The new Krapina Neanderthal Museum is located near the world famous site of the Krapina Neanderthals „Hušnjakovo“, a fact which makes it a unique visiting complex.
The Museum's architecture evokes the habitat of the prehistoric man: the semi-cave, the volume, proportions and the front of which are a result of the analysis done on the appearance of the ancient Krapina semi-cave.
The Museum building is incorporated in the surrounding countryside, nestled between two hills, with only the front, coated with yellow Miocene sand, visible.
The existing stream runs through a channel under the building and surfaces in front of the Museum where visitors cross it at the entrance. The sound of the stream represents the passage of time, but it also incorporates all the symbolism of crossing a river. Once you cross over the stream, your journey into the ancient past begins. The large front wall of the Museum, made of glass, reflects the surrounding forest.
The interior of the Museum is made of concrete, and is made to mimic stone, thus reinforcing the effect of a prehistoric habitat, while the visitor, just like the Neanderthal man used to, can observe the surroundings.
The rhythm and the density of the exhibits change, as well as the colours of the surrounding space, its sounds, odours and atmosphere. The organic architectural form evokes the womb, the embryo, the snail’s spirals or a replica of the human brain. This actually corresponds to the place and the significance of Neanderthals in the evolution of mankind.
The Discovery Site
Scientifically known as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, the Krapina prehistoric man was discovered all the way back in 1899, when geological and paleontological research started on Hušnjakovo hill in Krapina.
Excavations, supervised by professor Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger, a well-known Croatian geologist, palaeontologist and paleoanthropologist, lasted six years (1899 – 1905). His works significantly contributed to European and global science of the fossil man.
Some nine hundred human fossil bones were found in the cave's sandstone deposits, which were 8 meters high. This is the largest and most abundant collection of Neanderthal people collected at a single locality. The bones belong to the fossil remains of several dozen individuals, both male and female, from 2 to 40 years of age.