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Travel guide for holidays in central Istria

The history of central Istria

Central Istria, known as the 'Green Istria', includes many small towns rich in history and fortresses on hills with picturesque bell towers. Central Istria and its administrative center of Pazin, 'the heart of Istria', will take you through the maze of narrow streets and passages (suitable for cyclists), and the fascinating landscape of cultural and natural wealth: medieval castles on the hills, forests with truffles, vineyards and olive groves which produce olive oil known since ancient times.

Travel guide for holidays in central Istria

Almost every hill in central Istria has its own hidden fortress on top. Motovun is photogenic beauty, history and interesting historical sites can be compared with Oprtalj - unique bell tower of the Church of St. George in the form of a square tower, and numerous other churches from different periods. Groznjan is a mythical medieval town that offers a touch of art with its 18 galleries and art studios, and summer International Film School. Pazin, Guran and Kanfanar also looks like they originate from some other past times.

Culture of central Istria

Each of the main roads from the eastern, western and southern Istria, will take you to Pazin. It is the administrative center of Istria County, located in the center of the Istrian peninsula. Pazin fortress castle was elevated above the river Pazincica, a natural phenomenon placed under special protection. From this fortress manage Pazin municipality, the land of the Habsburgs. This is, without doubt, the finest example of the development of karst hydrography. French writer Jules Verne has even placed part of his novel Mathias Sandorf in this landscape. Today Castle serves as the home of the Ethnographic Museum and the Pazin City Museum.

If you go north of Pazin, for only twenty minutes you will arrive in the beautiful Motovun, most important inhabited place of this region since prehistory. This picturesque medieval town is located on a hill and has a rich cultural and historical heritage. Oversees the Mirna River valley and the popular Motovun forest, a habitat of the best truffle in the world.

If you continue to move upstream, you will reach the town located on a hill in the middle of the fertile valley of the river Mirna, Buzet. Inhabited was already in prehistoric times, and fortified during the Roman rule. The main square with the parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the heart of the old town. When you're there, do not miss to visit the Municipal Museum of Buzet. In 1999, Buzet was publicly proclaimed the town of truffle, unique fruit of this mystical land.

You should also visit the Roc, an important cultural center, as well as Hum, the smallest town in the world. Between these two small towns, there is a unique memorial avenue, dedicated to old Croatian Glagolitic alphabet and culture. In just a couple of hours, one of the many hiking trails can take you from the picturesque mediaeval architecture over the forested hills of Cicarija, the largest Istrian mountain and park of nature, Ucka (1396 meters). It is one of the last places in Europe, where the patient bird lovers have the opportunity to encounter the impressive silhouette of the griffon vulture or the golden eagle.

If you go from Pazin towards the south, you will find yourself in Zminj, a small town where the old stone houses are now in a function of agritourism. Here you can find accommodation and enjoy the local Istrian cuisine and unspoiled nature.

If you continue the journey to the south, you will come to Svetvincenat, the art center of southern Istria. It is located on the karst hill and surrounded by woods, pastures and vineyards. Kastel, churches and beautiful Renaissance square form a beautiful environment for exceptional artistic events.

Travel guide for holidays in central Istria

Central Istria - the activities that you can enjoy

In the small village of Kastelir Labinci you wil find a collection of ethnological goods of Vittorio Rossoni, which will reveal that the old folk of Istria was engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding. This is not surprising considering that the central Istria is the famous gastronomic destination. You can taste the delicious local specialties on many events, so do not miss the truffle fair in the Meadows, soups Festival in Gracisce or visit the family farm in Jadruhi, Rocko Polje and many other places.

Central Istria - Entertainment and events

The roads leading to the vineyards and olive oils have recently filled with cyclists that can enjoy more than 2,000 miles of trails, numerous competitions, including those in mountain biking. Here can you enjoy the Motovun forest and the medieval town Dvigrad, which was abandoned in the 17th century. The road will take you to the Baredine cave, 132 meters deep, and you will be sure to cool off from the summer heat. 'Night owls' can enjoy the Motovun Film Festival or the observatory in Visnjan, which is one of the 12 most productive observatories in the world.

Central Istria - how to reach us

Central Istria can be reached in different ways such as: bus lines that are linked with the entire Croatia: train, which stops at the closest stations in Rijeka or in Pula; plane, the closest airports are on the island of Krk and in Pula; boat that goes from all ports on the Istrian coast with the main harbour in Pula; by car, which can come from any direction, and which is the safest and most free way to travel.

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