Monumental librarie of Ivan Mazuranic

Villa Ruzic, set in it own lush Mediterranean gardens, is situated at Pecine on the south side of Susak in what is now the Croatian port of Rijeka.  The house was designed by  the architect David Bunetta in 1935 and completed in 1938.  Dr Viktor Ruzic, Snr., Ban (governor) of Croatia, Minister of Justice, lawyer and artist, built it as a family house. The Rijeka family built up the collection over the last century through their own efforts and their contacts with other cultural, art loving families.  They had the habit of re-cycling family belongings.  Once an object has fulfilled its purpose in one form, it would be re-created to serve some other function.The library of books were collected by Ivan Mazuranic and his brother, Antun.  Ivan Mazuranic, lawyer, poet of the Illyrian movement and story-teller, was also Ban of Croatia.

His brother Antun, principal of the Rijeka Gymnasium (grammar school), was also engaged in the arts ands  was co-author of the supplement to Gundulic's "Osman" as well as other writings by Ivan.  Matija Mazuranic, the first modern Croatian traveller writer and author of "View into Bosnia" also contributed to the creation of the library which was later added to by Vladimir Mazuranic, author of the first Croatian historical-legal dictionary.  Other important contributors were Zelimir Mazuranic and Ivana Brlic Mazuranic.  Ivana Mazuranic married the lawyer Vatroslav Brlic in Slavonski Brod where she built up her own library and archive. Her documents and family correspondence now form part of the main Mazuranic-Ruzic collection. There is also a separate Ivana Brlic Mazuranic archive in Slavonski Brod created from the Mazuranic collection in Jurjevska Ulica in Zagreb.  Part of these collections, as well as the library, archive and Brlic collection in Slavonski Brod (also a Croatian cultural monument) were inherited by Viktor Ruzic (grandson of Ivana Brlic Mazuranic) and can be found today at Villa Ruzic in Rijeka.

Ivan and Antun Mazuranic collected books, received them as presents or bought them.  These same books were the basis of their literary and scientific output.  When the supplement to Gundulic's epic, "Osman" was completed, the Montenegrin ruler, Petar Petrovic Njegos presented them with one of Gundulic's own manuscripts.  Whilst the dictionary to "Osman" was being drafted, the Mazuranices obtained many dictionaries; such as "Mikaglin", "Stulliev", "Della Bellin" and Bellosztenczev's "Gazophylacium".  During their work on early Croatian literature, Ivan and Antun Mazuranic collected examples of the early Dubrovnik writers and their publications.  When they were working on Glagolitic (an early Slavonic alphabet) manuscripts, they collected examples of glagolitic writing and were even given examples by priests from Krk.   Amongst these last, is the "Levakovicev Misal"  printed in glagolitic in Rome. 

Many of the valuable 16th and 17th century books were collected in order to preserve examples of Croatian publishing of the time.  However, the majority of the 10,000 books were published in 19th  century and encompass almost all important publications in Croatian from the time of the "Croatian National Awakening" to the beginning of the 20th century.  Prominent amongst these are periodicals such as "Danica Ilirska" and "Novine Horvatske", one of the oldest Croatian newspapers which came out as a bi-lingual publication in Zadar at the beginning of the 19th century under the title of "Kraglski Dalmatin", or "Il Regio Dalmata".  The Mazuranic-Brlic-Ruzic library includes  works by Ivan Mazuranic, Antun and Matija Mazuranic, works by Andrija Torkvata Brlic, Ignjata Alojzija Brlic and many editions of Ivana Brlic Mazuranic's  "Croatian tales of Long Ago", which was translated into 42 languages.

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