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Istria

ROVINJ 
belongs to the jewels of the Istria coast. In ancient times an Illyrian tribe of Istra settled there. In 129 BC, the Romans took over the town and gave it a name of Ruginum. Rovinj was one of the first cities on this part of the coast to fall into the hands of Venice. During its long history the town was often visited not only by Genovese and pirates, but also by deadly plagues. When the times got finally a little quieter, the town could grow to a near hill on the land. Since 1763 the town is connected with land by an embankment and  today has a population of 11,000 inhabitants. The silhouette of Rovinj (as viewed from the sea) could  be the image of the whole Croatian coast - no other town appeals by more harmonious impression. Narrow houses lean against the back of oval limestone rock, above which stands the Church of St. Eufemia with a bell tower, visible from far away. Since the Middle Ages the town has been protected by strong city walls with seven gates, of which only three were preserved till today.

Picturesque streets and richly decorated palace portals remind of its turbulent history on every step. The Bregovita street from the 18th century - thanks to arched passages with frescoes on the vaults - is the most picturesque in the town. The Griza street, which is an art gallery for local artists, leading just like the Bregovica street from the town square called Marshall Tito Market and continues on to the city ​​landmark - the bell tower of the Church of St. Eufemia. In the 18th century the local people built a new parish church on the highest point of the town. When they built it according to the plans of Venetian architect Giovanni Dozzigo, they used parts of the walls of former Romanesque church. The church was built next to a 60 m high bell tower, the highest in Istria, which is reminiscent of Venetian campanile. The bell tower was started 70 years earlier than the church and its building lasted for long 26 years. At its top there is a moving weather-vane impersonating St. Eufemia in dizzying height showing the  direction of the wind. The valuable sarcophagus of the patron of the town, built according to late antique patterns from the turn of 4th and 5th centuries, is located inside the church.

Accorning to the legend St. Eufemia was a martyr, who was in 304, when Christians were cruelly persecuted under the Emperor Diocletian, thrown to lions in ancient Anatolian town of Chalcedon. Because the lions paid no attention to her, she was broken in the wheel. After her martyrdom her body was moved to Constantinople. In the confusion connected to iconoclasm her remains mysteriously disappeared and on July 30, 800, the sea miraculously ejected them on the coast close to the town of Rovinj. You can see this scene on the fresco on the sarcophagus. Since this event the local church has become the target of many pilgrims from all over Istria - the most come on the day, when this saint is remembered every year on September 16.
Apart from the sarcophagus, the church can offer other treasures, among them for example paintings of Giovani Contarini, the student of the great Italian painter Tirizio. The church's sculptor is also Italian - Gerolamo Laureato.

On the port promenade you can visit the local museum, where art exhibitions take place. In the summer the museum is open even in the evenings.

The oldest building in Rovinj is surprisingly not located in the old core of the town, but on "land," not far from the bus station on the square called Lokva. It is a Romanesque heptagonal Baptistery from the 12th century.

On the Zlatnirt peninsula (Punta korente), south of Rovinj, there lies a protected area with English park and lush Mediterranean vegetation and sandy beaches.

You can get to both adjacent islands  Sveta Katarina and Crveni Otok by regular shuttle transportation service. The island  Crveni Otok is distinguished by very special climate and its ever-green vegetation, laurels and myrtle engrave themselves into your mind and senses by its intoxicating fragrance.
You can also see the steps of settlements from the times of the Roman Empire like the ruin of the monastery from the turn of the 6th and 7th century, which was later taken over by the Franciscans. In the 19th century the whole island together with at the time quite dilapidated buildings was purchased by Baron Ivan Georg Hutterrodt, who founded a park there and reconstructed the monastery buildings.

LIMSKI FJORD
It is in fact a flooded part of so-called Limski karst valley, which then continues inland. It has its characteristic signs of a canyon with banks reaching over 100 meters, steeply descending to the sea. Limestone hilltops are covered with cypress and pine trees, while at the end of the bay oysters and mussels are successfully bred.
The Limski Bay is rich in fish. Thanks to lower salt content and greater concentration of oxygen in the water the sea flora and fauna thrive here.

VRSAR
(1,600 inhabitants). It lies on a hill, which was settled in the time before Christ. The Emperor Otto II. gave this town to Poreč bishops in 983, who made it their summer residence, the citadel Vergotini. Above the Romanesque parish church St. Mary from the Sea from the 13th century, stands proudly a shining white campanile, visible from afar, built only in 1990. It is because the old bell tower was destroyed in the World War II.

BALE
15 km from Rovinj in the direction towards Pulu on a hill above the karst plane lies a town of Bale, which has kept its Mediterranean character till today. At the entrance to the town you are greeted by a castle from the 14th century, originally a property of Venetian families Soard and Bemba , which was later several times re-built and new buildings were added. Above the town stands the Church of St. Julian with a bell tower.

PULA 
In the southern spike of the Istria peninsula lies Pula, which has today more than 60,000 inhabitants.
Pula is the oldest city on the coast of the eastern Adriatic. Archeological finds show, that this place has been settled consecutively for 3,000 years.

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