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RovinjThis is Istria:

The navel of Europe. A coffer full of secrets, wisdom and the essence of the Old Continent. What about the key? You have it inside, you can comprehend Istria with your soul, your essence is hiding here. Immerse into this miniature planet and you will discover beauty and the troth abaut yourself. Istria is the largest Adriatic peninsula, heart-shaped red soil, ancient Europe's closest Mediterranean, almost reaching to her heart. Your nearest true South, right here, below the Alps, in Croatia. Here, where civilizations and people meet, where cultures, customs and opinions are interwoven. Searching for the Golden Fleece, mythical Argonauts followed the River Ister as far as the Adriatic Sea. Isn't that our tiny River Mirna, while the Ister gave its name to our peninsula? Or was it named after the native Histrians? Stone ruins, the seven thousand year-old home of ancestors, are visible on the nearby hills. In the numerous towns you can gaze at 2,000 years of history, you can acratch it with your nails: Roman amphitheatre, triumphal arches, villas, Byzantine basilicas covered with gold mosaics, medieval towers and town walls, large and tiny churches, Romanesque buildings, loxurious Gothic and Baroque palaces, Austro - Hungarian fortifications... As if all European history had been sublimated in this region: Histrians, Romans, Byzantium, Ostrogoths, Lombards, Franks, Venice, Napoleon, Austria-Hungary. Every century and every invader engraved, destroyed and rebuilt a centrain trait, certain feature, sanctuary, shrive, road, a certain seal of his age. There were armies and plagues, prosperity and inspiration. Some came to Istria to rule, some to enjoy the pastoral atmosphere, emperors and popes came here, Casanova to make love, philosophers, saints and hermits to search for the secrets of the Other World in the mundane repose. Roman poets and Renaissance troubadours praised Istria in their verses, Dante Alighieri described Istria in The Divine Comedy, Jules Verne led his hero Mathias Sandorf through the caves and underground streams of the Istrian undeworld, James Joyce wrote here... Martial, the most famous Roman epigrammatist, praised his native Córdoba: "...more fertile than oily Venafro and as perfect as Istrian oil in an amphora".

Istria is the homeland of olives,figs, almonds and grapes, the homeland of innumerable little wonders. BrioniIstria is a park luxuriously decorated with nature: fertile valleys, fields stretching as far as the sea, the mountain of Ucka, more than 1,000 meters high, brooks, waterfalls, rocks and sand, all together in this small region. A road may take You to a tiny church covered with multicoloured frescoes and decorated with wooden statuesof saints made by local craftmen. Istrians worship Jesus from Nazareth, because one is closer to God and religion in this little church than in a magnificent cathedral. You will find another local feature in these churches. An unusual, unknown script, neither Latin nor Cyrillic, but the Glagolitic script. This ancient Croatian script, which existed only in this part of the world, was used throughout the centuries. Graffiti, players, church registers, as well as important documents were written in Glagolitic letters. Istria has its script ! The second road leads you to a plain inn or tavern where the wine is considered to be the gift of gods. A modest, but delicious dish will be offered on a tray or on crockery. Another miracle - a truffle! A white truffle, a divine gastronomic speciality, an aphrodisiac, tuber - mushroom which grows under the ground. The third road will lead you to a village party, church or lay celebration: the ancient "balun" dance on the square, archaic instruments - ro?enice, mih and duplice, and two - part harsh song. Red-hot sun immerses into the sea. The Istrian night is beckoning you. Artists rush to Istria, because this enchanntress intoxicates them, seduces them and fornicates with them. Whoever comprehends Istria will always be faithful to her. Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus, an honourable gentleman and a senatour, in the year 537 reduced all the words from this breviary into a single sentebce: "Patricians lead a divine life in Istria".

