The Region of Istria is the westernmost Region (county) of the Republic of Croatia. It is the largest peninsula of the Adriatic Sea. Such favourable geographic position, almost at the heart of Europe, half way between the Equator and the North Pole, Istria has always represented a bridge connecting the Middle European continental area with the Mediterranean. The Region of Istria covers the surface of 2.820 square kilometres (4.98% of the Republic of Croatia). The basic characteristic of the climate of the Istrian peninsula is given by the Mediterranean climate; dry and warm summers, with the average number if approximately 2.400 sunny hours a year. Winters are mild and pleasant, while it snows very rarely. Sea temperature is the lowest in March when it ranges between 9 and 11°C, while it is the highest in August with 24°C. Thanks to impermeable flisch layers, Istria does not have scarce water resources. The most significant surface water-flows in the area of the Istrian Region are river Mirna (its length is 53 km), Rasa (23 km long), Boljuncica, Dragonja and the underground stream Pazincica. The length of the Istrian coast, along with islands and islets is 539 kilometres. The west coast of Istria is more indented and, together with islands, it is 327 kilometres long. East coast, together with islets, is 212 kilometres long. The coast is well developed with lots of bays, deeper small bays and river mouths. Except for a series of smaller islets in front of the coast from Porec to Rovinj, the Brijuni archipelago stands out in the south. Mild and wavy relief shapes rise up towards the central part of the peninsula, to reach their highest point in the north-east, on the mountain massif of Cicarija and Ucka – peak Vojak with 1396 metres. According to the geological and geomorphic structure, the Istrian peninsula can be divided in three completely different areas. The hilly northern and north-eastern part of the peninsula, due to its scarce vegetation and nude Karst surfaces is also known as White Istria. South-west from White Istria stretches morphologically richer area with lower flisch hills consisting of marl, clay and sandstone, that is why this part is called Grey Istria. Limestone terrace along the coastline covered with red earth is called Red Istria. One third of the Istrian peninsula is covered with woods. Along the coast and on the islands pine woods and macchia prevail. The Istrian soil abounds with natural monuments, among which is the especially interesting Brijuni archipelago, which is the habitat of about 680 plant species. It is also decorated by the most diverse vegetation and olive groves. Among legally protected landscape in the Istrian Region are well-known natural reservations such as National park Brijuni, nature park Ucka, protected landscape Limski Bay, the Motovun Wood, park wood Zlatni Rt and ornithological reservation Palud, park wood Šijana and the protected landscape Kamenjak in the extreme south of Istria.
Situated in the direct proximity of the Western European civilization on one side and on the border of a different cultural milieu on the other, Istria has an enviable history, written at the crossroads of three large European cultures - Slavic, Roman and German. Millennial political claims, incessant tensions and the division of this small area among various states and political influences of dominant European powers decisively influenced the specificity of life and variety of cultural influences on the Istrian peninsula. Through the peninsula, since the ancient times, roads went from the Mediterranean to mid-Europe, or the area of Pannonia and the other way round. Through the turbulent Istrian history, we mark frequent changes of rulers - from the Roman Empire and Byzantium, through the Frank State, the Aquileia Patriarchy, Venetian Republic, the Pazin County, Illyric Provinces, Austria, Italy to Yugoslavia. On this tumultuous area, historic events were caused by frequent migrations and refugees, which also caused the changes of population, traditions and cultures. Numerous nations left their traces in this area: the Liburni, the Histri (after whom the peninsula was named), the Greeks, the Celts, the Romans, the Goths, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines, the Langobards, the Franks, the Venetians, Napoleon, the Austrians, the Italians... In the numerous places you can see Roman amphitheatres, triumphal arches, villas, Byzantine basilicas covered with gold mosaics, medieval towers and ramparts, large and tiny churches, Romanesque buildings, luxurious Gothic and Baroque palaces, Austro-Hungarian fortifications. As if all of European history had been sublimated in this region: every century and every invader engraved, destroyed and rebuilt a certain trait, feature, sanctuary, shrine, road...
