Equally abundant in untouched natural beauties as well as in cultural heritage, central Istria is one of the most interesting Mediterranean regions
Central Istria, a small region where everything is so close and yet sufficiently distant, is enchanting with its attractive combination of diversity and authenticity. While some people are thrilled about the almost mythical landscapes with the high positioned medieval small towns surrounded with walls, other are astonished with the untouched nature, magnificent views and numerous green tones. Other are attracted by the many festivals and festivities celebrating life and creativity. However, almost all are equally enthusiastic about Istrian autochthonous specialties.
From city to small town
The centre of central Istria is Pazin, in spatial and administrative terms. It is a city whose natural and cultural treasures range from the deep Pazin cave, which inspired the grand “traveller to the centre of the Earth” Jules Vern, to the high positioned citadel Kaštel (today’s Ethnographic Museum), from which the earldom was once reigned. In addition to its heritage, the present day Pazin is organizing a number of events offering fun and interesting events the whole year through for its citizens, visitors and tourists.
Buzet is positioned in the centre of the fertile Mirna river valley. It is also known as the City of truffles because it is positioned in the very centre of the region abundant with that expensive underground fungus. The old town centre, a protected cultural monument, is located on the hill above the newer part of the city, the so called Fontana. The broader Buzet area, Buzeština, is abundant with natural diversities – from valleys and canyons to small hills and mountains, with a climate ranging from mild Mediterranean climate to continental mountain climate.
Not far from Pazin and Buzet, at the top of a hill, reins Motovun – a mediaeval town with cultural and historical heritage exceeding the walls surrounding it. Once the most important inhabited town in this region, is presently famous outside Croatian borders owing to the small yet big Motovun Film Festial, visited every year by approximately ten thousand film art lovers.
Also located in this region is Hum – the smallest town not only in Istria but worldwide as well. Only 100 m long and 35 m wide, Hum is a city you can walk through in a short period of time, but you will remember it for a long time.
From place to settlement
Not far from Hum is the prehistoric settlement Roč, today a protected cultural monument. Roč is considered to be the centre of Glagolitic activity: in the local church there is the inscription known as the Roč Glagolitic Abecedarium originating from 1200 and connected with this settlement is also the preparation of the first book in Croatian language. That is why the Glagolitic Alley, a memorial composed of a string of ten outdoor monuments honoring the Glagolitic script, starts exactly in Roč.
Located more to the south, at the intersection of roads, is Žminj. The small settlement with great charm is offering every traveller an accommodation in old Istrian houses, traditionally prepared homemade meals and a direct contact with nature in the nearby woods, caves, vineyards and meadows. Also, every last Saturday in August, Žminj offers an excellent entertainment at Bartulja – the biggest folk festivity you should not miss.
The most southern settlement in central Istria is Svetvinčenat, a small medieval city dominated by the stone citadel Morosini - Grimani, one of the most significant Venetian buildings in Istria. During the past decade a lot of effort was invested in its restoration, and so today it is a spectacular vivid scene for numerous manifestations by which Svetvinčenat is promoting the tradition, culture, customs and gastronomy of Istria.