Restored Neringa Fort will open up with a new exhibition

Neringa Fort, part of the Lithuanian Sea Museum, will welcome the season restored and improved. Upon implementation of the three-year project 'Preservation of Neringa Fort and its Sustainable Use' launched in 2014, the only sea fortress of Lithuania regained its shine of the old days and was enriched with a new exhibition planned to be opened to visitors this summer.

The history of this fort dates back to the second half of the 19th Century. At that time, the defensive seaside fortress was built in Kopgalis – the furthest northern spot of the Curonian Spit – called Neringa Fort, which was nearly completely demolished during the World War II. In 1979, the Fort was reconstructed and adapted to the museum needs. Since then, it became one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Baltic seaside. Despite the museum being famous for its attractive expositions of maritime nature and history, not all the premises of the fort were in a good shape and adapted to the needs of visitors.

The project implemented by the museum helped to solve these problems. Within the framework of the project, three red masonry caponiers were restored, the defensive ditch, its quays, bridge were cleaned and rehabilitated. And most importantly – the new exposition called 'Neringa Fort – a Part of Klaipėda Sea Fortress: 1875–1888/1944–1945' telling about the history of this defensive object was installed. It will be opened to visitors this season. According to historian Dainius Elertas, the exposition highlights the fort being a part of Klaipėda maritime history. It was least damaged in the turmoil of the war and reveals the spirit of Bismarck epoch. Neringa Fort is the best preserved fortification structure of Prussia in the territory of Lithuania.

In 2009–2014, the project 'Preservation of Neringa Fort and its Sustainable Use' received the financial support from the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and Lithuanian state budget under the Conservation and Revitalisation of Cultural and Natural Heritage programme implemented by the Ministry of Culture. The total value of the project is EUR 836 003.97, the museum contributed EUR 296 905.83 from its funds.

The project was implemented in cooperation with a Norwegian partner – Stavanger Maritime Museum. Lithuanian museum workers had an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge of Scandinavian heritage preservation and awareness raising practises. The cooperation of the specialists from both museums resulted in the movable interactive exhibition called 'The Silver of the Sea – from Stavanger to Klaipėda in 1820–1870' displayed in Lithuania and Norway, which tells about herring and the connections between Lithuania and Norway determined by this fish. Visitors of the exhibition can feel themselves as true captains and try to navigate a sailboat into Klaipėda or Stavanger port.

A lot of attention was paid to youth's inclusion into scientific maritime heritage research: students from Klaipėda University took active part in the seminar – idea competition 'Adaptation of Water Infrastructure in the Objects of Cultural Heritage'. Historian from Klaipėda, ICOMOS member, cultural heritage expert Kestutis Demereckas conducted historical research on the junction of the defensive ditch of the fort and the Curonian Lagoon.

Regeneration of the defensive ditch of Neringa Fort was a real challenge, and especially, its silt removal.  The works were twice suspended by the discovery of German shells from the times of the World War II buried at the bottom. Around 300 shells in total were removed and disarmed.

In the photo - partners from the Lithuanian Sea Museum and the Stavanger Maritime Museum.

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Information and photos provided by the Lithuanian Sea Museum

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