Photo:Vukovar Municipal Museum, Vučedol Culture Museum
Last updated:09 Nov 2020
Vučedol Culture Museum
Eastern Croatia is built on incredible ancient heritage marked by turbulent modern history. Two museums that perfectly narrate the complex, millennia-long history of this region are the Museum of Vučedol Culture and Vukovar Municipal Museum.
After the Homeland War, and under the scope of the Vučedol project, the Croatian government also reconstructed the baroque Eltz castle, the home of the Vukovar Municipal Museum.
The Vučedol Culture Museum is a national institution founded in 2013 within the project ‘Ilok – Vukovar – Vučedol’, one of the most important national cultural heritage projects in the region.
The Museum is structured around 19 spaces re-enacting the customs and traditions of the influential Eneolithic Vučedol culture, which originated in the Dunav-Drava-Sava interfluve and expanded to the territories of today’s Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Romania, and Bosnia, but 5000 years ago.
One of the most notable people involved in Museum development is Croatian archaeologist dr. Aleksandar Durman, specialised in Vučedol research and was one of the main proponents of opening a museum devoted solely to this culture.
The most significant discoveries from Vučedol-era stem from 20th-century archeological research led by German archeologist Robert Rudolf Schmidt. During his 1938 exploration venture, two critical findings were revealed: the ‘Copper smelter’s megaron’ and a 5000-year-old Vučedol dove made of clay.
Today, the dove is the most recognisable symbol of Vučedol culture.
Permanent exhibitions In Vučedol
Vučedol Culture Museum’s permanent exhibition space is a versatile, colourful presentation of the ancient Vučedol way of life. The exhibition space features aspects of Vučedol’s everyday surroundings such as dwelling and houses, production of clothes and shoes, crafts, ceramics.
It also examines the culture’s economic structure, illustrating aspects such as its location, livestock breeding, agriculture, hunting and fishing, metallurgy.
The permanent setting also presents the essential elements of their societal system, such as religion, calendars, measuring time and honouring their ancestors.
Online shop & publications
Vučedol Culture Museum has an online store featuring items from the museum’s souvenir shop. Inspired by archaeological discoveries, the souvenirs are a modern interpretation of unique Vučedol culture findings, taking you back to a past that’s 5000 years away.
You can purchase jewellery with Vučedol-inspired necklaces, bracelets and pins, replicas of Vučedol culture glass, bowl, boot, wooden boat, clothes, publications, magnets and other interesting pieces.
The Museum has published several guides and presentations: Dolka’s stories (children’s guide to Vučedol culture), a booklet ‘No trade, no tools’ accompanying a 2018 exhibition, the archaeological diary: ‘Celestial Symbolism in the Vučedol Culture’ and the general Museum guide.
Vukovar Municipal Museum
The Municipal Museum in Vukovar first opened its permanent exhibition in January 2014. The ground floor holds an exhibition about the museum itself and its founder and museologist, Dr. Antun Bauer.
The Vukovar Municipal Museum played a significant role in city life and cultural restoration after the Homeland War. During the peaceful reintegration process, the museum started hosting events such as the chamber music festival, art event ‘Sky above Vukovar’, advent festivities and much more.
The Museum, located in the Eltz Castle, was founded in 1946 and first opened in 1948.
The Vukovar Eltz Castle was the most important estate of the Eltz family outside Germany. The German count family has been in close connections with the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia since 1736.
Philip Karlo Eltz, Archbishop of Mainz and German Prince Elector, bought this huge estate in 1736 together with the 35 settlements. Eltz Castle in Vukovar was the main residence of the Counts of Eltz until 1945 when they were expelled from the Yugoslav communist regime.
The permanent exhibition features several different subjects, divided into four different thematic structures: Eltz Castle’s regional collections, Lavoslav Ružička memorial museum, Museum of recent history and Bauer collection and art gallery.
Lavoslav (Leopold) Ružička, born in Vukovar 1887, is the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and is also the first Croatian winner of that award. He holds eight honorary doctorates, four for science, two for medicine, and one each for natural sciences and law. His father, Stjepan Ružička, was of Czech and Croatian descent, and his mother, Amalija (née Sever), was of Croatian and German descent. Ružička’s ancestors were farmers and craftsmen.
Visitors can learn about the archaeological history of the local region, as well as the historical development of Vukovar. Furthermore, there is an exhibition featuring the everyday life of Vukovar inhabitants throughout history. The next displays are related to Vukovar during the Croatian War of Independence and exile.
The final part of the permanent exhibition is titled ‘Vukovar today – life in a multinational community’.
Best time to visit
Vučedol Culture Museum and Vukovar Municipal Museum are open every day except Monday from 10 AM – 6 PM.
Both museums feature a virtual walk, which visitors can use to walk through the museum space and enjoy permanent exhibitions remotely.
The Vučedol Culture Museum also held a virtual exhibition of children’s art inspired by Vučedol while the museum was closed due to the pandemic.
The museums are currently open for visitors, but it’s mandatory to follow the national anti-COVID measures.