The tour of the House of the Pannonian Sea begins with an introductory presentation on the life on planet Earth and fossils – how they are preserved and what they tell us about the environment of the past, with emphasis on the flora and fauna of the Pannonian Sea
Tour of the House of the Pannonian Sea
The presentation ends with a game played on the sandy shore of the Pannonian Sea, on the interactive floor of the room. After the visitors have been introduced to the main theme of the exhibition, the actual tour of different stories about the Pannonian Sea during the Miocene Epoch begins in the second hall.
Exhibition and educational hall
The four walls of this hall feature a combination of interactive screens and real exhibits of fossils found on Papuk, which separately cover the sea floor, the coast and the land during the Miocene, as well as Papuk today. The first interactive screen emulates the position of Papuk, the transition of lakes and the sea and other events from 18 million years ago until today. In addition, by interacting with the visitor, the exhibition tells stories of things that used to swim in the Pannonian Sea, which is visible from the displayed fossils.
The former Pannonian Sea was once home to several different species of shark, where the largest extinct species was the 20-metre long megalodon, whales and dolphins of the Miocene, gilt-head and other fish found in the sea today. Under the sea surface, life thrived on the reefs in warm shallow sea, including numerous fossils of corals, moss animals and bivalves, as well as other reef inhabitants like crustaceans and the tropical surgeonfish. The seabed was home to sea urchins, snails and shells (real oysters), while sea monks, whose bones were found in the sediment of the Pannonian Sea, rested on the coast under the warm sun. The deposits also show that the river delta used to flow into the Pannonian Sea somewhere in the area of the present-day village of Vrhovci and that the Miocene rhinos and ancient elephants used to roam the land. The remains of fish, freshwater shells and leaves of plants characteristic of the period are also preserved in the lake sediments.
We tell the story of the botanically valuable area of Turjak
The story presented on interactive screens is completed with the presentation of Papuk today – what can be found today where once used to be the coast of the Pannonian Sea, simulating the view to the Meček mountain range or the mountains in Bosnia that, like Papuk, were islands in the Pannonian Sea during the Miocene. We tell the story about the botanically valuable area of Turjak today and the story about the snake-eyed skink, the smallest lizard in Croatia that inhabits the warm, southern ridges above Velika, as well as numerous other stories.
Suitable for all age groups
All presentations and courses are adjusted to different age groups, primarily students, but also to all adult visitors interested in learning various unknown facts from Papuk’s past.
The outdoor space is primarily intended for relaxation, but also for checking knowledge by going through a labyrinth with yes and no questions, accompanied with interesting sculptures and information panels.
Besides the green labyrinth, visitors can also see sculptures of rhinos, a symbolic representation of the actual size of the Carcharodon megalodon, the spiral of time and a meteorological map. After the educational part, children can enjoy playing in the playground or take a break on benches and around tables
Based on the fossils from the lake sediment discovered at Poljanska site and the analogy of living conditions with present-day plant species, the conclusion is that the climate patterns in the Papuk area at that time suggested a tropical to subtropical climate.
Vranić geological site is located on the southern slopes of Papuk. Numerous remains of fossilized vertebrates have been discovered within the sand deposits formed by the erosion of older, predominantly Paleozoic metamorphic rocks, as well as within Miocene deposits.