Do you know the story of the blind aqueduct from Bakar? It is included in the Cultural Heritage in Action good practice catalog

The story of the project dedicated to the blind copper aquifer will be included in the catalog of good practices of the European initiative Cultural Heritage in Action. The initiative recognized the value in the reaction of the Tourist Board of the City of Bakar to the unpredictability of the pandemic by creating a new educational, inclusive project. The story of the copper aquifer brought the community together despite the restrictions that marked the past year as well.

Let us remind you, a picture book about the blind copper aquifer Ivan Čop called "Pebbles from tear" it was presented in the form of a printed edition and an audio recording at the end of 2021. It can serve as a means of self-exploration of copper in the footsteps of the copper aquifer.

This is not the first time that the example of Bakar's tourism development has caught the eye of European organizations. One of the world's leading heritage interpretation organizations, Interpret Europe, has included Bakar in the brochure of its initiative. "Recreating Tourism Through Heritage Interpretation" or restoration of tourism through heritage interpretation.

The Tourist Board of the City of Bakar is the first destination management organization in Croatia and among the first in Europe to organize a course for guide performers of the Interpret Europe organization in 2018. Recognizing the potential of heritage interpretation and its added value for the destination, almost 20 interpretation projects have been realized in Bakar so far. Organization Interpret Europe she highlighted such action as an example to destinations across Europe.  

Do you know the story of the blind aquarius?

What is the most famous story of Bakar's past?

Frankopani, Maria Theresa, captains and shipowners, or maybe the one about Ivan Čop, a poor and blind copper aqueduct who owed his city more than all the above?

Ivan Chop he was born in 1869 in Bakar. As a little boy he had vision problems and was soon left completely without it. But at the same time he did not lose his spirit, courage and desire for independence. Blindness did not stop him from exploring the streets of Bakar and the surrounding forests with the help of his younger sister Josip, and thirsty for knowledge he sat in the back of the school desk and absorbed everything he could hear.

After his father's death, hard times come. Wanting to take care of his mother and sister, he becomes, despite his disability, a copper aqueduct, John the Blind as the Cops called him. Carrying on his shoulder a boat weighing about 25 kg in all weather conditions, he overcomes the ascent to the noble houses where he carries water because there was no water supply at that time. He earns every penny and dreams of rebuilding his old, dilapidated house.

After his sister's marriage and his mother's death, he is left completely alone. As a great lover and connoisseur of birds, he hunts and sells them, and keeps the most beautiful ones for himself or presents them to friends. To make extra money, he even stretched the bellows of the organ in the church, raising and selling pigs and chickens, struggling to survive.

The hard life, the dilapidated house, and the dry food he lived on took their toll. A blind aquarius died of a stomach ulcer rupture at age 47, and on a shelf in his home, piles of pebbles, pieces of glass and porcelain were found. All these piles marked the debts of individual families for water - the stones represented smaller monetary units, the glass of the crown, and the pieces of porcelain forints. The Coppers owed their blind aquifer so much money that he could rebuild his cottage, and even more than that they owed him help as a handicapped and immensely valuable resident of the city.

The poor and blind copper aquifers have not yet been repaid

This is one of the ways that this debt is repaid, and there will be more because the story of the blind copper aqueduct should be lived as the most important story of the city which was also greeted by a kind of disability towards others because of industry and for which, just like Ivan Cop , the saying of Saint-Exupéry is valid - "Only the heart can see well, the essential is invisible to the eyes!"

He was a modest aqueduct who owed his work to the then generations of inhabitants of the town of Bakar. It was to be expected that Bakrani would repay him for all he had done for his city and his fellow citizens. The Hamburg aquifer Hummel and the aquifer in Athens entered history at the time of the renewed first Olympics in 1896, and the memory of them lives on in many souvenirs reminiscent of them, which tourists like to buy with the occasional story of the aquifer. The inhabitants of Bakar have not yet repaid their aquifer, and it is not known when that will happen.  

If you want to hear more stories and borrow water, visit Bakar nesite and broadcast this story further.

Source and photo: TZ Bakar, Iva Silla


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