Hrvatski pomorski muzej Split

The Croatian Maritime Museum

The Croatian Maritime Museum was founded by Split city council in 1997. Its rich and extensive historic collections were drawn from the Split Maritime Museum, founded in 1925, and the Military Maritime Museum founded in 1962, and several associated maritime heritage collections including marine archaeological finds and artefacts from Brodosplit Museum situated in Split’s shipyard.

The museum researches, acquires, archives and exhibits artefacts and documents relating to the maritime heritage of the Adriatic coast from prehistory to modern times. It is situated in the 17th-century Gripe Fortress – the only fully preserved fortified building in Split.

The fortress courtyard provides an exhibition space for the larger exhibits in the museum collection. These include the vessel ‘Bakar’, the bow of which dominates the courtyard, and ‘Perina’, a traditional Dalmatian ‘gajeta’, or fishing boat, and one of the oldest surviving vessels on the east Adriatic coast. Built in 1857, it represents centuries of local sailing knowledge and tradition and is one of seven important historic vessels on display.

Inside the museum, the Merchant Maritime Exhibition traces the development of sailing ships from Classical times through to the age of steam. The exhibition begins with an archaeological marvel – a huge ceramic container, or ‘pithos’, dating from around the 1st/2nd century, originally used for storing live fish before sale and consumption. The antique anchors and amphorae that follow are mostly from ancient shipwrecks. The development of vessels and navigation equipment unfolds through a wide range of exhibits such as model ships and images of Dubrovnik’s and Boka’s sailing boats, as well as the other vessels from the Dalmatian area. Especially impressive are figureheads taken from 19th century ships from the island of Korčula. The everyday life of Croatian fishermen is illustrated with the story of the fishing tradition on the Adriatic, and includes exhibits on the coral trade, sponge aquaculture, fish canning factories, as well as fishermen at work and leisure.

The Merchant Maritime Exhibition concludes in steam ship gallery. Models of steamboats and boat artefacts recall the first tourist steamboat excursions, before the advent of the diesel engine. An extremely valuable collection of ships’ engines is exhibited in the same gallery, including the notable and important Croatian ship engines built in Split’s ‘Rossi’ workshop at the beginning of 20th century.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

The gallery dedicated to Maritime Warcraft commemorates battles that have taken place on the Adriatic from Classical times to the end of the 20th century. Illyrian liburna, Roman birema, the Omiš pirate ship, the Hvar galley ‘Saint Jerolim’ from the Battle of Lepanto that took place in 1571 are among the exhibited models. Crucial battles such as ‘Vis combat’ in 1866 are represented by original artefacts from the time. The Austro-Hungarian period to World War I is represented by many valuable exhibits and paintings such as the work of maritime painter Alexander Kircher.

World War I and World War II are represented by a number of rare and valuable artefacts, with a special place dedicated to the exhibits from the navy battles that took place in 1991 as part of the Croatian War of Independence (1990-1995). The final section of the gallery includes a unique collection of torpedoes; a weapon invented by the Croat officer Ivan Lupis (1813-1875), and made by the British engineer Robert Whitehead in Rijeka. The Museum is proud to have one of the oldest torpedos in the world built in 1866. The collection of torpedoes is one of the most valuable exhibits of the Museum.