• 001 - the logo.jpg
  • 002 - Hiroshima sunset.jpg
  • 003 - Auschwitz-Birkenau ramp.jpg
  • 004 - Chernobyl contamination.jpg
  • 005 - Darvaza flaming gas crater.jpg
  • 006 - Berlin Wall madness.jpg
  • 007 - Bulgaria - monument at the bottom of Buzludzhy park hill.jpg
  • 008 - Ijen crater.jpg
  • 009 - Aralsk, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 010 - Paris catacombs.jpg
  • 011 - Krakatoa.jpg
  • 012 - Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Hanoi.jpg
  • 013 - Uyuni.jpg
  • 014 - DMZ Vietnam.jpg
  • 015 - Colditz Kopie.jpg
  • 016 - Glasgow Necropolis.jpg
  • 017 - Hashima ghost island.jpg
  • 018 - Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 019 - Arlington.jpg
  • 020 - Karosta prison.jpg
  • 021 - Kamikaze.jpg
  • 022 - Chacabuco ghost town.jpg
  • 023 - Eagle's Nest, Obersalzberg, Berchtesgaden.jpg
  • 024 - Kursk.jpg
  • 025 - Bran castle, Carpathia, Romania.jpg
  • 026 - Bestattungsmuseum Wien.jpg
  • 027 - Pripyat near Chernobyl.jpg
  • 028 - Sedlec ossuary, Czech Republic.jpg
  • 029 - Pyramida Lenin.jpg
  • 030 - Falklands.jpg
  • 031 - Majdanek.jpg
  • 032 - Soufriere volcano, Montserrat.jpg
  • 033 - moai on Easter Island.jpg
  • 034 - Sidoarjo.jpg
  • 035 - Hötensleben.jpg
  • 036 - Natzweiler.jpg
  • 037 - Polygon, Semipalatinsk test site, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 038 - Srebrenica.jpg
  • 039 - Liepaja, Latvia.jpg
  • 040 - Vemork hydroelectric power plant building, Norway.jpg
  • 041 - Enola Gay.jpg
  • 042 - Pentagon 9-11 memorial.jpg
  • 043 - Robben Island prison, South Africa.jpg
  • 044 - Tollund man.jpg
  • 045 - Marienthal tunnel.jpg
  • 046 - Aso, Japan.jpg
  • 047 - Labrador battery Singapore.jpg
  • 048 - Artyom island, Absheron, Azerbaijan.jpg
  • 049 - Treblinka.jpg
  • 050 - Titan II silo.jpg
  • 051 - dosemetering doll, Chernobyl.jpg
  • 052 - Holocaust memorial, Berlin.jpg
  • 053 - Komodo dragon.jpg
  • 054 - cemeterio general, Santiago de Chile.jpg
  • 055 - Tuol Sleng, Phnom Phen, Cambodia.jpg
  • 056 - West Virginia penitentiary.jpg
  • 057 - ovens, Dachau.jpg
  • 058 - Derry, Northern Ireland.jpg
  • 059 - Bulgaria - Buzludzha - workers of all countries unite.jpg
  • 060 - Sachsenhausen.jpg
  • 061 - Tiraspol dom sovietov.jpg
  • 062 - modern-day Pompeii - Plymouth, Montserrat.jpg
  • 063 - Pico de Fogo.jpg
  • 064 - Trinity Day.jpg
  • 065 - Zwentendorf control room.jpg
  • 066 - Wolfschanze.jpg
  • 067 - Hiroshima by night.jpg
  • 068 - mass games, North Korea.jpg
  • 069 - Harrisburg.jpg
  • 070 - Nuremberg.jpg
  • 071 - Mostar.jpg
  • 072 - Tu-22, Riga aviation museum.jpg
  • 073 - Gallipoli, Lone Pine.jpg
  • 074 - Auschwitz-Birkenau - fence.jpg
  • 075 - Darvaza flaming gas crater.jpg
  • 076 - Atatürk Mausoleum, Ankara.jpg
  • 077 - Banda Aceh boats.jpg
  • 078 - AMARG.jpg
  • 079 - Chacabuco ruins.jpg
  • 080 - Bucharest.jpg
  • 081 - Bernauer Straße.jpg
  • 082 - Death Railway, Thailand.jpg
  • 083 - Mandor killing fields.jpg
  • 084 - Kozloduy.jpg
  • 085 - Jerusalem.jpg
  • 086 - Latin Bridge, Sarajevo.jpg
  • 087 - Panmunjom, DMZ, Korea.jpg
  • 088 - Ijen blue flames.jpg
  • 089 - Derry reconsilliation monument.jpg
  • 090 - Ebensee.jpg
  • 091 - Mödlareuth barbed wire.jpg
  • 092 - skull heaps in Sedlec ossuary, Czech Republic.jpg
  • 093 - Nikel.jpg
  • 094 - Fukushima-Daiichi NPP.jpg
