Little engines that can: Zagreb's model train museum
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, July 20, 2024

Little engines that can: Zagreb's model train museum
Visitors looks at a model train layout, as part of the collections at the Backo Mini Train museum in Zagreb. Denis LOVROVIC / AFP.

by Lajla Veselica

ZAGREB (AFP).- Soaring over mountain gorges, past snowy ski slopes and into bustling stations, the trains in Antun Urbic's minuscule landscape enthrall visitors to his model rail museum in Zagreb.

The Backo Mini Express Museum, the largest of its kind in southeastern Europe, boasts more than a kilometre (half a mile) of tiny tracks traversing picturesque rural villages and city squares wrought in extraordinary detail.

More than 2,500 figurines including mountaineers, wedding guests, police, construction workers and commuters populate the scenes.

Urbic, who opened the museum in 2015, fell in love with trains 60 years ago when his father gave him a model set.

"It was the only toy that moved by itself," said the 66-year-old who goes by the nickname Backo.

He started building sets in the attic of his Zagreb home before moving to a bigger space where he invited friends over to model with him.

"It began as a hobby," he told AFP.

After spending four years piecing together a large-scale model, he opened the museum to the public.

Since then, the site has attracted 25,000 people a year, including model train enthusiasts from the United States, Australia and India.

The museum reopened in May after closing for nearly three months under Croatia's coronavirus lockdown.

"We could hardly wait to come here again," said Davorin Bozic, a regular accompanied by his three enthusiastic children.

Eight-year-old Jan Zelic's favourite detail is in a cemetery where a hand sticks out from a grave.

"It's really fun," he said.

His father Sasa, a 38-year-old economist, praised the "precise mechanics and imagination needed to construct all this. I was particularly impressed with the ski slope."

The scene features miniature skiers zig-zagging down a slalom run inspired by the one on nearby Medvednica, which hosts the men's and women's World Cup.

It is the only model museum in Europe with skiers actually descending a mountainside instead of being glued to the slopes, according to Urbic.

Among them are two figurines of Croatian skiing stars -- siblings Ivica and Janica Kostelic -- now retired.

The latter is depicted skiing with only one pole as she famously did after dropping the other during a 2006 World Cup race when she won bronze.

"Everyone perceives this as a children's game but it is far from that," said Urbic's associate Zvonko Cebalo.

"There is a concentration of knowledge -- electronic, electric, IT, robotic."

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

June 13, 2020

Faith Ringgold will keep fighting back

British Airways to sell art as it struggles with virus impact

Sotheby's announces two online auctions offering works from some of the world's leading Old Masters dealers

Signs at Beatles pilgrimage site defaced in racism row

National Portrait Gallery to go ahead with scheduled closure as works begin on Inspiring People redevelopment

Major solo show of Kati Heck's work opens at Kunstmuseum Den Haag

Dorotheum announces Contemporary Week with modern and contemporary art, wristwatches and pocket watches

Christie's to offer works created during quarantine to benefit amfAR's fight against COVID-19

Stellar results for Bonhams Modern & Contemporary Middle Eastern Art sale

The Oscars will add a diversity requirement for eligibility

Casey Kaplan now representing Igshaan Adams

Internet Archive will end its program for free e-books

Christie's announces global handbags sale calendar

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka exhibits performances from home

In DR Congo, King Leopold's statue stoic as protests rage elsewhere

Chaos reigns over succession at troubled Paris Opera

Le Sidaner's La balustrade, Londres leads Heritage Fine European Art auction above estimates by 50.3%

'Spring' Dollar to shine at Heritage Auctions event

When the dancers have to miss the last dance

'Life During Wartime: Art in the Age of Coronavirus' online exhibition opens

The work diary of Gray Malin, locked-down 'getaway' photographer

Neither big nor small, music ensembles struggle in a pandemic

Little engines that can: Zagreb's model train museum

The Most Famous Casino Cheaters

Music Festivals and Art: It's More Than Music Now

How to Kick Start an Independent Art Gallery from Scratch

Find doppelganger of your favorite actor or actress through this amazing free tool

Why are poly water tanks good for the environment?

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful