Archaeological museum in Zagreb and the great earthquake of 1880

On Tuesday, November 9, 1880, at 07:03 AM, the Archaeological Museum, then situated in the palace of the Academy of at Zrinjevac Square, suffered through the so-called Great earthquake of Zagreb, whereby some artifacts were damaged. The near-by Vranyczany-Dobrinović palace, the current home of the Archaeological Museum, also sustained damage, and its façade took on a new look after the earthquake.

In the winter of 2880, not long after it moved from the National Home in Opatička Street to the palace of the Academy at Zrinjevac Square, the Archaeological museum sustained damage in the big earthquake. The engineer Lenuci arrived at 9 AM to investigate, and issued a ban on entering the building due to possible collapse. The earthquake greatly damaged artifacts made out of pottery and glass. “A lot fell apart into fragile pieces, so that it cannot possibly be repaired; the Collection of old Greek vases, unfortunately, is left without some of the best pieces, thereby, if these cannot be repaired, tremendously lessening its scientific value “… records Šime Ljubić, the then director, in a report issued to the Government that is kept in the Archives of the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb. After repairing the damage, whereby replacing the glass sides of the display cases was the most expensive, the Museum reopened in 1881.

The palace of baron Dragan Vranyczany-Dobrinović, constructed in 1879, which has been the home of the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb since 1945, also sustained damage in the big earthquake of 1880. It was recorded that, before the earthquake, the composition of the façade contained a balustrade with statues that were removed after the big earthquake. A preserved photograph from the collection of Ivan Ulčnik, taken in 1879, shown how the façade of the Vranyczany-Dobrinović palace looked like before the earthquake of 1880.

The palace Vranyczany-Dobrinović, before the great earthquake 1880., (1879.; HR DAZG 857, Zbirka Ivan Ulčnik, sig. 138)

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