Thursday 23 Nov 2017


Rovinj is one of the most picturesque Mediterranean towns. When you climb to the top of the bell-tower, above the roof of the church you can see a unique combination of nature in all its magnificence and many historical monuments. Rovinj was the first time mentioned in the 7th century. Today it is a treasury of cultural and historical monuments: a 13th century Romanesque heptagonal baptistery, the baroque Parish church of St. Euphemia (1736), the church of St Francis and the Franciscan monastery dating from the 18th century, the Baroque town hall built a century before, ornated by the symbolic city clock, the city museum, the Local Magistrate's Court, the city walls with the famous Balbi's gate and much more.

This town and port on the western coast is one of the most famous and attractive tourist destinations in Istria. The old part of the town is situated on a small peninsula and has two ports. The coast is very indented. The Red Island and the island of Katarina have rich vegetations and beautiful beaches.

Rovinj was founded in the late antiquity on a small island near the coast. Historical sources mention the city for the first time under the name Ruvigno, in the 8th century. It is the characteristic example of urban agglomeration of Mediterranean type. It was fortified with a double wall already in the Middle ages. In the 17th century the town spread even behind the walls. In 1763, the small island was connected with the mainland.


According to the archaeological data the area of Rovinj was inhibited during the prehistoric period by the Histri tribe but the first written data was found in “Cosmographia”, written between the 3rd and the 5th century AD by the Anonymous from Ravine. Rovinj was already a settlement of Illyrian tribes before being captured by the Romans, who called it Arupiunum or Mons Rubineus, and later Ruginium and Ruvinium. Built on an island close to the coast, it was connected with the mainland in 1763 by filling in the channel.
The town of Rovinj was governed by the Roman Empire until the 5th century. The Roman Empire collapsed and the hoards of Ostrogoths, Byzantines and Huns started to invade the area of today's Croatia. After Byzantium (year 788), Istria fell into the hands of the Franconians and after that the Republic of Venice took control over Istria and Dalmatia. It was from 1283 to 1797 one of the most important towns of Istria under the Republic of Venice. The city was fortified by two rows of walls with three town gates. The remaining town walls date from this period. Close to the pier one can find the old town gate Balbi's Arch, dating from 1680, and a late-Renaissance clock tower. The city got its statutes in 1531
While under the rule of the Venetian Republic, the town of Rovinj became an important nautical, fishing and ship building centre. After the fall of the Venetian Republic Rovinj fell in the hands of Austria and after that even Napoleon ruled Rovinj for a short period of time.
In 1813 Austria regained its power over Rovinj and during that period industry became very strong (cement, tobacco factory, wax factory, sardine factory and glass factory). During the reign of Austria also a hospital and a marine biology institute were built.
In 1918 Rovinj fell in the hands of the fascist Italy and by the end of the 2nd World War Rovinj was under German occupation.
During the second half of the 20th century Rovinj became part of the Socialist-Federate Republic of Yugoslavia and in the beginning of the 90’s Rovinj finally became a part of the Republic of Croatia.


The church of St. Eufemia - Rovinj
n July 13th 1800 a marble coffin mysteriously floated towards the Rovinj shoreline bearing the body of St. Euphemia. Since then Rovinj has been linked with this early Christian martyr. St. Euphemia is the patron saint of the town
The skyline of Rovinj is difficult to imagine without the tall campanile of the church high above the town with its floodlit statue at the highest point, which appears to guard the roofs below. It turns according to the direction of the wind. The long history of the city would be very different without the traditional devotion to St. Euphemia.
The church was built at the beginning of the 18th century while its façade in the Venetian-Baroque style was added in the middle of the 19th century.

Zlatni Rt Forest Park
Together with Trsteno park in Dubrovnik is Zatni rt one of the most important parks on the Croatian side of the Adriatic. Apart from thousands of indigenous and domestic plants, such as the groves of holm oaks and Alpine pines, the deep shade in this age old park is also created by many foreign plants such as cedar, pine and some species of cypress.

Limska Draga Fjord
The Lim bay and valley is a peculiar geographic feature found near Rovinj and Vrsar on the western coast of Istria. The name comes from the Latin limes for "limit", referring to the landform's position at the border of two Roman provinces. The Lim valley (Limska draga or Limska dolina) is a 35 km long valley of the river Pazinčica, which transforms into the Lim bay (Limski zaljev), a 10 kilometer long estuary.It is often called "Limski Fjord", or also "Lim fjord". Due to its narrow width it is also referred to as Limski kanal.
This flooded karstic canyon is a testimony to the climatic changes and geological evolution of Istria. With its emerald green water and varied vegetation this is one of the most beautiful fjords on the Adriatic.

