We don’t visit Serbia and therefore don’t see the Nikola Tesla Museum located in Belgrade, but we hear Tesla’s name often on our trip to Croatia. Was he a Serb or a Croat? Both claim him. Ethnically a Serb, Tesla was born in the village of Smiljan in the Lika region of current Croatia. All of the ex-Yugoslav countries are proud of this native son. Justifiably so.
In Slovenia, we walk down the historic Vegova ulica, past the Electrical and Computer Technical School and Gymnasium Ljublijana. Our guide Borut tells us “Tesla spoke here.”
A walk through Zagreb’s underground museum in the Grič Tunnel, includes one side branch dedicated to Tesla.
More than 120 streets in Croatia alone are named after Tesla; plaques and monuments abound throughout the region. During a tour of Zagreb, our city guide stops in front of a building to tell us that the plaque honors Nikola Tesla who returned to Europe to speak at that location in 1892.
Google “Tesla” and you will get many pages about Elon Musk’s electric car company, one of many things named after the inventor. But if you want to know more about the accomplishments of Tesla the man, read the plaudits posted at The Tesla Memorial Society, or his Wikipedia biography with its list of memorials. He may have gone off the rails a bit toward the end of his life in New York City, but the genius of the man is without question. All of the Serbian-Croatian peoples have reason to be proud.
Tesla emigrated to the United States in 1884. To better understand Tesla’s influence in the expanding knowledge of electricity at that time, read Empires of Light by Jill Jonnes. The book is an interesting reveal of late nineteenth century United States.
Date of travel: October 2017. Tour: OAT’s Hidden Gems of the Dalmatian Coast