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About the Museum

    The Museum of Madness is dedicated to the study, preservation and presentation of the history of Castle Cmurek by Trate, which is one of the oldest and largest castles in Slovenia.

    The Museum is supported by the joint efforts of local residents from both the Slovenian and the Austrian sides of the Mura River, which together we view as a single heritage community.

    Our areas of interest include the fields of paleontology, archaeology, history, architecture, visual arts, music, literature, culture, the natural environment and cross-border collaboration.

    We have established a locally-based cross-border center open to the world.

    We are continuously developing a participatory museum that presents a problematic heritage.

    We create spaces of memory and respect.


The Museum of Madness strives to create a comprehensive representation of the phenomenon of madness that will be accessible and relevant to individuals and groups at both the professional and layperson levels, with the ultimate goal of broadening the concept, bringing it up to date, removing tabus, and detaching it from the process of institutionalisation. We work closely with Slovenian organisations in this field as well as similar organisations and institutions across Europe and worldwide.


Through the Museum of Madness we strive to preserve and revitalise Castle Cmurek, the building in which the State Asylum for the Mentally and Neurologically Ill at Hrastovec – Trate operated for decades, thus contributing, we hope, to the ongoing process of de-institutionalising mental illness in Slovenia.


In line with our mission, the Museum of Madness aims to create a full-spectrum cultural, professional, social and tourist centre. We aim to revive the cultural and natural heritage of the surroundings of Castle Cmurek, incentivize the potential of the local community, and integrate our work into the wider region, regardless of the national border nearby. In doing so, we respect the principles of sustainable development and care for the environment.



The earliest mention of Castle Crumb dates to the 12th century. The Styrian Stubenberg family governed the castle from 1401 to 1931.


In the brief period between the First and Second World Wars the owner of the castle was Anton Mally. Following World War II the Yugoslav government nationalized the castle and established an Asylum for the Mentally and Neurologically Ill.


In 2004 the government closed the asylum on the premise that such institutions are inhumane.  This was the first such facility that the Slovene government closed as part of a larger program of deinstitutionalization.  We have repurposed it as a place of memory.

Who we are?

dr. Sonja Bezjak, director,

dr. Reinhard Padinger, secretary,

Darja Farasin, president of the council,

Elias Dorner,

Petra Leschanz,

Boris Bezjak,

Jože Žižek,

Monika Bezjak,

Andreja Divjak,


Metka Lampret, head of the reading club

Odriv, Metka Kitel, s.p., accountant



Darja Farasin, president

dr. Igor Sapač, member

dr. Vito Flaker, member

Elias Dorner, member

​​In the Museum of Madness we are all volunteers.

Awards and acknowledgements

Moja Mura Alliance

Darja Farasin, Boris Bezjak and Sonja Bezjak for cooperation for preservation of a free-flowing Mura river

Zarja magazine, Woman of the Year nomination

dr. Sonja Bezjak, director of the Museum of Madness, 2018

Recognition by local community Velka

The Museum of Madness institute, 2016

Recognition by KUD Gabrijel Kolbič for cooperation

The Museum of Madness institute, 2016

Recognition by Fishery Association of Slovenia

Boris Bezjak, for the Mysterious World of the Mura river exhibition, 2014