If you’re out for a walk of the Tulcea promenade, you’ll notice there is a very old paddle ship near to the place where people take the boat to cross the Danube to Tudor Vladimirescu.
[adsense]Its name is Republica and it’s one of the oldest ships in Romania and one of the surviving three or four paddle ships in the Country.
It was built in 1903 in the Linz Shipyard, in Austria. It had the name Csobanc and had a commercial use until the uear 1916 when it was fitted with weapons to be used in the First World War. It was mainly a patrol ship, but she also layed mines along the Danube.
At the end of the war, it was captured by the Romanian forces. Over the years, she change her name to “Arad” (1919-1930), „Căpitan-comador Păun” (1930-1944), „Republica” (1947-1991). For a brief period, she was given the name „Locotenent-comandor Vasile Păun” which had nothing to do with the history, so in 2003 she was named, yet again, „Republica”.
A few fun historical facts
[adsense]It seems that throughout its history, Republica has welcomed a number of high profile personalities. The first was Austrian General Von Mackenstein, the commander of the Austrian-Hungarian front during the First World War, Admiral Wolf, the commander of the Austrian fleet.
After she became a Romanian possession, it seems that Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, the country’s first communist president, invited Nikita Hrusciov on board of the Republica in order to renegotiate the war compensations.
It is rumored that it was on this ship that Nicolae Ceaușescu had a secret meeting with Tito, the dictator of former Yugoslavia.
Having served for over a century, Republica is a living monument.
Although the engine now works on diesel, the actual machine that powers the paddles is 100 percent original.
These days, it stands as a floating restaurant. Below decks, on the other hand, a museum was organized. You can see all the original parts and find out more about her history from her captain.