  • 095 - Tital launch control centre.jpg
  • 096 - Dallas Dealy Plaza and Sixth Floor Museum.jpg
  • 097 - Auschwitz I.jpg
  • 098 - Stalin and Lenin, Tirana, Albania.jpg
  • 099 - Malta, Fort St Elmo.jpg
  • 100 - Peenemünde.jpg
  • 101 - Tarrafal.jpg
  • 102 - Kilmainham prison, Dublin.jpg
  • 103 - North Korea.jpg
  • 104 - Mittelbau-Dora.jpg
  • 105 - St Helena.jpg
  • 106 - Stutthof, Poland.jpg
  • 107 - Merapi destruction.jpg
  • 108 - Chueung Ek killing fields, Cambodia.jpg
  • 109 - Marienborn former GDR border.jpg
  • 110 - Mig and star, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 111 - Nagasaki WWII tunnels.jpg
  • 112 - Hellfire Pass, Thailand.jpg
  • 113 - Kiev.jpg
  • 114 - Grutas Park, Lithuania.jpg
  • 115 - Zwentendorf reactor core.jpg
  • 116 - two occupations, Tallinn.jpg
  • 117 - Trunyan burial site.jpg
  • 118 - Ushuaia prison.jpg
  • 119 - Buchenwald.jpg
  • 120 - Marienthal with ghost.jpg
  • 121 - Murmansk harbour - with an aircraft carrier.jpg
  • 122 - Berlin Olympiastadion.JPG
  • 123 - Bastille Day, Paris.jpg
  • 124 - Spassk.jpg
  • 125 - Theresienstadt.jpg
  • 126 - B-52s.jpg
  • 127 - Bledug Kuwu.jpg
  • 128 - Friedhof der Namenlosen, Vienna.jpg
  • 129 - Auschwitz-Birkenau barracks.jpg
  • 130 - mummies, Bolivia.jpg
  • 131 - Barringer meteor crater.jpg
  • 132 - Murambi, Rwanda.jpg
  • 133 - NTS.jpg
  • 134 - Mauthausen Soviet monument.jpg
  • 135 - pullution, Kazakhstan.JPG
  • 136 - palm oil madness.jpg
  • 137 - Berlin socialist realism.jpg
  • 138 - Okawa school building ruin.jpg
  • 139 - Pawiak, Warsaw.jpg
  • 140 - flying death, military museum Dresden.JPG
  • 141 - KGB gear.JPG
  • 142 - KZ jacket.JPG
  • 143 - ex-USSR.JPG
  • 144 - Indonesia fruit bats.JPG
  • 145 - Alcatraz.JPG
  • 146 - Chernobyl Museum, Kiev, Ukraine.JPG
  • 147 - Halemaumau lava lake glow, Hawaii.JPG
  • 148 - Rosinenbomber at Tempelhof, Berlin.jpg
  • 149 - Verdun, France.JPG
  • 150 - hospital, Vukovar, Croatia.JPG
  • 151 - the original tomb of Napoleon, St Helena.JPG
  • 152 - Buchenwald, Germany.JPG
  • 153 - Bhopal.JPG
  • 154 - Groß-Rosen, Poland.jpg
  • 155 - at Monino, Russia.jpg
  • 156 - blinking Komodo.jpg
  • 157 - inside Chernobyl NPP.JPG
  • 158 - Mount St Helens, USA.JPG
  • 159 - Maly Trostenec, Minsk, Belarus.jpg
  • 160 - Vucedol skulls, Croatia.JPG
  • 161 - colourful WW1 shells.JPG
  • 162 - Zeljava airbase in Croatia.JPG
  • 163 - rusting wrecks, Chernobyl.JPG
  • 164 - San Bernadine alle Ossa, Milan, Italy.jpg
  • 165 - USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.JPG
  • 166 - Brest Fortress, Belarus.JPG
  • 167 - thousands of bats, Dom Rep.JPG
  • 168 - Hohenschönhausen, Berlin.JPG
  • 169 - Perm-36 gulag site.JPG
  • 170 - Jasenovac, Croatia.JPG
  • 171 - Beelitz Heilstätten.JPG
  • 172 - Kremlin, Moscow.jpg
  • 173 - old arms factory, Dubnica.JPG
  • 174 - Pervomaisc ICBM base, more  missiles, including an SS-18 Satan.jpg
  • 175 - Cellular Jail, Port Blair.jpg
  • 177 - control room, Chernobyl NPP.JPG
  • 178 - Podgorica, Montenegro, small arms and light weapons sculpture.jpg
  • 179 - Vught.jpg
  • 180 - Japanese cave East Timor.jpg
  • 181 - Ani.jpg
  • 182 - Indonesia wildfire.jpg
  • 183 - Chacabuco big sky.jpg
  • 184 - Bunker Valentin, Germany.JPG
  • 185 - Lest we Forget, Ypres.JPG
  • 186 - the logo again.jpg

