“Chengene skele” is the only authentic fishing village on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast – a place with a unique spirit and character, which still preserves the fishing tradition and impresses every visitor on Konservna Street (the name of the street is inspired by Steinbeck’s novel). A large part of the small-scale fisheries of FLAG Burgas-Kameno`s territory is concentrated here. In line with the objectives of the FLAG`s CLLD Strategy, the local fishing community has established productive relationships with the local authorities and together they have launched a number of public activities to preserve, support and develop the local tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Chengene skele related to the fishing craft. The newly built Cultural and Historical Complex Chengene Skele has an event hall, small-scale fisheries museum, a small open amphitheater, a new small-scale fishing boat marina, a tourist service boat and soon – a fishing boat repair shop for local fishermen. There is a restaurant for visitors, offering local fish specialties prepared according to old recipes collected by the locals.
CLLD Strategy of FLAG Burgas-Kameno aims to preserve and promote the traditions of the local fishing community. In this regard, the Municipality of Burgas applied to FLAG Burgas-Kameno with a project proposal entitled ” Protecting and promoting the identity of the Chengene skele fishing village”. The project addresses 3 main aspects of needs of the territory of FLAG Burgas-Kameno:
• insufficient alternative forms of tourism
• Involvement of local fishermen in available tourist products and services
• seasonality of tourism.
With the provided funding, 3 small wooden buildings and a reception room were built, hosting permanent exhibitions and interactive installations presenting the fishing craft, each on a different topic, the aim of which is to achieve multi-layered experiences. The local fishermen’s association actively participated in the preparation of the content of the exposition. More than 100 collectible artifacts, personal belongings, objects, tools, archives and other interesting items from local fishermen were collected for an authentic feeling of the exhibition. The ethnographic collection is divided thematically into an introductory part in historical and archaeological terms. The exhibition houses are named “Taifa” (meaning crew or band of brothers; this is a term used for last 100 years on the Black Sea coast for a group of fishermen who use pound net for fishing), “Buruntia” (meaning storm) and “Euxine Pontus” (ancient Greek name of the Black Sea) and take their guests on a journey through the history of the Black Sea, fishing customs and the way of life of the local fishermen. People can see demonstrations of knitting nets, tangling ropes and sea knots, enjoy traditional food and hear how the locals present stories and legends. The project activities also include a study of the intangible cultural heritage related to fisheries in the Burgas Bay and the development of a plan with measures for its protection, as well as the development of interpretation programs and training of animators.
Today, the Cultural and Tourist Complex Chengene Skele welcomes young and old by land and sea (catamaran ship transport tourists 2 times a day Wednesday to Sunday from Burgas Marine Station to Chengene Skele), and a local fisherman, hired as an animator, introduces visitors to the history of the fishing village and the fishing crafts. Guests can feel the attraction of the sea, learn more about the traditional knitting of nets and sea knots, get to know the profound fishing craft, as well as enjoy fresh fish and mussels prepared on site.
The project preserves and promotes the tangible and intangible cultural and historical heritage of the fishing territory of the FLAG; the tourist image of the region is improved by creating a new local year-round tourist destination related to fishing with the potential to overcome the seasonality on the territory of FLAG Burgas-Kameno; knowledge of traditional fishing crafts is increasing; the protection of the environment and marine biodiversity is stimulated. 7 new jobs were created within the project.
Contribution to Priority of CLLD Strategy: Preservation and development of the local cultural, historical and natural heritage
Total funding: 324 866.72 BGN
EMFF: 85% ; Nation co-financing (Bulgaria): 15%
Start date 14.04.2020
In addition, with the project “Preservation and promotion of the identity of the fishing village Chengene Skele”, the Municipality of Burgas for the first time participated in the International Awards for Living Communities (LivCom) and was awarded an honorary bronze prize. The competition was founded in 1997. It is the only one in the world focusing on international best practices in local environmental management. The LivCom Awards aim to develop and share inspiring projects and examples to improve the quality of life by creating “living communities”.