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Art and culture

Grue: Unique wooden cranes for boats

Grue are one of the most recognisable symbols of Umag’s fishing tradition. Each one is different. Each one has a unique structure, depending on the size of the boat and the building material available. Also, wooden grue can be seen only on the coastal stretch from Savudrija to Karigador and nowhere else in the world!
Five to six metres high wooden cranes represent a unique and reliable way of storing boats, developed exclusively on the coasts of Northwestern Istria. Locals perfected this skill to protect boats that did not have a mooring spot or a shelter them from gusts of wind along the shallow and rocky coast of Umag.
 The history of grue
The first wooden grue, erected in the early 20th century, were inspired by the steel cranes built by the Austro-Hungarian Maritime Administration near the lighthouses or in larger ports. The first steel crane in the area was installed by the Savudrija lighthouse crew. It served as a model for local fishermen to build simple wooden cranes from locally available acacia wood, which is solid and resistant to pests. Over time, two building styles developed – that of Savudrija and Umag. Today, they are part of the intangible heritage of the region and are listed among the protected cultural assets of the Republic of Croatia.
Once they were used to store batana fishing boats. Today, most of them are empty, but still amaze people, so the Umag Town Museum brought them back to life thanks to a grue preservation and promotion project.
Take a stroll along the coast of Umag and discover these elegant wooden structures that will leave you in awe!
#art and culture
#natural beauties
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