Contemporary History Museum

   
   - darkometer rating:  3 -
 
A remarkable museum in Slovenia's capital city Ljubljana that charts the chequered history of this country from the beginning of the 20th century to (almost) the present day, with the main focus on WWI and WWII, the communist era of Yugoslavia and the struggle for independence in the early 1990s.   
     
What there is to see: As you approach the museum you see a single outdoor exhibit:  a little yellow car parked outside that has the name of the museum on it. It is not explained, but I'd guess this is a car from the Yugoslav era. 
  
Once inside you find yourself in a large foyer, more a hall really. To the left of the entrance is the desk where you have to pay your admission fee. There are also a few books, brochures and souvenirs on sale here. 
  
Leaving the temporary exhibition rooms that branch off the foyer hall on the ground floor for now you ascend the stairs at the far end of the foyer to get to the permanent exhibition upstairs. Interestingly, the fronts of each step quote a year and key historical event that happened then, beginning with 1918 and ending in 2004 (when Slovenia became a member of both NATO and the EU). 
  
Upstairs the exhibition is roughly divided into two halves. The first half, in one wing of the building, deals with WWI, the inter-war years and WWII. In the other wing are the sections about the Yugoslav socialist era, and the path to independence (including the Ten-Day War) and present-day Slovenia in the EU. 
  
In between the two halves is a large ceremonial hall with a grand painted ceiling (apparently this hall can be hired for e.g. weddings). There are no exhibits in this hall, though.
   
Throughout the exhibition labels and explanatory texts are bilingual, in Slovenian and English. However, some of the documents and posters are in the original language only, which includes many in German or Italian (naturally in the WWI section in particular). Videos shown on screens in the exhibition have English subtitles too.  
  
Chronologically kicking off the exhibition is a section about the run-up to World War One, with plenty of Austro-Hungarian propaganda posters, photos and a set of period suitcases suspended from a ceiling. There's a small mezzanine level with yet more (pre-)WWI exhibits such as medals, posters and yet more photos. 
   
Leading to the next room is a life-size, gloomy-dark reconstruction of soldiers' living quarters and trench-like wooden fortifications, all standing for the horrors of WWI. On display here are guns, helmets, rolls of barbed wire and the like as well as sets of bunk beds with dummy soldiers in them.
  