Location, Istria is the Adriatic below the Alps. Central Europe's closest Mediterranean. The westernmost County of the Republic of Croatia, and the largest peninsula of the Adriatic coast. It lieas on the 45 th parallel, emphasizing its idyllic geographical position, with prfrctly arranged seasons, springs of lush greenery, colorful autumns, pleasant summers and mild winters. On west side: Umag, Novigrad, Poreč, Rovinj, Vrsar, Pula, Medulin, Banjole and on the east side: Rabac, Labin, Ravni, Prtlog, Opatija, Lovran

Area, 2.820 km2 (triangle Dragonja, Rt Kamenjak, Ucka).

Population, 200.000.

Coast length, 445,1 km (well-indented coast is twice as long as the road one) The western coast of Istria is 242,5 km long, with islands 327,5 km (178,1 M). The eastern coast of Istria is 202,6 km long, with the pertaining islets 212,4 km (114,5 M).

Climate, mild, Mediterranean climate (warm and dry summers, mild and pleasant winters) Average amount of sunshine: 2.388 hours. Owing to the day's length and plenty of clear days throughout the summer it has the longest insolation with a daily average of 10 hours in Istrian seaside resorts. Characteristic winds are "bura" (wind blowing from the north to the south, bringing clear weather), "jugo" (south, warm wind bringing rain) and "maestral" (summer breeze blowing from the land to the sea).

Vegetation, Istria is the largest green oasis of the North Adriatic. The coast and the islands are covered with pine woods and easily recognizable green macchia. The main specimens of macchia are holm oak and strawberry trees. 35% Istria is covered with forests.

Rivers, Mirna, Dragonja and Rasa.

Sea, the lowest sea temperature is in March ranging from 9.3 C up to 11.1 C and being the highest in August when it reaches 23.3 C and 24.1 C; salinity amounts approximately to 36 - 38 pro mille.

Accommodation in Istria: Hotels, Apartments (self catering accommodation units), Apartment settlements (self catering units & half board units possible), Mobil homes, Campings, Yachts & Yachtcharter
Accommodation destinations: Umag, Novigrad, Porec, Rovinj, Vrsar, Pula, Medulin, Rabac, Labin, Ravni, Prtlog, Lovran, Opatija

History, On this vary area three Europan civilizations met through history – the Roman, Slavic and Germanic. And the entire European history permeated through Istria. The name of the Peninsula originates from Greek legends, the myth of Argonauts and the Golden Fleece. They called the Danube, Istros and believed that it had several river mouths and sources, and with one of them, probably our Mirna River, they sailed into the Adriatic, thus naming the Peninsula.
Already in the 3 rd century BC the Romans named the native population of the Peninsula the Histri, and in the 2 nd century BC they conquered them. Then six centuries of Roman rule followed, barbarian tribes, Byzantium, Charlemagne's Franks, German-Roman ruler Otto, Aquileian church oligarchy, half a millennium of Venice, Austrian counts, Napoleon, Austria-Hungary, fascism, Nazism, Yugoslavia.
Today Istria is the westernmost County of the Republic of Croatia.
Here seven millennia of its history can be touched, scented, absorbed, Istria is the blackboard of history: prehistoric hill-forts, Roman amphitheaters and triumphal arches, early Christian churches, Byzantine mosaics, Romanesque basilicas, medieval towns on nearly every hilltop, Renaissance frescoes, towers and town walls, magnificient architectural decorations, Gothic cathedrals, Baroque palaces, Austro-Hungarian fortifications.
Dozen of museums are the treasuries of history.
Euphrasius' Basilica in Porec, built in 553, is part of UNESCO's universal cultural hritage, while Pula's classical monuments and medieval frescoes in small churches that are the works of local masters are waiting to be listed.
During the rule of Emperor Vespasianin the 1 st century the magnificient Amphitheater in Pula, which served primarily for gladiator fights, was erected. It was constructed in the form of an ellipse and could hold about 20 000 spectators.
Perhaps the best way to experience the inspiration of history and centuries gone by is through a play in the ancient theater, opera in the Roman Amphitheater, classical music concerts in cathedrals, jazz happenings in the ancient castle or popular play in one of the Renaissance squares, at the film festival under the starry night of the medieval town.
Istria is truly a handful of history.

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