museum that houses various evidence of the diverse past of Celje and its surroundings. In antiquity, Celje was one of the most flourishing and wealthy Roman colonies, known as Little or Second Troy. Its archaeological remains can be seen in situ – in the basement of the Prince's Mansion. If you visit, don’t miss the oldest artefact in Europe – the 30,000-year-old sewing needle from Potočka Zijalka.
When you see the beautiful view of Ptuj, the oldest recorded town in Slovenia, you will be impressed by the dominant castle complex. Ptuj was already inhabited by the 5th millennium B.C., but today it welcomes visitors with the awe-inspiring sight of Ptuj Castle, which dates back to the 11th century. The castle museum collection will take you on a journey through various periods in human history. Don’t miss taking a tour of the musical instruments; the Roman double flute from the 2nd or 3rd century is a world rarity, and look out for the carnival masks.
This museum is located in the area of the former Emona and the archaeological remains of this Roman town from 2000 years ago are still visible today in the museum building. In this building, you can find even older evidence of human habitation in this area, dating all the way back to 4500 B.C, when pile dwellers lived here in homes built on piles in the Ljubljana Marshes. This was also the location where they found the oldest wooden wheel in the world and its axle, which are 5200 years old.
In this pleasant-looking building with Renaissance and Baroque elements, you will find incredible discoveries from the Neolithic Period and Iron Age, some approximately 7000 years old. Only here can visitors see remains of a Celtic battle chariot. The rarities also include Baroque sleighs, a gift from the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. The imposing Knight's Hall will take your breath away, as it is entirely painted with Baroque frescoes depicting Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Don't miss the concerts that often take place in this unique gem in Slovenia.
Have you ever travelled in a submarine? This special experience is available in the museum and experiential centre in the area of the old Italian barracks in Pivka. Learn about interesting military technology from various periods and take part in military and historical re-enactments. If you wish to experience an additional authentic adventure, head to the Museum Canteen Pivka and have some army pasulj (bean stew) and other army and local dishes.
The ironwork and mining industries in the Koroška Region
Learn about the history of the ironwork industry, steel industry, and mining industry in north-eastern Slovenia at the Koroška Regional Museum. It is interesting to see the oldest preserved equipment and machines at the former ironworks plant in Ravne na Koroškem or in front of the mine shaft in Črna na Koroškem. Have an unforgettable adventure by touring the mine in a train, a kayak, or by biking through its subterranean tunnels.
Through the centuries, Idrija and its surroundings were mostly known for the mercury mine, which was considered to be the second oldest and largest in the world. The museum depicts the difficult life of miners, but you can also learn more about this subject in locations around the town, for example at the miner’s house, the former Francis’ Shaft and Idrija kamšt (water wheel) and mine locomotives.
At Loka Castle, which dates back to 1202, stone tools from the Bronze Age and the remains of a wooden house from the Early Iron Age are kept. Special items at the museum also include copies of Gothic wall paintings from surrounding churches, such as the depiction of St. Sunday from the church of the Annunciation of Mary in Crngrob dating to 1455–1460. The Museum also houses the photographs of the Škofja Loka Passion Play, which is considered to be the oldest preserved drama work in Slovenia and the oldest preserved director’s book in Europe. It dates back to 1721 and is still performed in the streets of Škofja Loka. Don’t miss the next performance in 2021.
Museum of Dolenjska
Novo Mesto and its surroundings are rich in remains from various archaeological periods, especially from the Iron Age between the 8th and the 4th centuries B.C. As a site where iron ore was found, it was part of an international production and trading network for products such as weapons and ornately decorated situlas. When you visit the museum, don’t miss the exhibition about Leon Štukelj, the most successful Slovenian sportsman of all time. He participated at the Olympics in Paris (1924), Amsterdam (1928), and Berlin (1936).
When you visit the picturesque Piran, visit the neo-classicist Gabrielli Palace, where you can find evidence of Slovenia’s maritime connections with the world, which date as far back as the Late Stone Age. At Tartini’s House, see the 300-year-old violin once played by Tartini himself. One of the highlights of visiting the coast is a tour of the Sečovlje Salt Pans Landscape Park.
The Regional Museum is located in an interesting building that is a blend of fortress and manor house. See numerous collections revealing the past of Maribor and its surroundings. The special collections include a fashion collection, which is one of the most prominent collections of its kind in Slovenia, a uniform collection, a tin soldier collection, collections of banners, clocks, lights, musical instruments, and a pharmacy collection.
The Belgramoni Tacco Palace is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Koper. It was built in approximately 1600 in the Mannerism style. The magnificent entrance invites you inside, where you can find the Regional Museum and its collection, which deals with the history of the palace, and Koper and its surroundings.
The 20th century was one of the most turbulent times in the history of Slovenia. Its citizens changed countries, experienced great losses in both world wars, followed the rapid pace of technological and information development and – survived. The life of Slovenians is recorded in many photographs, postcards and coins, while clothing from concentration camps and military equipment are evidence of hard times.
Slovenski etnografski muzej [Slovene Ethnographic Museum]
Do you know what čupa, avba, suha roba and majolika are? And who was given komat? You can learn about many items that are unusual for modern times at the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum (SEM), where it is ensured that the every-day stories of Slovenians and other nations, both European and elsewhere, are preserved. Learn the crafts of handweaving, pottery and painting on ceramics, and visit the SEM café, which is popular for socialising.
Experience a museum mountain path as part of your own ascent of a mountain and conquer the peak by means of interactive tasks. Venture on a virtual stroll along Slovenian peaks with the help of virtual reality headsets and 360-degree spatial photography. Learn about the rich history of Slovenian mountaineering and supreme achievements of Slovenian climbers in a creative and fun way with the help of guided workshops and programmes for small and grown-up explorers. And when a violent storm breaks out over the mountains, seek refuge in a bivouac.
The Slovenian Theatre Institute – the Theatre Museum
Explore the history of Slovenian theatre. Enter the rooms of the Slovenian Theatre Institute and walk among the exhibits of the Theatre Museum. You will have the opportunity to admire a variety of costumes and scene designs as well as photographs and pictures of performances. The permanent exhibition IN PURSUIT OF A THEATRE – From the Jesuits to Cankar (HOJA za GLEDalIŠČEM – Od jezuitov do Cankarja) guides you through first 400 years of Slovenian theatre history.
Would you like to experience Europe in a whole new way? Stop at the House of the European Union in Ljubljana and venture on a free-of-charge tour of the Multimedia Centre: Europa Experience. You will find out many interesting things about the EU, everyday life in Europe, European politics and, above all, how you can make a difference. And all that in 24 European languages! Test your knowledge in a quiz or take selfies from the European Parliament and European capitals.
The Valley of Ribnica is best known for woodenware and pottery making. At the Museum of Ribnica, you’ll get an insight into the history and development of these two activities and life in the Ribnica area in the past and today. You may even fall under the spell of the special exhibition on witchcraft.
Discover the mysterious combination of cultural sights and natural patterns which have had their meeting point in Slovenia, at the crossroads of nations and regions, for centuries. Publication "Cultural experiences" opens doors to travellers into the world of artistic creativity and architecture, into the history of culture and the modern way of life. Come on in, it´s Slovenia Culture Time!
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