The next room moves on to the inter-war years when most of Slovenia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (aka 'Kingdom of Yugoslavia'), and another became part of Italy (and was subjected to a campaign of Italianization – see also Kobariški muzej!).
   
The next section is the grimmest: WWII, and especially the subsection about the Holocaust. Unusually it features a reconstruction of the infamous gate of the concentration camp of Buchenwald with the cynical slogan “Jedem das Seine” (as opposed to the more commonly used “Arbeit macht frei”). Amongst the artefacts on display are the usual striped camp inmate clothes, wooden spoons and tin soup bowls, shackles, pieces of electric camp fences and so on. A very unusual exhibit is that of a set of playing cards on a concentration-camp theme. 
   
Also still part of the WWII section is a large display cabinet about the Slovenian resistance and partisans, with lots of guns, caps, medals, posters and such like. Amongst the faces on the posters is a young Josip Broz “Tito”, who would later become the leader of the socialist federal state of Yugoslavia
  
Crossing the central hall and into the second half of the permanent exhibition, we quickly meet the big Tito again, now in the form of a glorifying bust. This is the section about the communist era of Yugoslavia and it features some splendidly OTT socialist-realist art and statuary and propaganda posters. Lurking in the display cabinets are also the heads of some other commie biggies: Lenin and Stalin. Content-wise this section also covers the dark themes of collectivization and the grip of the secret police. 
  
One room in this section is about everyday life in the Yugoslav era, with a flamboyant display of household goods from that period. Using the example of milk, four recurring displays show the evolution of milk containers over time and how the price for milk rose (through inflation) between 1956 and 1986. Somewhat fitting in with that is the display of different types of piggy banks, including one in the shape of the iconic Ljubljana dragon (as in the Dragon Bridge – see under Ljubljana). 
   
The next room is about the break-up of Yugoslavia, beginning already in the 1980s following Tito's death. This room is designed even more like an art installation, with a gloomy bluish ambient light and with old shoes and boots representing the various “steps” in this development.
   
This leads to the next section on how Slovenia finally achieved independence from Yugoslavia, including a section on the short Ten-Day War during which the Yugoslav army tried to prevent Slovenia from breaking away. The largest artefact here that symbolically stands for this period is a piece of a Yugoslav military helicopter that apparently crashed during that time. 
   
Independence is duly celebrated, as you would expect in any self-respecting ex-communist small young nation. You can press a button to listen to the Slovenian national anthem, one display cabinet shows a special bottling of champagne with an “Independence” label, and the meaning of the national flag is explained at great length. 
  
The last section of the exhibition is similarly celebratory, this time about Slovenia joining the European Union in 2004, the eurozone in 2007 and the Schengen area in 2008. Some of the exhibits here are a little bizarre – like a briefcase behind glass (apparently the case used by a Slovenian politician in the EU negotiations) or a pair of old mobile phones (which now look rather ancient).
   
Back downstairs I also went to see the temporary exhibition. At the time of my visit this was called “Coming Home” and featured a range of personal, often very touching stories of people who returned home from wherever their destiny in the two world wars had taken them. 
  
All in all I found this museum very engaging, informative and well laid out. It is more artefact-focused, and doesn't overload visitors with too much multimedia elements, but it doesn't feel old-fashioned or stuffy at all either. On the contrary, it is very modern in its design, occasionally a little forced in that respect perhaps (that blue-lit Yugoslavia-break-up room), but on balance just right. And the fact that the museum caters for foreign visitors so well is especially laudable. Highly recommended.
  
  
Location: on the eastern edge of the huge Tivoli park just west of Ljubljana's cosy city centre, less than a mile (1.4 km) from the Old Town and Triple Bridge. Address: Celovška cesta 23. 
  
Google maps locator: [46.0591, 14.4954]
  
  
Access and costs: fairly easy to get to, very reasonably priced.  
  
