If I said to someone I was looking at a few Ferrari, Porsche, and Fiats today, the first thing they’d think was fast cars. In fact I was at The Traktor Story Museum, Poreč, Croatia. A tractor museum with more than meets the eye. Today we travelled from Pula/Pola to Poreč after seeing a sign advertising the museum and Baredine Cave. When we arrived Michele settled into the cafe at the caves with a book while I walked over to the Traktor Story Museum. She thought it’d be all machinery which isn’t her thing, but she really missed out on some great displays about families and communities. Entry to the Traktor Story was only 25 HrK about $5 Aud. So very reasonably priced.
I went to the Traktor Story Museum expecting the usual dusty display of farm machinery only to to find The Traktor Story is not just about tractors. The Traktor Story is a journey which starts beyond the gates. In the fields surrounding the museum is where the real story begins. The wheat fields, olive groves and vineyards. It’s story of a little village, its first tractor, the past and the present.
Walking up the road to the Traktor Story past a little donkey it’s easy to forget the part this humble animal had in the story. Well just inside the gate a low walled enclosure with a post in the centre looks pretty out of place. This paved enclosure, like many others throughout the region was used for over two millennia to thresh grain. The sheafs of wheat were placed inside the enclosure and then donkeys or cattle were tied to the post. Then the animals were driven around in circles. As they walked they broke the sheafs and the grain separated from the straw, falling to the bottom. Then using baskets and sieves the seed was separated from the chaff.
With industrialisation the poor old donkey was out of a job and the enclosure became outdoor seating.
The story boards around the museum tell the story of the industrialisation of farming with the development of harvesters, threshers, steam engines and of course the tractor. On display are lots of different sized threshers from small hand powered to the big machine powered versions.
The star of the Traktor Story is the nearby village of Kosinožići’s first ever tractor, a 1923 Fordson F which is proudly on display. It was used up until 1971 by the Žiža family. Around the tractor story boards and photos of it in action powering threshers really take you back in time. Many generations of the same family using this one little tractor. Wow, if this tractor could talk what a tale it would tell.
All up there’s 50 or so tractors from the surrounding areas on display. They range in power from a Ukrainian 1958 MTZ-5 delivering 50 Horsepower down to a 1937 Kramer K12 with only 12 HP.
There’s lots of lovely old tractors from the 30’s through to the 60’s. Some instantly recognisable brands like Lanz, Fiat, Deutz, McCormick, Farmall, Hanomag, and of course Fordson. There’s also brands like Ferrarri, Porshe, Steyr, Oto Melara and MAN. Not names some people would instantly associate with tractors but at the tractor story these are just some of the names on display. For the big machine enthusiasts there’s even a few combine harvesters on display.
Also on display is an old steam engine which used to power the mill at Poreč at the beginning of the last century.
In the Konobin Gallery which is part of The Traktor Story the story of three main foods, olive oil, bread, and wine important to the Mediterranean is told. The gallery has all sorts of displays, tools, photos which weave a fascinating tale. I was really impressed with some of the old film of harvesting using different machines. It’s quite a fascinating exhibition by itself. In the busier parts of the year they even open up the wine cellar so that people can sample the local products.
I was alone in the Traktor Story for well over an hour and if Michele wasn’t waiting for me I would’ve happily stayed longer. There was just so much to see.
As time was getting on I headed back to the cafe to check out the Baredine Caves (Baredine Jama-Grotto), but that’s another story.
With no crowds to compete with, off season really is the perfect time to be visiting Croatia.
PS Traktor Story Museum, Poreč, Croatia is the perfect place for children of all ages…..where else can they climb all over old tractors with no restrictions.