Pomegranate Pharmacy Museum

Those who want to embrace a bit of culture and history alongside Oradea's vibrant nightlife should visit the city's Pharmacy Museum, the Pomegranate, located at 33 Main Street (CaleaRepublicii).

The furnished rooms of the museum are full of relics of Oradea's pharmacy history, various old apothecary jars, supplies, and special storage vessels. The building, which once served as a hospital and later a pharmacy, belonged to the local branch ofBrothers Hospitaller of Saint John of God, therefore it has religious significance too(Brothers Hospitaller of Saint John of God being the most significant male monastic nursing order). The Pharmacy Museum is the result of a collaboration between the church, the city council, and the civic sector. It was a private collection before becoming a museum in May 2019.

The furniture is the original one of the pharmacies, which has been carefully restored. However, it is not only the antique furniture that bears witness to the past, a magnificent ceiling fresco has also been successfully restored from the ravages of time. The more than 1,500 pieces of art are displayed on the shelves of the vast apothecary cabinets, reaching almost to the ceiling. Being part of a building that served as a pharmacy, the rooms (only two) are not very spacious, but at least you cannot get lost. It is ideal if you do not have the time to visit a larger museum. Besides the exhibits, of course, there are short descriptions of the objects to familiarise the visitors with the pharmaceutical instruments no longer in use.Spanning almost 250 years, the exhibition demonstrates how medicine was practiced before the digital age when scales were used to measure the proportions of ingredients, and recipes were not scanned into a computer using barcodes.

For me, smaller museums, like the Pharmacy Museum have always been more enticing than large exhibitions. On the one hand, they usually present a small part of local history and culture, and on the other, I try to seek out more 'cosy' museums like this. In my experience, they are often much more exciting to explore than many of the largerones. It was very interesting to see how different not only medicine but also the role and operation of pharmacies were 100 or even 50 years ago.

By Antal Biriki

Photos: Tamás Petrus and Tamás Orosz

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