The World’s Largest Collection of Shells in Makarska

Croatia has beautiful beaches, a pristine sea, and a unique underwater world. For centuries, locals have been interested in the treasures that the sea has to offer. Shells, in particular.

Group of different sea shells stock photo
Photo: iStock.com / Knaupe

While you’re at the seaside, have you ever thought that somewhere in the world, there might be a museum with a collection of several thousand unique shells from different parts of the world? Yes, such a place really exists. It is located in sunny Croatia. The Malacological Museum in Makarska is believed to have the world’s largest exhibition of shells of mollusks and crustaceans. All of the museum’s shells were brought from different seas around the world, and their collection grows yearly.

Wonders from the world’s seas

The Malacological Museum was established in 1963 at the Monastery of the Franciscan Fathers. It is one of the most valuable museum institutions not only in Makarska but in the whole country. It has more than 3,000 specimens of various shells.

The museum’s founder was the humble son of a local sailor who, from an early age, was fascinated by the sea and its gifts. He sought out interesting shells along the coast and Croatian islands. This is how the initial collection of shells was created. It became larger and more substantial as the years passed. With the help of the city’s fishermen and sailors, the collection grew quickly with new specimens.

Over time, shells from all over the world began to join the Croatian collection. Most of the museum’s exhibit consists of shells of sea snails and mussels, and a slightly smaller collection consists of sea corals. At the museum’s exhibition, you will see shells from Hawaii, the Caribbean, California, Oceania, Japan, China, Australia, Madagascar, Tanzania, and many other parts of the world. Such an impressive exhibition makes one’s head spin.

Not only shells

The museum also has a collection of fossils that begs for detailed attention. This is because the fossil collection includes fossils of ammonites and rudites, mostly from Dalmatia. But that’s not all. After leaving the museum building, be sure to look around. On the monastery grounds, you will also see a collection of living plants from the area of the Biokovo mountain massif located in the central part of the Dalmatian coast. Walking among the greenery and colorful flowers, for a moment, you can feel like you are in an enchanted garden. The scents of the plants put a person in a pleasant mood and are a feast for the eyes.

Visitors are most welcome

To date, the museum has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors and people interested in malacology. Every year tourists who have come to relax in the charming Makarska and its surroundings are very eager to visit. The museum also hosts scientific presentations, training courses, and educational tours. When planning a visit to the museum, be sure to ask for a guide. They will enthusiastically tell you about the museum’s collection and tell you a story about the sea and its unique inhabitants. After you have visited the museum, also go to the center of the town.

Makarska is a trendy summer resort in Croatia. No wonder, as it is a place full of exciting attractions. Here you will find many beautiful beaches with crystal clear sea, a picturesque promenade ideal for long walks, or the magnificent St. Peter’s peninsula from where you can enjoy picturesque views of the Adriatic Sea.

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