Recently, a team from the Center for Turkish Studies within the Faculty of History of the University of Bucharest obtained a research dissemination grant on “The History and Histories of Adakale Island”. Thus, the project ADAKALE (Hi)STOries – Framing the Lost Paradise and Archiving the Memory of an Island/The history and histories of the ADAKALE island. From the nostalgia of the lost paradise to the archiving of memory, coordinated by university associate professor Silvana Rachieru, PhD, teaching staff at the Faculty of History of the University of Bucharest, is part of the ten projects selected following an open competition organized by the Center for Governance and Culture in Europe of the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, through the GCE-HSG Research Dissemination Grant: Borderland Studies in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region.
In addition to the coordinator, the project team also includes Ioana Anghel – independent cultural manager, Bogdan Cristel – photojournalist and Silviu Iliută – PhD student in Ottoman archeology at the Institute of Archeology “Vasile Pârvan” Bucharest.
The project, expected to become accessible online by the end of the year, will gather as much information and detail as possible on works of art, fiction and non-fiction writing and make them available in an organized and accessible form: a database of research for anyone interested in developing a new cultural or academic project about Adakale Island. The public launch of the site will be done through an academic event organized at the headquarters of the Center for Turkish Studies at the Faculty of History of the University of Bucharest.
Among online resources, a portal dedicated to the promotion of Adakale IslandThe history and histories of Adakale Island is a project to catalog, archive, reinterpret and disseminate historical information and sources, works of art, photo-video materials with Adakale Island. The available resources will be uploaded on a portal dedicated to the promotion of the cultural and historical island covered by the Danube half a century ago. The material will be available in Romanian, English and Turkish and is intended as a virtual library and research base created with the aim of archiving the history and memory of Adakale Island using academic methodology.
Adakale/Ada Kaleh was a fortress island on the Danube 1.7 km long and 500 m long, flooded following the construction of the Iron Gates Dam. The inhabitants of the island, about 680 people mostly of Turkish origin, were evacuated and had the choice between settling in Romania or Turkey. For more than half a century, the island has been a continuous source of inspiration for both research and cultural projects. The history of the island, the tragic end, the material and immaterial heritage, the human drama determined by the relocation of the inhabitants, a special charm created by the Mediterranean climate, vegetation and people, have determined the creation of a significant amount of artistic productions, documentary and memorial materials such as: short and long films , narratives, novels, paintings, 3D reconstructions, photo and postcard collections, reports, videos, interviews, memoirs, dedicated museum rooms, etc. All this proves the desire to “save” and “keep alive” the memory of the island through photographs, paintings, objects and memories of those who lived on the island or just visited it and represents an archive of inestimable value that requires an academic cataloging and a public presentation in the form of a virtual library.
Project team members
Assoc. Prof. Silvana Rachieru, PhD, has been researching the history of the island since 2014 when she initiated and coordinated the project Adakale lives! the main result of which is a photo-documentary exhibition exploring the collective memory of the island community. The exhibition consists of archival materials belonging to members of the Turkish community and photographs taken by photo-journalist Bogdan Cristel and was presented in Turkey, Greece, Romania and Italy alongside round tables and discussions with islanders. These days the exhibition is present in Venice, at the headquarters of the Romanian Institute of Culture and Humanistic Research, where assoc. prof. Silvana Rachieru, PhD, with the financial support of the University of Bucharest, had the opportunity to familiarize the visitors with the history of the Turkish community on Adakale through a series of lectures dedicated to the subject.
In recent years, Ioana Anghel has gathered information on the artistic and memorial creations dedicated to the island from the desire to write a documentary theater text on the destinies of the families moved from Adakale. These two directions of interest for the island determined the birth of the ADAKALE (Hi)STOries project – Framing the Lost Paradise and Archiving the Memory of an Island. The project brings together and disseminates two studies carried out separately by researchers from different backgrounds: a historian of the Ottoman Empire and a cultural manager with studies in theater but with a shared experience of cultural diplomacy as directors of the Romanian Cultural Institutes in Istanbul and Madrid.
More details on the project can be accessed and will be updated on the Facebook page of the Turkish Studies Center – FIUB. Interested persons can access more details on ADAKALE (Hi)STOries – Framing the Lost Paradise and Archiving the Memory of an Island/ADAKALE Island History and Stories. From the nostalgia of paradise lost to the archiving of memory here.