Old Vessels Turned into Floating Museums in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac/Lidija Kiseljak/zupan.hr writes on the 21st of August, 2020, “Mala Barka 2: The preservation of the maritime heritage of the northern Adriatic” is a project from Primorje-Gorski Kotar County with which they entered the finals of the selection for the best EU county project within the Contribution to cross-border cooperation category. The project is part of the Interreg V-A Slovenia – Croatia 2014 – 2020 cooperation programme and relates to the location of the border area that includes Kvarner and Istria, as well as the Slovenian Littoral just across the border.

The project lasted from the 1st of October 2016 to the 31st of March 2019. The project holder itself is Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and the partners are the Kvarner Tourist Board, the Maritime and Historical Museum of the Croatian Littoral of Rijeka, the Association and Ecomuseum “House of Batana” Rovinj – Associazione Ecomuseo “Casa della batana” Rovigno, the Municipality of Izola – Comune di Isola, the Izola Tourist Association – Ente per il turismo Isola, the Municipality of Piran – Comune di Pirano and Maritime Museum – Museo del mare “Sergej Masera” Piran – Pirano.

The value of the project stands at an enormous 2,124,018.17 euros, of which the amount of 1,805,415.44 euros is covered by the European Regional Development Fund. The financial part related to Primorje-Gorski Kotar County stood at 540,141.41 euros and the amount of 459,120.20 euros was co-financed from the European Regional Development Fund.

Maritime heritage is a great and untapped tourist potential of the northern Adriatic and unfortunately the urbanisation and modernisation of society are erasing the traditional maritime heritage of this area, which could largely disappear irretrievably.

”Our motive, but also our challenge, was how we can find a way to permanently protect and promote the valuable and rich maritime heritage of Kvarner and this part of the Adriatic. Therefore, the main goal of the project is the preservation, protection, promotion and development of the maritime heritage of the border area through tourist valorisation and based on the principles of sustainable tourism. This project sought to maximally protect the existing tangible and intangible maritime heritage throughout the coastal part of the border area and to use it systematically through a series of measures (the setting up of interpretation centres, holding educational and demonstration events, the establishment of a virtual museum, etc)” they say from Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.

The Mala barka (Little boat) project started back in 2015 and continued with “Mala barka 2”.

”We’ve upgraded our maritime network by creating small floating ”open-air museums” – restored traditional wooden boats and interpretation centres in Krk and Losinj. The biggest attraction is the floating Interpretation Centre for Maritime Heritage of the Island of Losinj, the Nerezinac camp. We also included experts in maritime heritage in this project.

Furthermore, we invited skilled masters of traditional construction who participated in the renovation processes, and passed on their knowledge to younger generations through the Academy of Maritime Crafts and Skills. They also joined the traditional interpretation events and presented their knowledge and skills to visitors and tourists. We haven’t forgotten to highlight other important forms of maritime heritage, such as old ports, museums, old maritime factories, craft workshops and other smaller maritime elements. Our goal was to make it visible and recognisable,” they say from Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.

Furthermore, a strong promotional campaign was conducted based on many traditional events, including traditional small boat regattas, exhibitions of restored old wooden boats, etc. Cross-border tourism itineraries were also developed in the name of this prokect. A virtual museum was created, which enables the availability of the entire tangible and intangible maritime heritage to all groups of society. The practice was even transferred to Italy as part of the current implementation of the Arca Adriatica project, which is implemented within the Interreg Italy-Croatia Cooperation Programme 2014-2020.

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