Wednesday, 14 November 2012 08:18

History: Past Centuries




Driving down the ancient Via Flavia road from Buje to Vizinada, you will notice a 228-metre high cone-shaped hill on the left. At the top of the hill, among the houses, you can see a church tower. This is Groznjan, the ancient Graeciniana. The terraced hill, covered with old vineyards and olive gardens, is actually a sandy elevation created from the erosion of two streams, the Kanistran and the Pision. The town's poetic coat of arms shows an arm holding a white lily and reaching towards the sun. Povijesni tekstovi prvi puta spominju GROŽNJAN 1102. godine. From Groznjan you can enjoy a view of about 20 surrounding villages, fields on the Bolara and Kostanjica hillsides on the left, meadows of the Bijele zemlje (White Lands) and Baredina slopes on the right, the Mirna valley below, and the coastline from Novigrad to Umag. This is one of the most beautiful and most fertile areas in Istria.

The land around Groznjan is partly mountainous and partly flat, very fertile, with many olive groves, vineyards and orchards. By the town gate there is St. Nicholas cemetery with many cypress trees, and about a kilometer to the northwest there is a gentle plateau of St. Vitus with and old, abandoned cemetery and a little church with mortuary. At the edges of the plateau there are Peroj and Rimska palaca (Roman Palace), where mosaic pieces, Roman coins, and remains of a rich settlement and a road have been found. The Groznjan area also includes St. Florian on the Karst, and it ends with the Mirna river in the south, where the Bastija harbour used to be. In 1500 boats still sailed up the Mirna to this harbour. In the west the Groznjan territory once included Nova Vas, a little town near Brtonigla. In 1371 the Nova Vas area, including the St. George castle on the Mirna, came under the rule of Venetian podesta situated in Groznjan.

The town, once known as kastel (castle), was surrounded by thick walls, the remains of which are now a valuable historic heritage. It had two gates, and the one still existing, called the Great Gate, used to have a drawbridge. It is situated in a beautiful place where a road from Ponte Porton ends. From a magnificent lookout on the wall, where once the smaller gate used to be and where a Venetian column still stands, one can see far to the horizon. The houses are built tightly next to each other, in the typical medieval style. In the church of Sts. Vitus, Modest and Crescentia there is an altar, believed to have special powers, which was donated by pope Pius VII in 1800. It was handed through special edict to the priest Michele Dubaz during the pope's visit to Tarska vala (Tar Cove), where his frigate Bellona took refuge from a storm.

Between the two town gates, on a little square outside the walls, there is a small church built in 1554, as inscribed in a stone above the entrance. It was dedicated to Sts. Cosimo and Damian, and renovated in 1834. The spire has been preserved, but there is no church bell. The interior and a large atrium supported by fragile columns were renovated in 1954, and in 1986 a renowned Croatian artist Ivan Lovrencic painted the interior. Apsidal cathedral in the centre of Groznjan was built in the 14th century and renovated in the baroque style in 1770, when four supporting beams and capitals on the façade were added. The cathedral, originally dedicated to Virgin Mary, is today a church of Sts. Vitus, Modest and Crescentia. The parish church was first mentioned in 1310. Its interior was repainted in 1965. Pews, decorated in folk tradition, were built during the Renaissance. The sacristy and a reliquary date from 1612. A large painting in the bottom of the church, known as the painting of the patron saint, was done by Ermengildo de Troy and depicts the martyrdom of saints Vitus, Modest and Crescentia in the Roman Colosseum in 303. Next to the church is a tall bell tower, octagonal at the top and built of yellow sandstone. Near the parish church there used to be two small churches, of St. Rocco and St. Martin, built in the 14th century. A Venetian loggia fontica from 1557 has, fortunately, remained. It has four columns and a limestone floor; inside there are four Roman tombstones. This ancient loggia used to be a court's meeting place.