Despite numerous historic difficulties, three nations survived until present times: the Croats, the Slovenes and the Italians. Living in the area, together, and often against each other, their common destiny influenced the mutual tolerance, thus developing a harmonious co-existence. At the beginning of 1990s, after the break-up of Yugoslavia, the Region of Istria became one of the twenty Croatian Counties in the independent and free Croatian state. The significance of the westernmost Croatian Region, at the crossroads of three civilizations, is not based only on its agricultural, industrial and especially tourist potentials and a huge richness in monuments and art. This area populated by mixed inhabitants, traditions and cultures represents a part of European civilization. Istria was able to successfully reconcile millennial confrontations of opposing cultural influences, thus confirming its own maturity. For this reason, the Region of Istria belongs to the large European family, which was confirmed in 1994 by its acceptance in the Assembly of European Regions.
ISTRA - REGION OF CULTURE
Throughout its extremely rich history, Istria has been the meeting place of many nations and their cultures. With their presence they all left the traces that today's inhabitants of Istria try to preserve, ennoble and update. Rich ancient historic sites witnessing the colonization of the first inhabitants, Histri's hill-forts from the Bronze Age; ancient Roman monuments; the complex of the Euphrasiana Basilica in Porec from the 6th century listed on the UNESCO's list of protected cultural heritage; other valuable sacral heritage such as the little medieval churches with fresco paintings, and the especially famous gem of the medieval mural painting Dance Macabre in the little church of St. Mary, the largest Istrian church St. Blaise in Vodnjan with the collection of sacral art disposing of 730 works and objects from the period between the 5th and the 19th century and preserved mummified bodies of several saints; remnants of Glagolitic influence in the medieval art and literacy; medieval castles and forts; historic town nucleus of the little towns in the Istrian interior and on the coast; numerous Austrian fortifications from the 19th century in the vicinity of Pula, Italian architecture between the two World Wars; recognizable traditional rural architecture with dry walls and “kazuni” unique dry-wall stone houses in the nature with circular form, are only a part of the rich cultural heritage and contours of the remnants of the unique history of “Terra Magica” (Magic Land), as Istria is frequently called by many people.
Diversity, size and richness of findings are a precondition for many times successfully proven work of a whole series of institutions located in the Region of Istria. The Archaeology Museum, History Museum, Ethnography Museum and a few Native Museums in collaboration with the Conservation Office for the Protection of Cultural Heritage preserved these unique monuments and civilisation richness for future generations with their professional and dedicated work. The conservation of traditional values and manifestations which preserve the local idiom are also witnessing the multi-culture and tolerance of this area and its inhabitants, who kept coming and going for centuries leaving traces behind. Special feature of the Istrian folk tradition is the characteristic way of singing and playing music known as the five-tone Istrian scale, as well as numerous traditional Istrian dialects still in use. Tradition is also the inspiration for numerous artists who remember it, research it, and shape it in a contemporary manner. Their music, written words, figurative and stage expression, witness that homeland values can be and still are universal and lasting. Literary manifestations in the memory of famous Istrian writers, international contest for dialect poetry, awards for literary and translation works about Istria, creation of the Istrian Encyclopaedia, numerous scientific gatherings and the extremely rich editing activity complete the rich palette of cultural creation and encounters in Istria.
Istria is the home of several world renowned cultural manifestations such as the festival IstraEtnoJazz, the Book Fair, the international organ festival Organum Histriae, the Festival of Dance and Non-Verbal Theatre, the Mediterranean Sculpture Symposium, international theatre festivals PUF, MKMF and the Golden Lion and many other cultural events. Istria is the host of two most significant film festivals in the country, Motovun Film Festival, held on Motovun's squares and streets, medieval fortified little town on the hill and Pula Film Festival held at the Roman Amphitheatre (Arena), the largest stage in the open air. Arena is also the site of numerous concerts of the most popular world classic and pop music stars. All these manifestations are an excellent reason to visit Istria and to enjoy in its culture!
Sitio web Principal
Region of Istria
Otros sitios web relevantes
Istria Tourist Board