Town walls and gates - Rovinj
Rovinj was already surrounded by town walls in the 7th century. It was strengthened by the construction of towers. The old town had seven gates. Three of them still exist today: the Saint Benedict Gate, the Portico and the Holy Cross Gate. A baroque archway called "Balbijev luk", which today serves as the entrance of the old town, was built on the site of the former outer gate in the 17th century.

Franciscan Monastery - Rovinj

Both the church and the monastery were built at the beginning of the 18th century. This Baroque building contains a rich library and a fascinating museum of sacral artefacts. It is situated in De Amicis Street.

Baptismal Front of the Holy Spirit - Rovinj
It has been constructed in the heptagonal shape and is the oldest relic situated in the Lokva Square. The 13th century Romanesque church is also interesting because of the detailed carvings of the transenna depicting scenes of Golgotha.

Castle on the Island of St. Andrija - Rovinj
It is a Benedictine Monastery established in the 6th century. The monastery was extended in the 15th century by the Franciscans and it was refurbished again at the end of the 19th century by Baron Hutterodt. The castle has now been converted into a hotel.

The Palud Marsh
In Palud cove, 8 kilometres southwest of Rovinj, is the only ornithological park in Istria. Palud is a natural depression in the vicinity of the sea. It tuned into a swamp because of the inflow of water from the surrounding hills and plateaus, as well as springs on the northern side.
In 1906 when there was an Austro-Hungarian military base in Barbariga, a 200-meter-long canal was dug from the swamp to the sea. This was done to increase salinity of the marsh water and to prevent the development of mosquito larvae that were the main transmitters of malaria.
By connecting the sea and the swamp, Palud gained its new inhabitants such as grey mullet and eel, fish that are found in areas where seawater mixes with freshwater. Older people of the Rovinj area recall seeing even other species of fish in the swamp that came to search food. The great variety and number of resident and migratory bird species is surely the most important feature of this unique swamp.

The Dvije Sestrice Islands
These islands are a nesting site for seagulls. Because of its thick holm oak forest the Gustinja promontory is regarded as "a forest vegetation reserve."

Dvigrad (Double-town) is an abandoned medieval village from in central Istria. Dvigrad is situated in Draga, a deep valley that stretches from Pazin to the sea.
A way ran through the Draga valley connecting the coast with the inland of Istria. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Aquileian patriarchs fought fiercely against Venice that had already gained considerable influence on the west coast of Istria. The well known aristocratic family from Pula, the Castropola, got involved in this battle siding with Goricians dukes who fought as patriarchs' lawyers. During the heavy clashes between Genoa and Venice, Dvigrad was besieged by the Genoese admiral Paganin Doria who sacked it in 1345. In the year 1383 Dvigrad was reconquered, but this time by the Venetians, who burnt it, slaughtered its population and took the relics from the basilica of St. Sophia to Sveti Lovrec Pazenatički. In spite of that, Dvigrad did not become their possession. Systematically enlarging their dominion in Istria, the Venetians tried to bring under their influence all of the bigger and stronger Istrian towns, either by promises or by violence.
Dvigrad came under the rule of Venice in 1413. The Venetians nominated a nobleman chosen among the aristocracy of Koper, who reigned over the town. The town was obliged to pay him an annual tax of 390 liras. Dvigrad prospered during the 1st century under the Venetian rule. After that, this region was frequently afflicted by plague, and almost incessantly by malaria, which caused an increase in the mortality rate, and a considerable reduction of the population of Dvigrad.
After the Venetian-Austrian war in 1615, Dvigrad went through some very difficult times. It was besieged by the fierce Uskoks who, being unable to capture it, revenged themselves on neighboring villages burning, plundering and devastating them.
About the year 1630 the town was completely deserted. Only a few very poor families remained, awaiting their town's dissolution. In 1650 bishop Tommasini visited Dvigrad, finding only three families there. When the church of St. Sophia got abandoned in 1714, the town was left to its inexorable fate. The house walls crumpled, the town walls collapsed, the well was polluted. It has remained so until today.

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