Ecomuseum and Memorial collection Erminio Vojvoda

Istrian de Dignan – Ecomuseum

A group of enthusiastic people from Vodnjan, who wants to exploit the untapped potential of the city, has recently founded the non-profit association called "ISTARSKO – Ekomuzej iz Vodnjana / ISTRIAN – Ecomuseum of Vodnjan.”

It is a fact that the Ecomuseum fundamental objective is to rouse the awareness about the local community identity value, a goal achievable through the education, preservation and interpretation of the natural and cultural local peculiarities. The ecomuseum becomes a specific instrument of the new museology that put the man and his needs at the core of all its activities.

Enhancing the human labor products, research, care, preservation and dissemination of the historical, cultural and rural heritage, especially the agriculture, as well as counting on a wide range of natural and native products, the Association will promote the creation of a cultural and touristic identity of Vodnjan, globally recognizable.

Another goal is the protection and revitalization of the material and immaterial rural heritage, including tools, crafts, skills, as well as the traditional wagon and pets.

Other purposes are the maintenance and cultivation of the land, the redevelopment of abandoned buildings and uncultivated agricultural areas, as well as the conservation of native species and biodiversity.


Memorial collection Erminio Vojvoda

In times long ago, the inhabitants of Pula and its surroundings went to Vodnjan for shopping, and the well known Trgovačka (Commercial) Street in Vodnjan was full of stores and crafts shops where customers, besides purchasing, could have other services provided before returning home.

However, Vodnjan was mainly known for its numerous shoemakers. The famous shoemaker Erminio Vojvoda (May 23, 1902 – April 6, 1991) was one of the best known and eminent inhabitants of Vodnjan, at a time when Vodnjan had a number of high-quality shoemakers. Vojvoda was the most prominent master of his trade in Vodnjan, and his works were known not only beyond Vodnjan and Istria, but beyond the borders of Italy and Yugoslavia, the countries Vodnjan was part of during his life. Besides being a skilled craftsman, he was known as a designer of many haute couture models of the time: his works could be seen in Europe's top fashion magazines published in Paris, London, Vienna and Milan.

His workshop that stood on the ground floor of his home, where he designed his models and created his shoes, has become a Memorial Collection as a reminiscence to the people of Vodnjan and its many visitors, not only of yet another notable inhabitant of Vodnjan, but is a place to learn about the production, tools, furniture, and ambiance of the one-time Vodnjan crafts shop.

Many molds, sketches, patterns, photographs, diplomas and postcards have been entered in the inventory book of the Ethnographic Museum of Istria and exhibited in their original place, in a truly recreated authentic setting.