Community project of safeguarding the living culture of Rovinj/Rovigno: the Batana Ecomuseum

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Selected in 2016 on the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices

© Ecomuseum Batana, 2014

A batana is a type of traditional fishing boat found in Rovinj, Croatia. Important to the town’s trade and heritage, with craftsmanship methods handed down by families, it became scarce with the popularity of industrial models until 2004 when local enthusiasts started an association to help safeguard it and its associated practices (an old dialect and traditional songs). The not-for-profit House of Batana, with the support of the municipality, the Heritage Museum of the City of Rovinj, Rovinj Historic Research Centre, the Italian Community of Rovinj and an eco-museology expert created the Batana Ecomuseum to raise public awareness and provide training on practices linked to the batana. It features a permanent exhibition showcasing how the batana is built and fishing equipment is made, as well as the variety of fishing activities conducted; runs workshops on constructing the boat, also available for shipbuilders; publishes expert material; hosts regattas encouraging involvement from young people; has a shipyard for building and repairing the boats that are now also used for guided tours; and cooperates on a national and international level, taking part in festivals, regattas and roundtable discussions to highlight the batana’s role in traditional vessel communities and to help safeguard maritime heritage.

History and tradition: batana, the unique local traditional wooden boat has always been the Rovinj's symbol and its bow has always led the 'Batana Ecomuseum' in the right direction
Documentation and research: the ground floor of the 'House of Batana' hosting the documentation center. The interactive and multimedia permanent exhibition presents batana's tangible and intangible heritage. Regular research is conducted on various aspects of this heritage
Know-how: a shipbuilder and his assistant build a batana. During summer batanas are built and repaired on the 'Little Shipyard', one of the Ecomuseum's interpretative components presenting the process of batana's construction thus including it into today's way of life
Continuity of tradition: how narrow is the Bitalieme Street (today Vodnjanska) when a batana is passing through! Members of the 'House of Batana' are carrying batana 'oun rigno' from the workhouse to the pier to be launched into the sea
Promotion of tradition: the traditional launch of a batana from the Rovinj's waterfront 'Little Pier' is watched by numerous citizens, visitors and members of the Ecomuseum
Living tradition: one of the oldest way of fishing with spear using batana boat and light is today still a part of everyday life, as well as many other traditions that are promoted through the Ecomuseum
Socializing: 'Spacio Matika', one of the few old preserved canteens of Rovinj integrated into the Ecomuseum, keeping vital the Ecomuseum’s concept of empowering local community who, after the batana ride, enjoy with their visitors in traditional singing, food and wine
Education and transmission: participants of the children's boatbuilding workshop at 'Little Pier' complete the construction of a little batana which earns them a special recognition. Besides workshops, other local traditions are also transmitted directly to the children in other ways
Viability: the Ecomuseum regularly organizes the international Rovinj regatta for traditional boats with vela al terzo (lugsail) and Latin sails of the upper Adriatic. The regatta is an opportunity to motivate and teach younger generations how to sail with batana
International cooperation and exchange of experience: batana 'Calsanta' and other boats at the 2008 Festival of Sea and Seamen in Brest. The Ecomuseum is very active in participating on international events thus broadening its network and fostering intercultural dialogue