Breathtaking natural phenomenon carved by fresh cold clear water in karst landscape and protected as one of Croatian national parks, the Plitvice Lakes has established in past years as a must see in Croatia. Less known, but only hour and half drive away in the heart of the region Lika there is a village called Smiljan with its recently risen memorial center and museum dedicated to Nikola Tesla.

Maybe are the waterfalls of Plitvice the reason why Tesla found his overseas home and laboratory near Niagara Falls. It is hard to tell, but it is for sure that everyone who visits this region, becomes aware of the power of nature that can be sensed on the mountain tops of Velebit, dense woods, vast lowlands and of course electric Plitvice waterfalls.

The inventor, electrical engineer, physicist and before all one of the greatest visionaries of the humanity the Nikola Tesla was born on July 9/10 1856 in Smiljan near Gospic.

With this sentences below he describes where the way he looks at the world came from and give us a clue which bring us back again to his birth village and Lika:

“Although I have to thank to my mother’s influence on my inventiveness, exercises that my father gave me were very helpful. They contained a multitude of tasks, eg. guessing other people’s thoughts, detect various errors or expression, repeating long sentences or calculating mentally. These daily exercises that had strengthen my memory and reason, and in particular developed a critical thinking were undoubtedly very useful.

My mother came from one of the oldest families of this region, which also bore inventive wire. Both her father and her grandfather invented many supplies for domestic, agriculture and other purposes. Indeed she was a great and extremely capable woman, brave and stable, that vanquish the storms of her life and drew from them many experiences. […] My mother was a first-class inventor and would, I believe, achieve very much if only she was not so far from the modern life and many opportunities it offers. She invented and developed many devices. Weaving the beautiful patterns with threads that she spun herself. For that purpose she had sown seeds, cultivated plants and separated fibers from them. She worked tirelessly, from dawn until late at night, and much of the clothes we wore and the furniture that we had in the house – was the work of her hands. Once over sixty, her fingers were still so skilled to gum up  three knots on the eyelash.”

On the occasion of 150th birthday of Nikola Tesla, July 10 2006, City of Gospic driven by the desire to preserve the character and work of Nikola Tesla, officially opened Museum and Memorial Center “Nikola Tesla” in Smiljan. The museum is not just educational but fun. It consists of his birthplace home, St. Apostles Peter and Paul and storage building (barn) which have been carefully restored and made into a museum that shows off various models of his inventions, like Tesla Coils, an AC induction motor, a working Egg of Columbus used by Tesla during the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago to demonstrate the alternating current magnetic field as well as several exhibits, and a small research library.

As a testament of his inquiring mind from early childhood, a replica shed that existed during Tesla’s childhood, from which he jumped off the top holding an umbrella, has been separately reconstructed. During that jump he was hoping to experience flight, but he only learned about gravity.

Those looking at the future and wandering about what else Tesla had in stored could possibly be triggered by a working model of his turbine in a stream running through the property, and for new coming scientists there is a “hi-tech” children’s playground on the museum grounds.

For those who would rather leave sleepless nights and deep contemplations, Tesla was practicing throughout his creative life, to someone else, there is always nice walk, hike or bicycling through the woods and endless green landscapes. Not to forgot breathtaking views from the mounting tops on the islands of the Adriatic. After you will crave for Lika’s hearty meals and not avoidable schnapps for good circulation “rakija”.

After museum visit I affirmed my tendency towards the group of nature admires and got very motivated to have a nice meal. Nikola’s thinking head is still looking for a new proprietor.