History, as a school subject, was a huge torture for some kids. It was so boring to memorize all these dates, years, kings, battles, or when something was discovered (America or India, for instance).
Then, by traveling and visiting beautiful medieval towns or royal palaces we can easily get a romantic approach to history without thinking of all these dark and negative sides. Learning history is not a torture – the real torture was brutal. Remember guillotines of the Frech Revolution?
This Museum is Fun, but…
In the Tortureum – Museum of Tortures in Zagreb, you can learn how these old times looked like. With more than 70 different instruments from different historical periods, this museum provides a lot of weirdly fun to visitors.
Violence is an irreversible element of our surroundings, unfortunately, and it has always been the same – just the instruments were different. In the Classical Antiquity, in cultures such as Greece or Roman Empire, only slaves and foreigners were exposed to torture in most times. But in the Middle Ages, no one was absolutely safe from torture, since anyone could say that a relative or neighbor committed something unacceptable.
Some of these instruments are fairly recent or somehow used in some parts of the world, and living people who belonged to “wrong” organizations told their experiences of being exposed to terrible pain.
After walking around the beautiful historical center of Zagreb and lively Tkalčićeva (Tkalča), getting inside Tortureum is like going suddenly from day to night. The dark space is well designed to tell stories like this.
The story of Croatian “social activist” (Can a person who lived in the XVI century be called a social activist? Hmm…) named Matija Gubec is told in detail. Notice how he was tortured to death. There is a short movie helping visitors understanding how the instrument “works”.
Provoke your Curiosity
Several instruments are a bit difficult to understand, some are even considered legendary. There is a little room reminding on old prisons, not only visually and acoustically. The thick candles are lit up to provide a sensation of weak warmth between stone walls and there is an unavoidable smell of wax. Yes, there are more than 70 stories to find, analyze, become curious about. Even though everything in this museum shows a dark side of humanity, most visitors like it.
Situated in the heart of Zagreb, the Tortureum is close to similarly popular museums such as Museum of Broken Relationships or Museum of Illusions. You will need about an hour to visit it.
*All pictures were given to me by the Museum as official photos. All right reserved.*