Groznjan once had its own statute consisting of four books and written in Italian in 1558. It seems, though that the town had its own statute as early as 1358, the year it became a part of the Venetian Republic. Code of law and the statute are written on the parchment paper, and include a miniature of Madonna flanked by St. Vitus and St. Modest, with the town's coat of arms below them. Legend has it that on the first day of Lent judges made fritulas and gave them to passers-by, who were supposed to pay their respects or otherwise they would be fined. Podesta's palace in Groznjan was renovated twice, in 1588 and 1726. During the centuries Groznjan and surrounding area were inhabited by various peoples and changed many rulers. Histrians, Illyrians, Celts, Greeks, Romans, Ostrogoths, Langobards, Franks, Germans, Slavs, Italians and others have lived, mixed and fought for power there. Groznjan was once a Roman fort and various inscriptions, coins, mosaics, as well as toponyms like Vrh Roman (Roman Peak), speak of their presence.

The fort of Groznjan was first mentioned in 1102, when Istrian marquis Ulrich II and his wife Adelaide donated their Istrian property to a patriarch of Aquileia. In this document the burg was called Castrum Grisiniana. In 1238 it was probably ruled by Vicard I Pietrapelosa. In 1277 a number of Slavic families were invited to settle and cultivate the fiefdom's lands. In 1286 Vicard II Pietrapelosa pledged the fort with patriarch Raymond as a guarantee of war reparations. In 1287 Vicard aligned with Venetians, his former enemies, and gave Groznjan to them. After the war the fort was returned to its previous owners. Vicard's son Pietro inherited Groznjan after his father's death in 1329, and when he died in 1339 it again became patriarch's property. The patriarch rented it to Furlanian noble family de Castello. In 1354 Groznjan's new owner became Volrich, or Ulrich, Reifenberg, who in 1358 sold it to Venice for 4,000 ducats in order to pay his debts. Volrich was a son of Deitalm, a descendant of Aquileian patriarch Volcher, and in 1356, during the war between Venice and Hungary, his army, entrenched in Groznjan, strongly resisted the Hungarian army. Yet it seems that at the same time Volrich negotiated the surrendering of Groznjan in Venice. The town was probably taken by Hungarian and Croatian troops led by Mikiza, a son of the Croatian vice-roy.

Archdeacon of Budim, who documented it, called the town Krisignan of Volrich Rosumberk. Venice took Groznjan over in 1358 and ruled until its demise in 1797. Slavic families, invited by German feudal lords, settled in the abandoned villages of the area as early as the 14th century, before Venice bought Groznjan. In 1359 the Umag captain Pietro Dolfin moved to his new residence in Groznjan, and in 1360 and 1367 he fortified the town walls and renovated the palace. Captain's Office moved from Groznjan to Raspor in 1394, when a central rule, which included Sveti Lovrec Pazenaticki, was established for the whole area. Since then Groznjan was governed by Venetian noblemen who were given the title of podesta.

From the early 16th century Groznjan's podestas were chosen among Koper noblemen. In the 15th century judicial duties were performed by the Pietrapelosas, and in 1446 the town walls were fortified in order to protect from possible Turkish attacks. After the terrible plague in 1630 the Groznjan area became almost completely deserted. In order to revitalize the area the St. Mark's Republic brought Italian families from Veneto, Carnia and Furlania provinces; these were mostly tradesmen who settled in towns. Slavic families were settled in villages in order to develop agriculture. All settlers in Istria were given free land and were exempt from fiscal duties and work obligations for twenty years; the only condition was to cultivate the land within five years. Economic success of colonization of villages reflected on the towns as well: trade and transportation developed and demographics improved. After the fall of Napoleon's Empire in 1813, his Illyrian provinces, including Groznjan, became part of the Habsburg Empire. In 1816 Austrian emperor Francis I visited Groznjan on his tour through Istria and met with the local clergy and population.




