Tuesday, 4 September 2012



Rovinj is a city in Croatia situated on the north Adriatic Sea. It is located on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula and is a popular tourist resort and an active fishing port.

Rovinj was already a settlement of Illyrian tribes before being captured by the Romans, who called it Arupinium or Mons Rubineus, and later Ruginium and Ruvinium. Built on an island close to the coast, it was connected with the mainland in 1763 by filling in the channel.

It became part of the Byzantine empire, then in the sixth century part of the Exarchate of Ravenna and in 788 part of the Frankish empire. Then it came under the rule of different feudal lords for several centuries. From 1209 it was ruled by the Aquileian patriarch.

From 1283 to 1797 Rovinj was one of the most important towns of Istria under the Republic of Venice. The city was fortified by two rows of walls with three town gates. The remaining town walls date from this period. Close to the pier one can find the old town gate Balbi's Arch, dating from 1680, and a late-Renaissance clock tower. The city got its statutes in 1531.

After the fall of Venice and the Napoleonic interlude, Rovinj was part of the Austrian Empire until World War I. According to the last Austrian census in 1911, 97.8% of the population was Italian-speaking. Then it belonged to Italy from 1918 to 1947, when it was ceded to SR Croatia within SFR Yugoslavia. During that period many of the Italian inhabitants left the city.

In the past 40 years Rovinj has developed into a real tourist center thanks to its nature, the well-indented coast and a large numer of islands, an interesting surrounding, its pleasant mediterranean climate, the variety of accomodations and tourist attractions and its cultural-historical values. All of this makes Rovinj an ideal holiday destination, which has been proven by many acknowledgements by a large number of guests and by many awards of various tourist associations and patrols. 

The local entertainment hub is Monvi, a multimedia centre that includes a night club, an open-air theatre, a number of disco bars, a Mexican restaurant and a pizzeria. It is very popular with locals that travel from neighbouring towns and cities to sample some of its entertainment offerings. Monvi regularly hosts concerts and events with big names from the Croatian popular music scene or international house and techno DJs. Outside of Monvi, nightlife primarily comprises coffee bars or local pub-type bars. In the summer months, the city is filled with young people although it becomes quiet in the winter, with most bars closing early and Monvi centre open only on some weekends.

The busiest area is the very centre of Rovinj, extending from the main bus station toward the old part of town. It is where most bars are located and where locals hang out.

Rovinj's waterfront, called Riva, runs alongside the Adriatic sea bay largely parallel to Carrera Street. It is lined with ice cream parlors, bars and restaurants.

Every August, Rovinj hosts Grisia, a popular open air art fair wherein local and international artists exhibit their work on the cobbled streets of Grisia.

Also in August, usually on the last weekend, the city hosts Rovinj Night, a popular open air summer celebration with local food offerings, beverage and sweet stands, live music over multiple stages and a large fireworks display at midnight.


                                                        Rovinj’s Top 5:
  1. Saint Euphemia's basilica is a Baroque church located in the heart of the historic part of Rovinj, dominating the town. This three-nave church was built in 1736 over the remains of older, early Christian structures. Its façade dates from 1883. The relics of Saint Euphemia are preserved in a Roman sarcophagus from the sixth century (but adapted in the 15th century). The church contains several treasures and works of art: Gothic statues from the 15th century, paintings from the 16th and the 17th centuries: Last Supper and Christ in the Gethsemane. The bell tower resembles the tower of St Mark's Basilica in Venice. It was built during 1654–1680, to the plans by Antonio Manopola. On top of this 60 meter-high tower stands the statue of St. Euphemia, serving as a wind vane.
  2. The Rovinj islands and mainland. These natural sights have been described as "outstanding scenic wonders," because of the pristine beauty of the indented coastline and its forests, consisting of holm oak and Alpine pine trees. This area "of outstanding natural beauty" extends from St. Ivan promontory to Barbariga, including all the Rovinj islands and the mainland 500 metres from the shore line. The Rovinj archipelago consists of 19 islands.
  3. Grisia.   Grisia Street is a beautiful street with cascading steps that leads up to the plateau of the parish church of St. Euphemia. It belongs to the most recognizable trademarks of the old town of Rovinj. The street is picturesquely cobbled with winding stone staircase. It is unique for its one-day art competition exhibition, which has been organized in Grisia continuously since August 1967 by the Rovinj Heritage Museum.
    The exhibition was created at the initiative of members of the Art Colony who aim to contribute to the spreading of visual arts and the revitalization of the town by gathering artists and displaying their works out in the open. A great number of artists display their works on Grisia attracting the attention of visitors and tourists. Artists such as Mascarelli, Bassani, Matić, Milić, Škrnjug, Šumonja, Vuličević and many others participated in this street exhibition numerous times.  
  4. The Castle on St. Andrew's Island. A Benedictine monastery founded in the 6th century. In the 15th century the Franciscans expanded and enlarged it. Baron Hütterott renovated it at the end of the 19th century. Today, the castle has been turned into a hotel and is decorated by works of the official painter of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, Alexander Kircher.
  5. Dvigrad. the remains of a mediaeval town. During Illyrian times, two colonies existed which later, in early mediaeval times, became two towns, Parentino and Moncastello. The former quickly became extinct, whereas the latter, in the ownership of the Aquileian patriarch, developed further under the name of Duecastelli. Lateron, like the most part of the Istrian coast, Dvigrad fell under Venetian power. In the mid 17th century malaria and the plague were rifie in Istria, which didn't spare the citizens of Dvigrad either. Thus, in 1631 most of the 700 hundred inhabitants left the town, and the remaining three families left in 1714, when the church of St.Sophia was abandoned as well. The relics and the pulpit from the 14th century were transferred into the church of St. Silvester in Kanfanara, where the inhabitants of Dvigrad had moved as well. The town is very well maintained, since it hadn't been destroyed in the wars that were ravaging through Istria, but rather because it was abandoned by the inhabitants of the town. The town gates still exist, as well as two circles of the town walls, some of the defense towers are maintained, as well as the most part of the 200 houses. The St. Sophia Church was an early Christian church with three naves which dominated the town and which was built on solid rock. Unfortunately, because the church wasn't being maintained, it decayed in the 19th century. Until recently, the town has been abandoned to snakes, the macchia, the north-eastern wind and to the ravages of time, but lately it is undergoing restoration, so that Dvigrad has become a must for everybody who finds oneself closeby. It is only a 20 minute car ride away from Rovinj.


Intrepid Travel

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