Ivan Patzaichin Museum in Mila 23 (Danube Delta) opens this weekend

Oana Vasiliu 21/05/2024 | 09:00

Ivan Patzaichin Museum in Mila 23 (Danube Delta) opens this weekend. In December 2023, The Ivan Patzaichin – Mila 23 Association has announced the completion and reception of the buildings that will house the much-anticipated Ivan Patzaichin Museum in Mila 23, Danube Delta, the hometown of the legendary Romanian canoeist.

Set to become a beacon of community innovation, the museum’s activities will focus on recovering and reinterpreting the social norms specific to the deltaic region. This initiative is part of the Ivan Patzaichin Traditional Culture Center, with funding from EU.

The center aims to demonstrate to both residents and visitors how the Delta can develop sustainably. A key objective is to encourage young people to remain in the area by showcasing how traditions and customs can be preserved and integrated into modern life, providing alternative sources of income throughout the year. The museum will serve not only as a tourist attraction but also as an open portal to nature, a laboratory, and a creative hub, where local traditions will be preserved, explored, and utilized as contemporary development resources.

The grand opening

The total investment amounts to RON 3.6 million, with RON 2.376 million in non-reimbursable funding provided through the Operational Program for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs 2014 – 2022, Measure III.3, which focuses on implementing community-led local development strategies.

The organizers announced the opening this weekend, May 24-26, with a series of activities for both children and adults. More information, here.

A blend of tradition and innovation

The museum complex comprises two buildings constructed entirely from wood and local materials such as reed and clay, incorporating parts of the house where Ivan Patzaichin’s parents lived after the 1970 floods. Notably, for the first time in the Delta, hemp insulation was used for the buildings – an innovative process that revives and makes use of a traditional Romanian plant with multiple applications, largely forgotten today.

The centerpiece of the complex is the Museum-Observatory, standing at 18 meters tall and made entirely of laminated wood. This structure, the tallest wooden edifice in Tulcea County, will house the Treasury on its ground floor, showcasing the most significant medals won by Patzaichin during his sporting career. The upper floors will feature a vertical multimedia art installation depicting Ivan’s life journey from his childhood in Mila 23 to his achievements as a multiple Olympic champion, coach, mentor, and social entrepreneur.

Ivan’s Delta Route

In a previous communication, the Ivan Patzaichin – Mila 23 Association announced that they will inaugurate the Ivan Patzaichin Museum and the “Ivan’s Delta” route, the first route dedicated exclusively to non-polluting boats in the Danube Delta. The route will feature its own application, providing all necessary information digitally.

Teodor Frolu, vice president of the association, stated that work is ongoing on the museum’s interior and the application, which will be ready for the museum’s opening. The route will not have physical markers to minimize environmental impact, relying instead on the app, which functions even without a signal. The app will also be used for scheduling museum visits.

The 52-kilometer route starts in the Tudor Vladimirescu suburb of Tulcea and ends in Mila 23, featuring three overnight points. It is developed in partnership with the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Administration.

Frolu emphasized that the museum, the memorial complex in Tulcea, and the route collectively honor Ivan Patzaichin’s legacy, promoting the Delta as a unique ecotourism destination. This initiative aims to attract tourists seeking a slower, more immersive experience in the Delta, offering a sustainable alternative to rapid tourism.

In 2022, the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Administration and the Ivan Patzaichin-Mila 23 Association initiated a project to create motorless boat routes, with a total estimated budget of EUR 15 million, submitted for funding through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

A hub for culture and sustainability

The adjacent building will host cultural activities of various local organizations, meetings of Delta stakeholders, summer camps, and artist residencies. The complex will also feature a Local Gastronomy Point for culinary courses and a workshop for repairing and maintaining wooden boats. Equipped with a solar panel system and a charging point for bicycles and electric boat engines, the museum aims to become the first prosumer in Mila 23, highlighting its commitment to sustainable tourism and innovation.

The museum’s establishment marks a significant step forward in promoting sustainable tourism and serves as a reference point for the transformation of tourism in the Delta. It will be part of the first “slow tourism route” initiated as part of an ecotourism mobility initiative in the Danube Delta.

Photo credits: Mani Gutau


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