Breadcrumb

Asset Publisher

Take a walk with Nikola Tesla in Karlovac

Published on 06/08/2021 (last modified 06/08/2021)

Did you know that famous scientist Nikola Tesla lived in Karlovac for 3 years while he was finishing high school? This fact, along with interesting stories about one bad grade in math, how science once saved him from drowning in river Korana, or how he was destined to follow his father’s footsteps to become a priest – knows Boris Šušnjar, local tour guide who takes you on a walk through Karlovac as a real-life Nikola Tesla. While many nations and places claim a right to Tesla, people of Karlovac think that they have the greatest right of them all, because he got his last official diploma in Karlovac Gymnasium, although he later studied in Prague and Graz, and got honorary doctorates in Paris, Zagreb and Graz. Because of all that, Šušnjar thinks that it would be really a shame not to tell his story this way, from a concrete character, since people are always delighted to see Nikola Tesla on the streets of Karlovac and hear some lesser-known facts and stories from his early life.

“I'm going to show everyone that I took a picture with Nikola Tesla”, this is the line that Boris Šušnjar, a tour guide from Karlovac, hears all the time. That’s because he often gets in the character of Nikola Tesla, one of the most famous scientists of all time, and tells interesting facts and stories about his early life and about his time in Karlovac.

Life and anecdotes in Karlovac

- After finishing first years of high school in Gospić, I came to Karlovac for a simple reason, because my aunt Stanka lived here, so I settled with her for the next 3 years of my life. Karlovac Gymnasium was already known as a quality institution, and I was destined to follow the footsteps of my father Milutin, who was a priest, so that fate awaited me. But by coincidence, I was interested in some other things, that is, technology and especially electricity, so that my priesthood vocation never happened – explains Boris Šušnjar as a real-life Nikola Tesla, adding the interesting fact that this scientist once had a really bad grade in Karlovac Gymnasium, all due to illness.

Another interesting anecdote, while living in Karlovac, is that Nikola Tesla almost drowned in river Korana, but science saved his life. On one occasion he fell down a waterfall, and how and as he was running out of air, the force of water pressed him to the bottom. But then he remembered his physics teacher's lesson, about the movement of liquids and how liquid can't fall vertically due to inertia. It occurred to him that there must be an air pocket somewhere, so he dived with my nose up against the wall - and inhaled. Luckily, he remembered correctly and survived, concluding that professors thought him physics very well.

Claiming a right on Nikola Tesla

- Many claim a right to Tesla: Americans, Croatia, Serbia... Everyone would like for Tesla to be theirs. So we, the people of Karlovac, flatter ourselves that we have the greatest right of them all, because he was our student, he stayed in Karlovac for 3 years, he was educated here, and although we know that he later studied in Prague and Graz, his only diploma, let's say the final one, is a diploma from Karlovac Gymnasium. He later received honorary doctorates in Paris, Zagreb and Graz, but we only count what he has finished – says Šušnjar, concluding Tesla’s story is so unusual, so full of important details and important lessons, from which we can all learn.

“It would be really a shame not to tell his story, in this very concrete way, to get in the costume of Nikola Tesla character”, concluded Šušnjar, adding that people are always delighted to see Nikola Tesla on the streets of Karlovac and hear some lesser-known facts and stories from his early life.