Medieval Display & Carnival Customs

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The new medieval display in Zagreb's Archeological Museum

Curators Anita Dugonjic and Maja Buncic in the Medieval Permanent Display (AMZ)

Given the importance of the medieval period to early Croatian history, it may be surprising to many that a permanent display for the medieval era in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb was only quite recently opened – in January of this year to be precise. The new display features some of the most notable artifacts from the Museum’s medieval collection several well-appointed rooms, covering a period from migration period, sometimes misleadingly called the ‘Dark Ages,’ to the high Middle Ages in roughly the fifteenth or early sixteenth century. Our reporter recently sat down with senior curator Maja Bunčić and curator Anita Dugonjić, who are in charge of the Museum’s medieval section, to talk a little about the new display and the medieval collection in general.

The Fifth Season - Carnival History in Croatia and Europe

Carnival or the fifth season is a time of new beginnings, when when magical spells must be used to ensure fertility in the year to come. In its long tradition of carnivals, Croatia, its people and visitors have come to enjoy so many of them, from Fašnik in Samobor, Mačkare in Slavonija, Fašange and Buše in Baranja, Pust and Mesopust in Rijeka and Istria, as well as Poklade on Lastovo, Krnjo in Dubrovnik and the list goes on. Zvjezdana Antoš, of the Zagreb Ethnographic Museum says that this only proves just how widespread and valuable this custom is. Although a small country in size, Croatia’s intangible cultural heritage is large. Each specific and vibrant in its own particular way. Held from the winter solstice to Ash Wednesday, carnivals throughout Croatia offer us a sense of magic.

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