Two Archeology Museums

Trip Start Jun 08, 2010
Trip End Aug 26, 2010

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Monday, July 5, 2010

First thing this morning, I returned my rental car. It was a little sad. I was it's first driver so it felt like mine, and I'd put just over 2000km on the vehicle. It really wouldn't have made any sense to keep the car at this point, though. I'm going to be doing a little island hopping now, and my car would have just sat on a ferry, then sat in a hotel parking lot. Rental one-way to Split was a good idea. I've gone pretty far south from Ljubljana and I'm going even farther, so I would have had a day or two of just driving if I wanted to return it where I got it.

After the car and I said our goodbyes, I headed down the street to the Museum of Croatian Archeological Monuments (Muzej Hrvatskih Arheoloških Spomenika). The good news was it was open. The better news was it was free on Monday. The bad news was there wasn't much there. They seemed to be in the process of organizing a permanent collection, so they just had one large room with a few monuments and another smaller room with an assembly of a bunch of little Roman artifacts, without much explanation. It took me longer to walk to the museum than to see everything, and believe me, I lingered.

So my planned activities ended at exactly 9:15am. I wanted a light day so I could catch-up on my blog, but that was a little excessive. Split still had things for me to do, though, and I decided to head over to the other archeology museum, the creatively named Archeological Museum (Arheološki Muzej) .

It turned out to be just a few blocks from my hotel. It's collection was much more extensive and interesting than the other museum. The Archeological Museum had explanations in Croatian and English giving a historical context for the objects. The exhibits covered the area around Split and neighboring islands from the Stone Age up through the arrival of the first Croats.

Before the Romans came, the main settlement in the area was the Syracusan Greek city of Issa on an island off the coast. Issa sounded like a capable city, specializing in wine production, but the remains of the city had not been thoroughly excavated, so most of what was known about it came from its trading links and the excavation that had been done in the city cemeteries. It lost its independence to the Romans when the city backed Pompey against Caesar.

For the record, the guidebook was wrong about the hours for the Archeology Museum as well. It turned out both museums had the same hours, so I can still blame the book for some unnecessary walking. It also let me down on the location of the restaurant I chose for lunch. It was just a block or two off, but that's way too far when dealing with windy, dead-ending, medieval back streets. I couldn't find the restaurant on my first try, but the guidebook did list a website for the restaurant, and I was able to get a correct map from there.

The restaurant was called Macrovega. It was a vegetarian/organic restaurant just outside of the Split old town. An endless stream of hip backpackers filtered through during lunch time. I'm not sure what I had, there was a set menu and the single English version steadily made its way around the room as new customers arrived. The food was good, though, except for some giant balls of what I think was some sort of corn mush. I'd give it another try if I were staying longer. But then again, I've avoided pizza for three days now, it's probably okay to end my pizza fast.

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