Wednesday, 14 November 2012 08:18

Grožnjan - Grisignana




Grožnjan is located above the Mirna River valley on a hill above the sea level of 228 meters. Medieval urban complex has remained largely untouched until now. It is a natural base for an intense and interesting life Grožnjan lives today. We invite you to share it with us.

Away from the sea ten miles has always been attractive for settlement. From the 1358th The Grožnjan has free status of the municipality. In the fifties of the last century just becomes part of the municipality Buje. Since 1993. The re-gained the status of municipalities.

Apart from the Croatian and Italian languages in official use, as well as Slovenia, which is not a problem on the streets Grožnjan hear and many other world languages.




Wednesday, 14 November 2012 08:17

Welcome in the town of artist

GROŽNJAN, an ancient town in northwestern Istira, fifteen km from the sea, takes great pride in its wealth of tradition, cultural heritage and natural beauty, all of which is ennobled by art. Today, numerous cultural and historical landmarks serve as backdrops for cultural manifestations and entertainment. In GROŽNJAN, you can attend frequent concerts of classical music, a jazz festival, the painting manifestation Ex Tempore, and numerous exhibitions at the municipal gallery and approximately twenty private galleries and studios.

You can walk among the hills to other picturesque old towns: Završje, Kostanjica or Šterna. You can visit the small local churches and enjoy magnificent landscapes and views. You can relax in the quiet atmosphere, stay in comfortable apartments, and inhale the fresh air perfumed by the natural fragrances of freshly cut hay, field flowers, Mediterranean vegetation and pine forests; listen to the birds, encounter wild animals ... You will sense the traditional hospitality of the people of GROŽNJAN with every flask of the excellent local wine, every glass of brandy. In the agrotourist objects, you will have the opportunity to savor excellent traditional foods: local prosciutto, cheese, dishes seasoned with award-winning olive oil and other original products of village tourism. GROŽNJAN has everything for the perfect vacation, for body and soul.
Until we meet again.
Welcome to GROŽNJAN!


Wednesday, 14 November 2012 07:50





Zavrsje is nested on a 240-metre high hill, amid marl and sandstone mountainous area where, between Groznjan and Oprtalj, is the south end of Karst. It has always been a town of farmers who worked the fields and grew olives and fruits; there were also leather tanners. The town was surrounded by double walls, partly still visible, which had two gates; the remains of one can still be seen. Above this gate there are ancient bas-reliefs and a coat of arms of the Contarini family, who owned the town for three centuries. A cobblestone road leads to an elevation with an ancient church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Holy Rosary with a church tower. The church has a round apse and a portal with pointed arch with inscribed year 1879, when it was last renovated. It was built in the 16th century and renovated in 1634, when of the four original altars only two remained.

Stone relief from the Roman times built in the city gates

There used to be silver candelabras and candle holders dating from the 18th century, and a magnificent goblet decorated with glazed medallions from 1476. The church sold it in the late 18th century and it ended up in the Rothschild's' collection. Today it can be seen at the Louvre. A gothic monstrance from 1849 shows Virgin Mary, St. John the Evangelist and Christ rising from the grave. Next to the church is a magnificent Zavrsje castle, built in the 11th century, once a residence of the Contarini aristocracy. Inside the walls there is a little house, built in 1579, with inscription Hosteria di Valentino Valle. In front of the northern gate a new, large parish church of Sts. John and Paul was built, renovated in 1792. It has a round apse, five altars and is richly decorated. The altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Holy Rosary was donated by a nobleman Besenghi in 1792.