Details: The museum is only a 15-20 minute walk from the very centre of Ljubljana's Old Town. From the square at the northern end of the famous Triple Bridge walk west along Čopova ulica and then Cankarjeva cesta and past the Modern Art Museum. Use the underpass  under the big ring road (Bleiweisova cesta) and the railway line to get into Tivoli park. Then turn right and head straight north until you come to a cluster of clay tennis courts – to the left of these you'll see the pale pink façade of the museum building. 
  
If coming by car, you can leave your vehicle at the large car park parallel to Celovška cesta. There's another, even larger car park just to the south opposite the huge Union brewery.
  
Alternatively you could also get there by bus (line 1 or 3), e.g. from Ajdovščina in the city centre to the Tivoli stop by the car park. 
  
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (in July and August open late till 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays); closed Mondays and on public holidays.
  
Admission: 3.50 EUR (children 2.50, various further concessions apply); free every first Sunday of the month.
  
  
Time required: between one and two hours. 
  
  
Combinations with other dark destinations: Ljubljana allows itself the luxury of having two museums about Slovenia's history, the other one being located at the Castle
  
Out of the two, the one at the Castle may have a somewhat wider scope (also covering older periods of history, if only very briefly) but it is inferior to the Contemporary History Museum in terms of actual original artefacts on display, but instead relies more on multimedia elements. Real history buffs may well want to see both and compare for themselves. But if you have time for only one of these two, then rather give the one at the Castle a miss … unless you're visiting the Castle anyway, in which case you can just as well have a quick look at its museums too, as the admission ticket is inclusive of all parts of the Castle. 
  
  
Combinations with non-dark destinations: The museum is housed in a splendid 18th century mansion which itself is worth a look on the outside too. 
  
The location on the edge of Tivoli makes this park the perfect combination in the immediate vicinity. Tivoli is by far Ljubljana's largest park, recreational area and a nature reserve, all in one. In fact, given the small size of the city, Tivoli feels almost overgenerously expansive. In addition to its lawns and forested bits it also houses various play areas, Ljubljana's zoo and a few further cultural institutions such as the Centre of Graphic Arts. 
  
For more see under Ljubljana in general.  
  
  
   
  • CHM 01 - museum buildingCHM 01 - museum building
  • CHM 02 - vintage car parked outsideCHM 02 - vintage car parked outside
  • CHM 03 - steps of historyCHM 03 - steps of history
  • CHM 04 - upstairsCHM 04 - upstairs
  • CHM 05 - suspended casesCHM 05 - suspended cases
  • CHM 06 - First World WarCHM 06 - First World War
  • CHM 07 - WWI glorificationCHM 07 - WWI glorification
  • CHM 08 - SSCHM 08 - SS
  • CHM 09 - HolocaustCHM 09 - Holocaust
  • CHM 10 - concentration camp playing cardsCHM 10 - concentration camp playing cards
  • CHM 11 - partisansCHM 11 - partisans
  • CHM 12 - arriving at socialismCHM 12 - arriving at socialism
  • CHM 13 - Lenin lurking in the shadowCHM 13 - Lenin lurking in the shadow
  • CHM 14 - Stalin lurking in the shadowCHM 14 - Stalin lurking in the shadow
  • CHM 15 - Slovenian Yugoslav Socialist Republic and TitoCHM 15 - Slovenian Yugoslav Socialist Republic and Tito
  • CHM 16 - socialism-era produceCHM 16 - socialism-era produce
  • CHM 17 - milk price 1956CHM 17 - milk price 1956
  • CHM 18 - milk price 1986CHM 18 - milk price 1986
  • CHM 19 - steps towards independenceCHM 19 - steps towards independence
  • CHM 20 - cheers to independenceCHM 20 - cheers to independence
  • CHM 21 - relics from the short 10-day war for independenceCHM 21 - relics from the short 10-day war for independence
  • CHM 22 - vintage mobile phonesCHM 22 - vintage mobile phones
  • CHM 23 - main hall ceilingCHM 23 - main hall ceiling
  • CHM 24 - temporary extra exhibitionCHM 24 - temporary extra exhibition
  
  
  
  
  

© dark-tourism.com, Peter Hohenhaus 2010-2019

Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.
More information Ok