New East Digital Archive

Josip Tito’s iconic ship to become a museum in Croatia

22 August 2017

Former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito’s 117-metre-long ship, named Galeb (“Seagull”), is to be restored and turned into a museum in the Croatian town of Rijeka.

The town bought the ship in 2009 having been designated as the EU’s European Capital for Culture for 2020, and according to town officials the restoration of the ship will be completed in 2019.

Built in Genoa in 1938 as a merchant ship, Galeb was used as a military vessel during the Second World War, before it sunk in 1944 following bombing in Rijeka. Restored three years later, between 1952 and Tito’s death in 1980 Galeb became one of the defining symbols of his reign. Not only did the humongous sea creature travel far and wide to the UK, Egypt, India and Indonesia, it also entertained state officials and celebrities alike, including Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, Muammar Gaddafi, Gandhi and Elizabeth Taylor.

Following the breakup of Yugoslavia the ship was sold to a Greek yachtsmen who lost it due to mounting berthing costs. Whilst some during the 90s called for it to be destroyed, the ship will now be restored for years to come, adding to the already well-established Tito-based tourism industry and other objects of Yugonostalgia.

Source: Balkan Insight