On a roof side there is a small sandstone distaff. Coming from the valley, before you reach the still existing city gates, there is a small church of St. Rocco built in 1556, and about a kilometer north of the parish church there is a cemetery with St. Andrew's church. Zavrsje was inhabited in ancient times; artifacts from the pre-Roman era as well as Roman tombs and inscriptions have been discovered. Traces of the alleged first consul's road, which passed through the Istria's interior, have also been found. In 1885 a tombstone with names of various historic persons was discovered by the road. This medieval town was in ancient times known by the Italian name Piemonte.
This name was mentioned in 1102, when Istrian marquis Ulrich II donated the town to the Patriarchy of Aquileia. In documents dating from 1341 and 1508 it was called Pyamont or Poymont. In 1427 the Germans named it Pemund. In 1300 Zavrsje belonged to Istrian counts. Later Venice took it over, and it had to fight the army of the Count of Krk. In 1360 a Trieste army of patriarch Lodovico de' Della Torrea and bishop Negri, at the time at war with the counts of Pazin, launched an unsuccessful attack on Zavrsje.

In 1374 it came under the Austrian rule and was elevated to a fiefdom status. It had its own feudal law and administration, a captain and a prefect. At that time - late 14th century - Croatian population started to settle in the area. Austrian authorities began to lease the Zavrsje estate so it changed many owners in the years to come.
After 1412 Venice, fighting the Hungarians, Turks and Austrians, attacked Zavrsje several times. The attacks lasted until 1511, when it finally took it over, although its rule was not acknowledged until the Worms Treaty. In 1530 Venice auctioned Zavrsje and Giustignano Contarini became the new owner. His descendants kept it until the 19th century, when it was conquered by Napoleon, and shortly thereafter taken over by the Austrian Empire. The area prospered under the well-organized Austrian rule. A narrow-gauge Parenzana railroad was built. Trading contributed to intensive development of agriculture, especially fruit and vegetable growing. Various trades also blossomed. During the Austrian and later Italian rule Zavrsje had a post office, school, two stores, oil-processing plant and various trade shops.
In 1943 the anti-fascist movement spread to Zavrsje, and Croatian and Italian anti-fascists fought together against the Germans. Under the terms of the Paris Peace Treaty Zavrsje became a part of the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Economic and political reasons contributed to a mass exodus, and of the 90 families who lived in Zavrsje at the time only about 40 inhabitants have remained. This fortressed little town boasts magnificent architecture. It is a mandatory destination for every traveller interested in Istrian history and culture.





Wednesday, 14 November 2012 07:49





Vrnjak is situated on a steep hill side. High enough for a good view. Low enough not to be touched by winds and storms. .

On a road passing through the Sterna valley, a country road past Marusici winds uphill to the left, along the right bank of the Bazuja steam. A kilometer later one crosses a little bridge built of railroad crossties filled with gravel.

Once there used to be a mill of which only foundations remain. Having crossed to the left bank and 2 more kilometers up the hill one reaches this completely deserted village at the 320-metre altitude. Empty houses with no doors or windows, lanes hidden by locust trees - all creates a gloomy atmosphere. There is a little church 50 metres above the village, on a plateau from which one can see far. Both the church and the adjacent cemetery have been abandoned. The church was built in 1892, a year inscribed on a limestone above the portal, and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mournful. It was consecrated in 1901. Through the open door one can see the interior; there is still an altar, while the rest of the inventory has been removed.
The church plateau offers a view of the village. The church has double distaff and no bell. Until 1930 it belonged to the Sterna parish, then it was annexed to the Brda one. Before the village there are Gradinja (or Gradenje) hill slopes which end in the Fineda top. They are covered with chestnuts, oaks and various fruit trees, criss-crossed with uncultivated fields now used as grazing pastures for goats and horses. Past the church a country road leads up a hill slope to Dugo Brdo, another almost completely deserted hamlet, with the Bazuja stream on the west. It springs in Brda and sinks into a hollow by a paved road leading from Marusici to Sterna. Once there used to be two mills.





Wednesday, 14 November 2012 07:49


The Sterna municipal area was once very large. It included Kuberton, Topolovec, Kucibreg, Cepici and Gradinja. In old days it was known as the Groznjan Cistern because it belonged to Groznjan. Toponym Sterna is short for Cistern, and it comes from an inexhaustible spring which feeds six troughs in a valley north of the church. In 1067 German emperor Henry IV gave this fief, then know as Steina, to bishop Freisinga. In 1102 Marquis Ulrich II donates Sterna to the Aquileia Patriarchy, which gave it as a fief to a bishop of Novigrad. In 1260 the patriarchs gave Sterna to Almerich XXX of St. George on the Mirna. Later it became the property of counts of Gorizia, and in the mid-13th century it became a part of the Momjan estate.

