The Museum of the Homeland War Karlovac – Turanj is a historical museum testifying to the birth of modern Republic of Croatia and the struggle for independence in the Homeland War in the Karlovac region.
The Museum is located on the historical site of Križanić – Turanj, which has been on the list of cultural goods of the Republic of Croatia since 2013. Since the construction of the wooden watch tower turan in 1582, which guarded with its military crew of border guards the southern entrances to the Karlovac fort from Ottoman conquerors, Turanj had been an outpost, the last line of defense of the city of Karlovac. In the Homeland War of 1991 – 1995, Turanj was a strategically important point in the city’s defense, the place where the attempt to conquer the city and cut Croatia in two was thwarted. Nowadays, Turanj is a symbol of victory, a witness to the struggle for free and independent Croatia, and a lasting memorial to the heroes of the Croatian Army who defended Karlovac and Croatia in Turanj.
The rich military history of the city of Karlovac is evidenced by the remnants of the buildings of Austrian military architecture preserved in the complex, and the renovated building nicknamed Hotel California by the defenders, is home to modern museum premises. The idea of establishing a museum on this site was initiated by retired Colonel Dubravko Halovanić, who also collected the first large specimens of military technology that were placed on this location prior to the museum opening.
The architectural design of the California building preserves its memorial value, and the conserved damaged walls, encased in a glass envelope, have kept their authentic appearance, thus assuming a symbolic value of the testimonial of war destruction, while the inner premises have been designed to suit the needs of a modern museum.
The three floors of the building harmoniously hold all of the museum content. The ground floor is home to the Memorial Room of the Fallen Croatian Defenders of the Homeland War, and the museum souvenir shop. The Karlovac 1991 – 1995 permanent exhibition has been set up on the first floor, while the second floor holds a multi-purpose hall occasionally also used for temporary exhibitions, as well as a library with a reading room.
The Museum is home to a unique permanent display, composed of the indoor and outdoor part of the “Karlovac 1991 – 1995” exhibition. This permanent exhibition presents contemporary Croatian history featuring the intertwining topics of the defense of the city of Karlovac and of civilian life during the Homeland War.
The collection items at the Department of Contemporary History since the Creation of the Republic of Croatia in 1990 are presented in the historical environment from which they originate, which highlights their historical and social significance.
The exhibition’s contemporary, ambiance and interactive design, with over 400 original museum artifacts, as well as almost 4 hours of multimedia content, have created a space with an impressive atmosphere.
The Museum is focused on affirming and refining the cultural identity of the community, actively participating in the city’s cultural life, and supporting multidisciplinary cooperation.
The permanent display and programs of the Museum of the Homeland War Karlovac – Turanj promote the fundamental values of the Homeland War, the idea of patriotism and humanism.
In 2021, as part of the 6th International Historic Cities Congress, the museum received the Plautilla international cultural tourism award granted by an expert jury, and in 2020 it was nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award 2021 of the European Museum Forum.