The Ancient Glass Museum of Zadar

Croatia is filled with outstanding and unique museums: The Ancient Glass Museum in Zadar.

(Photo credit: Zadar. Museu del vidre antic (Musej Antickog Stakla). Ampolleta en forma de peix, by Pilar Torres on Flickr)

Glass is a fairly new medium when you think about it - it has been around only a few thousand years, prior to 3000 BC our ancestors carried around goods in containers carved from wood or stone. Once glass making came into its own, vessels began to pop up everywhere due to the way the medium could be shaped and formed into just about any size or shape.

Before moving to Zadar, when I thought of glass I thought about Italy, specifically Murano glass made on the Venetian island of Murano. Well, move over Italy there is a new glass player in town, Zadar and the Ancient Glass Museum.

A visit to Croatia's 5th largest city is full of history which includes this unique glass collection of over 5000 different glass objects from the first century BC all the way to the fifth century AD. Specific objects include things such as jars, files, and goblets. Of particular interest to me was to see how Roman royalty stored skin cream & perfume - 2,000-year-old skin cream jars - how amazing to see that survive. There are also iconic chalice's that were used to celebrate mass, as well as delicate fish made from glass. All of the these have been delicately and expertly removed from various archeological locations scattered throughout Dalmatia.

(Photo credit: Museum of Ancient Glass, Zadar, Croatia by Jane McDevitt, on Flickr)

On display in the museum are hundreds of artifacts belonging to premium collections of Roman glassware, including a large collection of glass urns which were unearthed during the construction of one of Zadar's shopping malls - amazingly intact and looking brand new. The bright and airy display cabinets house an array of artifacts making this museum a truly fascinating look at the history of glass.

Make certain to head to the top floor to see glass blowers creating stunning glass objects. I'd suggest finding out when the daily demonstrations are due to take place - and plan your trip accordingly - especially if you are traveling with children, it'll keep them engrossed.

If a look into the history of glass and peek into the lives of Romans is not enough, well the views atop the museum certainly are, and they are especially great for photographers, so be sure to bring your camera with you (even if you can't use it in the museum itself). The museum is housed in the beautifully restored Cosmacendi Palace dating back to 1877, which overlooks the waterfront and provides a panoramic view of an area that was once part of the defensive walls.

(Photo credit: Fish-shaped Glass Bottle, from Iader Roman necropolis, grave 59, 2nd half of 1st century AD, Museum of Ancient Glass, Zadar, by Carole Raddato on Flickr)

A visit to the Ancient Museum of Glass in Zadar is a must do when visiting Zadar, and because the museum constantly organizes new events and houses temporary exhibitions, so even if you have been once - you can always go back for round two or three.