Venice bought Groznjan and the area in 1368, and Sterna came under Venetian rule. In 1420 Venice conquered a patriarch's part of Istria, Sterna came under Pietrapelosa's jurisdiction, and in 1564 became the Gravisi family, and partly the Del Bello family, fief. During the war between Venice and the Cambray League, which lasted from 1508 to 1516, Sterna was frequently attacked by both mercenary armies.

The town's altitude is 304 metres, and the urban core is at a somewhat higher level than a church situated in a small Karst valley. Some mortarless houses are built of gray sandstone, and some of white limestone. If you are coming to Sterna from the south, at Kastel take a road to the right. The road clearly separates a marl-sandstone area in the north from a limestone area in the south.

The parish church once was a large edifice and a main church in the area. The church tower was built in 1791, and it has octagonal cone-shaped belfry. The church itself was built in 1746, as is inscribed on a white architrave, and it was consecrated by the Novigrad's bishop Leoni in 1753 and dedicated to the archangel Michael. It replaced the old church of S. Michaelis in Nemore, of which nothing remains.

It replaced the old church of S. Michaelis in Nemore, of which nothing remains.

In the north, at 383 meters, there is a cemetery with St. Cancian's church, rebuilt in 1885. Inside there are no ornaments except for a large crucifix and a simple altar with a valuable wooden retable from the 16th century. In 1525 Venice started to encourage immigration of Slavic settlers, mostly farmers, as well as tradesmen from Furlania and Carnia.
Sterna was under Groznjan's jurisdiction until the end of World War II, and as a result it shared its history. In 1947 the Treaty of Paris deeded Sterna to the newly established People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, while Groznjan remained a part of the Free Territory of Trieste until 1954. Today Sterna is home to farmers and small entrepreneurs.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012 07:48


Gradnja pruge započela je u svibnju 1900. nakon što su se sve zainteresirane strane usuglasile oko konačne trase. U početnom projektu pruga je trebala imati trasu Trst-Poreč-Kanfanar . No, problemi s financiranjem koji su pratili projekt od samoga početka doveli su do toga da trasa od Poreča do Kanfanara nikada nije završena. Duljina trase iznosi 123,1 km, širina kolosijeka iznosila je 760 mm. Prva dionica od Trsta do Buja puštena je u promet 1. travnja 1902. Svečano otvorenje druge dionice od Buja do Poreča bilo je 15.12.1902.

Trasa parenzane vrlo je zavojita, usječena u padine pitomih istarskih brežuljaka, prilagođavala se oblicima terena. Duž trase prokopano je 9 tunela ukupne dužine 1530 m. Najzahtjevniji za izvedbu je bio tunel Lucan dužine 544 m, a slijedili su nešto manji tuneli Motovun, Šaleta, Kalcini, Freski, Kostanjica, Sv. Vid, te dva mala tunela Završje I i Završje II. Od ostalih građevina treba istaknuti 16 mostova i 6 vijadukata, te veći broj propusta i nadvožnjaka.

Svojom dužinom od 79,10 m ističe se vijadukt Antonci s pet otvora i najvećim rasponom od 12 m, te nešto manji vijadukt Oprtalj od 75,24 m. Vijadukti su građeni od kamena s polukružnim lukovima položenim na masivne kamene stupove. Zadnja vožnja Parenzane bila je 31.08.1935., a nakon toga je prugu Musollini dao razmontirati, ukrcati na brod i odvesti u Etiopiju za potrebe osvajačkih ratova. Sudbina je htjela da brod nikada nije stigao do Abisinije, već je potonuo na sredini Sredozemnog mora.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012 07:47





Captivating beauty of a picturesque village on a hill. Old farm buildings are reminders of the past. The old and the new - left behind, altered, renovated, but never abandoned




Wednesday, 14 November 2012 07:47





Village facing a spacious plateau. New and old - past and future in one place. Nicely renovated house and well-kept surrounding area in the Vigini hamlet.




