'Ursus' – Trieste, Italy - Atlas Obscura
'Ursus' is permanently closed.


This historic floating crane became an unlikely symbol of the port of Trieste. 


During the early 20th-century, the growing port of Trieste needed a new crane to construct larger and heavier ships. Between 1911 and 1914, the crane-vessel Ursus was built by the Austrian Empire, who were in control of the city at the time. 

After World War I, Trieste became part of the Kingdom of Italy. At the time, the crane was just an empty shell without an engine. Between 1925 and 1931, the structure was completed and now stands at a staggering 246 feet (75 meters), when at its maximum vertical extension.

For decades, the crane was used to construct ships in the port of Trieste and could lift up to 150 tons. In 1945, the huge structure was almost stolen by Yugoslavian troops in an attempt to transfer it to Yugoslavia.

However, British ships stopped the heist and returned Ursus to its home in Trieste. After several renovations, Ursus was in operation until 1994 and was very close to being demolished. In 2011, Ursus was declared a cultural property as an important piece of industrial archeology. It still stands today in the port of Trieste.

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October 5, 2020

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