The month of February is dedicated to museum inspiration, or better said, to inspiring museums. To start it with a style, I chose to present a culture route and a few castles that tell the story.
This January was the month of thinking about Embracing Museums. Upon asking other museum enthusiasts if they would use the term “embracing museums”, the reactions were divided. The big and nice discussion I started on Twitter showed that people see it different ways. I am not a native English speaker. I’m just an internationally oriented person who has quite a big enthusiasm for semantics.
I would still say that I want to embrace museums. But this month, there is a new and more comprehensive thing to bring on the table – inspiring museums. So basically, museums are often seen as worlds on their own. I don’t agree with such assumption. Museums exist for us to visit them. The same applies to galleries, interpretation centers…
What is a museum? I guess it’s usually an institution with objects, items on display, and a kind of concept. What is a gallery? Well, laws define the difference between a museum and a gallery. In my opinion, a gallery is a bit smaller or simplified kind of museum, based on items and people’s interest to see these items.
Interpretation center is something else. It’s basically a physical space with stories inside.
No interpretation center goes without an outer space. Usually, going to an interpretation center includes an outdoor walk. For instance, during my last visit to Lisbon, Portugal, I visited an area outside the city. In the XIX century, that area defended the city against the Napoleonic invasions. A series of fortresses was built with quite an advanced military strategic planning.
In order to understand the whole story, visitors are encouraged to walk through the former fortresses and feel the area – the nature, hills, landscapes, thus imagining the scenarios of the past. Then, small interpretation centers located on different spots around the zone will help visitors getting more information.
The Routes of the Frankopans
My country, Croatia, is a kind of rich in castles. Unfortunately, most of these castles do not keep their former glory; they are either decaying or used for completely different purposes (ex: mental hospitals). A very few of them are home to a museum. But there is one, lesser-known, that has a restaurant and an interpretation center inside. Just like the Portuguese example, this is another interpretation of a story.
There was a noble family in the area whose name was Frankopans. They dominated the area throughout the middle ages and Renaissance era before declining in the XVII century. Their main residence was on the island of Krk, in the Castle overlooking the Sea (on the picture below).
See also: How to travel?
How to do a Culture Route?
Once when meeting a director of a museum, I mentioned the word “culture route”. He explained to me that the term means something defined with direction boards and a series of labels on the way. This is an official culture route.
The part of Croatia called “Kvarner” is a hidden gem. It’s not as known as Dubrovnik or Zagreb. The region’s center is the city of Rijeka, where curious travelers can find a nice palace with quite a unique museum.
One of the important points of the Route is the Castle of Trsat, overlooking the city of Rijeka. It makes a perfect start to a culture route. People who like to do road trips will love to go further.
The mountain regions of Gorski Kotar have their own share of Castles. Mountains, oh yeah. I don’t have any photos of that yet, but as soon as a take some, I’ll add them to this article.
The real center of the route and a nice off-the-beaten-path place is the Castle of Kraljevica. This is quite a large castle, yet to be turned into a region’s hotspot of culture discovery.
However, for now, there is a small interpretation center inside the castle, with dreamy views, and a nice selection of stories about the Culture Route.
The staff is also very nice, they like to talk with visitors.
There is a nice restaurant in the Castle’s courtyard too.
The story of this Route is also yet to be finished. There will be more interpretation centers, so it will end up being similar to the Portuguese case I mentioned. Anyone wants to join and see beautiful landscapes of this Croatia’s lesser-known region?