Yep — you read that right, a mushroom museum. Call it Muzej gljiva if you prefer using the Croatian name, and think of it as an education center. This collection exists thanks to the hard work of Dr. Romano Božac. From starting a mushroom association in 1983, a newspaper in 1984 to an encyclopedia, several books and hundreds of scientific papers and articles, this is a man who has spent his life and energy on mushrooms. Oh, and he’s discovered over 40 new species of mushrooms, many of which are on display here. One of them is named tuber donnagotta, after the doctor’s two truffle-hunting dogs, Donna and Gotto.
The thousands of exhibits are carefully labeled and documented, from the deadly and poisonous types to the ‘choice’, tasty ones.
It’s worth noting that every mushroom seen here is a real one, preserved using a freeze-dried process that can take up to 200 hours per mushroom. The process involves taking the specimen down to -40 degrees Celsius, and according to the museum staff, they’re the only museum that preserves mushrooms this way.
That means you ain’t seen nothin’ like this before.
Pretty much every adjective comes out to play when it comes to mushrooms — big, small, curved, flat, light, dark, tall, short…
I wouldn’t use this collection as a guide to eating mushrooms unless you have an exceptional memory. There are dozens of species that are edible, and of course there are truffles here as well….
Some 1,500 species of mushrooms are here, from Croatia and neighboring countries alike.
One of the more colorful species around. There are a few others that break from the browns and tans so common to mushrooms.
Just a few of the deformities the good scientist has managed to collect. It may go without saying, but they did not grow out of a tree stump like this. The clever mounting mechanism allows plenty of freeze-dried mushrooms to share the same slice of wood.
The glass cabinets let you get some nice close-ups from the side.
This is a near-perfect example of a One Weird Globe sort of place. On one level, it’s a unique and offbeat attraction. It’s the same tram stop as Zagreb’s old town, and a very short walk to any number of mainstream locations. It’s a little hidden, meaning you have to know where to look. Bring your kids and give this collection at least a half-hour — photos are allowed, but no flash is allowed.
While you’re in the neighborhood, go visit Kotor, Montenegro — my friend Cheryl’s written up a great guide for it.
Name: Mushroom museum (Muzej gljiva)
Address: Splavnica ul. 2, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia (GPS: 45.813627, 15.976662)
Directions: Take a tram to Trg J. Jelačića (trams 1, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 31, 32, and 34 all stop here). As you’re looking at the main horse figure, look left for a building with Addiko Bank and a fast food restaurant. Pass Addiko bank to the right, then look for the 1st door on the side. Head up the elevator or stairs and look for the posters in the stairwell a few flights up.
Hours: 10:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday
Admission: 20 kuna
Phone: 01 6383 420
Ratings out of 5 globes (How do I rate destinations?)
Ease to arrive:
Worth the visit:
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