Wednesday, 14 November 2012 07:46





Abandoned and then reinhabited, the place invites you to visit. riving from Marusici to Sterna, after the turn leading to Vrnjak, a road on the left climbs to Kuberton. It is 1.5 km long and passes through Gomila Donja and Buslete villages. Prehistoric graves have been found in both Gomila villages. Kuberton is situated on the top of a hill, in a beautiful landscape with many chestnut trees. The church was dedicated to St. Lawrence and a wooden altar is still there; the rest of the inventory has mostly been stolen. Monsignor Parentin remembers a very precious object which once belonged to the church: a procession cross galvanized with copper, with reliefs on both sides and a bronze crucifix, with a built-in enameled plate displaying celestial symbols on a blue background, on the back.

The cross was made in the 13th century, and its present whereabouts are unknown. In 1655 a sealed parchment from 1543 was found in one of the altars of the Kuberton church. It documented dedication of the church by Pier Paolo Vergerio, a renegade Bishop of Koper. Kuberton was a part of the Sterna church district, and it was a fief of the bishops of Novigrad.

In the 13th century it belonged to Filip di Cosiliaco, a vassal of Count Mainard III of Gorizia. In 1250 he confirmed to of Andrea de Cirlago's descendants that he had sold the property to their father. In the 16th century the area was annexed by the Venetian Republic, and Kuberton became property of the Vergerio family. In 1585 it was sold to the Del Bello family, who gave it away to a certain Gropp of Piran as a part of their daughter's dowry. As a private property, Kuberton had its own jurisdiction until the fall of Venice in 1797. After that it shared Sterna's and Groznjan's destiny. It had a school, various trade shops and many farms, but after World War II many people emigrated to Italy and it remained empty, gradually turning to ruins. In the last several years some houses have been renovated and the place has slowly started to live again.




Page 6 of 7
  • Grožnjan - Grisignana
    Grožnjan - Grisignana Grožnjan is located above the Mirna River valley on a hill above the sea level…
  • Antonci
    Antonci A village of Antonci is situated on the slopes by the Mirna valley.Next to the…
  • Bijele zemlje
    Bijele zemlje The Bijele Zemlje region has had communications routes since prehistoric times and later, during the…
  • The Mirna Valley
    The Mirna Valley Ancient Via Flavia, leading from Buje to Pula, crosses the Mirna at the bridge known…
  • Kostanjica
    Kostanjica If you turn from the ancient Via Flavia at Ponte Porton, you will find yourself…
  • Kuberton
    Kuberton Abandoned and then reinhabited, the place invites you to visit. riving from Marusici to Sterna,…
  • Makovci
    Makovci Village facing a spacious plateau. New and old - past and future in one place.…
  • Martinčići
    Martinčići Captivating beauty of a picturesque village on a hill. Old farm buildings are reminders of…
  • Parenzana
    Parenzana Gradnja pruge započela je u svibnju 1900. nakon što su se sve zainteresirane strane usuglasile…
  • Šterna
    Šterna The Sterna municipal area was once very large. It included Kuberton, Topolovec, Kucibreg, Cepici and…
  • Vrnjak
    Vrnjak Vrnjak is situated on a steep hill side. High enough for a good view. Low…
  • Završje
    Završje Zavrsje is nested on a 240-metre high hill, amid marl and sandstone mountainous area where,…

Turisticka zajednica opcine Grožnjan
Ente per il turismo - Comune di Grisignana
Touristichegemeinschaft Grožnjan
Tourist association Grožnjan

Development: Studio WEB ART