ISTRIA: A CULTURAL MIX OF SPLENDOUR

02HuckFinnCroatiaCyclingTourIstriaRovinj

Located at the northernmost part of the Mediterranean Sea, the Western edge of Croatia, where the Mediterranean Sea most deeply retracts into the European mainland, the Istrian peninsula comprises just one country, the country of Istria. The country of Istria despite being one of the smallest is the prime tourist region in Croatia. It is the endowed with well preserved natural attractions and wonderful vistas not only in its hinterland.

Due to its mixture of diverse natural and cultural attraction, Istria has a unique culture, music and impeccable cuisine confirming its identity as the ‘Magic Island’. The peculiarity of if its uniqueness stems from its isolation from the rest of Croatia by the high massif of the River Ucka. The Museum of Rovinj in the Baroque building in the centre of the main city holds many paintings by old masters. There are works of artists from the 19th century, inspired by life in Rovinj, particularly from the period of the Austrian authorities, when Istria was a strategically very important part of the once powerful Habsburg Empire.

The richness of the Istrian cultural heritage can be found throughout the magical country and most evident in the town of Rovinj. The vista of Rovinj with the church of St Euphemia and the bell tower in the center is one of the most impressive hallmarks of Istria. The town of Rovinj is endowed with charming narrow streets, picturesque views of old town houses which has attracted many artists over the years. Among these magnificent street is Grisia. Here the artists who gather on the streets traditionally offer their works to many tourists on the spot.

You can find a Galerion in Novigrad, a delightful historic town on the peninsula. Galerion is a unique and very special collection of artifacts and photographs which show in an impressive way, the meaning and the life of the Austro-Hungarian Navy. Novigrad has strived to conserve its architectural heritage including the spectacular defensive walls. Identical to Novigrad is Umag, a coastal city that lies in the northernmost region of Istria and is one of the largest Marinas in Croatia. Another scenic coastal town in Istria is Vrsar which lies on the hill above the safe bays, a favourite spot for many boaters.

Also visit the archeological museum in Pula where they have the largest number of exhibits in the state. And don’t fail to visit the Euphrasian Basilica in Porec, which is for now the only monument in Istria listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The basilica is special in its style of construction and dazzling example of early Byzantine art of the 6th century.

In the extreme south of the Istrian peninsula lays Pula, the largest town in Istria. The centre of the town holds the monumental and well preserved amphitheater which testifies to the extraordinary significance of Pula and Istria since ancient times. In addition to the amphitheater is the Arch of the Sergi in the city centre built around 27BC to commemorate three brothers of the Sergi family, specifically Lucius, Sergius and Lepidus, a tribune serving in the 29th legion that participated in the Battle of Actium.  The arch stood behind the original naval gate of the early Roman colony.

Istria is by far the most visited region of Croatia because of the rich historical grandeur. The Romans, the Byzantines, the Langobards, the Greeks, the Histri, the Italians, the Franks all left traces of their cultural heritage which the natives of Istria try to preserve. So be sure to come in contact with an embodiment of diverse cultures when you step into the magical city.

Advertisements