Croatia // Inland Croatia //

Krapina Neanderthal Museum

Ambitious, well designed and thought-provoking to boot, the Krapina Neanderthal Museum (Muzej Krapinskih Neandertalaca) is nothing short of a museum of life on earth. The bulding itself is well suited to the task, with a glass-walled atrium leading to a cylindrical structure built into the Hušnjakovo hillside – visitors ascend the cylinder by spiral pathway, confronting stages in the earth’s development as they go. A light display reruns the Big Bang theory of the universe’s creation, and life-sized models of mammals, monkeys and missing links illustrate how we got to where we are now: as a tour de force in evolutionary theory, the museum seems guaranteed to send creationists squealing for the exits. By far the most entertaining aspects of the museum are devoted to the Krapina Neanderthals themselves – a film featuring human actors in prosthetic masks re-creates a day in the life of a Neanderthal tribe, and the display culminates in a diorama featuring startlingly lifelike Neanderthal dummies.

Outside the musem, pathways leads up onto the wooded hillside towards the exact spot where Krambeger first excavated the bones, nowadays marked by life-sized statues of a Neanderthal family.