A Short Photo Tour of Zagreb

By the time I got to Zagreb in June 2013, I was worn out after nearly two weeks of late nights along the Croatian coast. I stayed just a couple days in the capital city, long enough to visit the Museum of Broken Relationships, catch a choral concert outside the cathedral, and eat burek. I spent at least half a day seated on a bench in one of the plazas, near a bubbling fountain, reading a book in the sunshine–a very pleasant experience, but one which doesn’t lend itself to exciting retellings or dramatic photos. So here’s a photo post of some of the sights I enjoyed on my short walks around Zagreb, a city worth a closer look on another visit.

Cathedral of the Assumption

Cathedral of the Assumption

Grand interior

Grand interior

zagreb

I always enjoy a good stained glass window

I always enjoy a good stained glass window

Opera House

Opera House

If you're looking for a change in your eyelashes routine, you've come to the right place

If you’re looking for a change in your eyelashes routine, you’ve come to the right place

Decorative flourishes

Decorative flourishes

Church of St. Mark

Church of St. Mark

This tile pattern depicting the coat of arms of Zagreb is very old, but it kind of looks like a pixelated video game screenshot

This tile pattern depicting the coat of arms of Zagreb is very old, but it kind of looks like a pixelated video game screenshot, or Legos

Possibly the only non-sketchy train station neighborhood in Europe--this is across the road from the main station

Possibly the only non-sketchy train station neighborhood in Europe–this is across the road from the main station

King Tomislav

King Tomislav

Burek! Delicious meat (and/or cheese) pastry

Burek! Delicious meat (and/or cheese) pastry

Next up, Croatia by the Numbers, and then on to new countries!

Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb

I didn’t meet that many people who had been to Zagreb, Croatia before I visited, but everyone who had been suggested I go to one place: The Museum of Broken Relationships. Well, with a name like that, of course I had to check it out.

Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum of Broken Relationships

The museum started as a traveling show, for which the founders asked people to donate something that symbolized their ended relationship as a means of coping with that end. The founders, Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, see submitting to the museum almost as a ritual, like a marriage or funeral, that can formally recognize the end of something once vital to one’s life.

One of the first displays I encountered

One of the first displays I encountered

Great imagery

Great imagery

The rooms were labeled with themes, like “Rage and Anger,” although on the whole, I didn’t find the themes that useful a division. The stories are interesting enough on their own, and there’s too much overlap in the end of a relationship among rage and heartbreak and loss to divide it all up into rooms. Maybe the only theme I would’ve taken care to separate items into would be “Death,” because it’s one thing to read about how two lovers broke up, and quite another to read about the tragic circumstances of a loved one’s death. I’d separate those out, to reduce the emotional whiplash.

Different kinds of relationships

Different kinds of relationships

The museum displays about 15% of its collection; they accept any donation (except things that are racially, religiously, sexually, or ethnically offensive), and they only have so much room. I imagine the turnover is pretty good, so that you could visit every year and see almost a whole new exhibit every time. They don’t turn donations away, as they really seem to want to be a physical place for people to locate their pain from a broken relationship.

Different goals for donating

Different goals for donating

They also don’t change the written story submission at all; they encourage people to submit in their native language, and they employ translators to do their best in changing it into English (the language of the museum). They accept multiple objects, tiny objects, large objects. They let the donor decide what’s being displayed and how it’s being talked about, and it seems to me that in doing so, they’re radically addressing what it means to be a museum at all, and what it means to curate one.

There were a lot of stuffed animals

There were a lot of stuffed animals

zagreb croatia museum

It was as fascinating and emotional as I’d been promised it would be, so I’ll pass on what other travelers told me: if you’re going to Zagreb, go to the Museum of Broken Relationships.