The Croatian city of Zadar is packed with medieval churches, old wells, and other notable architectural features, so a visit to the Archaeological Museum seemed like a logical way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon. It also helped that it was conveniently located in the centre of the old town, about 100m from our hostel.
The 20 kuna entrance fee (about €2.60 or US$3.55) gives you access to the museum’s three storeys, each of which focuses on a different era in the archaeological history of the area. The second floor covers prehistory, and displays a wide range of Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age artifacts.
The display was arranged chronologically and beautifully, with thoughtful placement enhancing the beauty of the objects. The information signs, in English and Croatian, were a little detailed for my liking but good for those with a bit more interest in history than me.
The first floor, and its display about the Roman era, was closed when we visited, and is due to reopen in early 2014. However, the medieval section on the ground floor was open and full of carved stone to look at.
I’ve been appreciating audio guides recently, and I have to commend the Archaeological Museum on their model. Rather than purchase and program a lot of expensive devices, they’ve created a guide that’s available on your smartphone via wifi. I couldn’t get it to work on my iPhone 5, but we had no problems with Craig’s iPhone 4S. However, we didn’t have any headphones and the museums few other visitors had to put up with us playing the audio through the speakers.
The guide is divided into four sections: one for each floor and one about the church across the square from the museum. Each track lasts between 30 seconds and two minutes, and are each illustrated by a photo of one of the objects on display. You simply press the speaker icon to play the track that interests you.
All in all, I’d recommend Zadar’s archaeological museum to anyone who has any interest at all in history, or who just wants to fill an hour on a rainy day. Just remember to bring some headphones with you!