Motovun is a village in central Istria in Croatia. The medieval town, which was built on the site of an ancient city called Castellieri, has about 530 inhabitants. It is 270 meters above sea level on a hill with houses scattered all over the hill. On the inner walls of the houses there are a large number of coats of arms of the various ruling families of Motovun and the village is also home to two tombstones of Roman residents from the 1st century.
Ancient building ensemble
In the 10th and 11th centuries Motovun belonged to the Bishop of Parenzo. From the 12th century, the place called Montona in Italian was taken over by Venice and surrounded by massive walls, which are still intact today and were used as a walkway with a unique view. All three areas of the village are connected by a system of internal and external fortifications with towers and city gates with elements of Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance styles, which were built between the 14th and 17th centuries. Motovun is a typical example of Venetian colonial architecture and offers many attractions at this time.
Below the hill flows the Mirna river and on the other side of the water there is the famous Motovun forest with an area of about 10 square kilometers. 280 hectares of the huge area are specially protected today. This area is not only completely different from the surrounding forests, but also from those of the entire surrounding karst area due to its wildness, moist soils and black and white truffles that grow successfully here. Since this mushroom grows underground, it is collected with the help of specially trained dogs. In order to preserve the natural conditions for the development of Motovun Forest, the protected area is occasionally flooded, although the Mirna River is usually controlled and its entire valley is protected from flooding. But not only the white Istrian truffle is a reason to visit this region. Wine is also grown in the Mirna valley and the area offers attractive hiking opportunities, especially in autumn.
The greenest and most sophisticated island in Northern Dalmatia
From the air, the southernmost of the Kvarner islands looks like a green lobster in the midst of spacious bays, surrounded by golden-yellow sandy beaches. When the ferry from the mainland approaches the quay in Misnjak, the image of an initially bare rocky desert develops into a wonderland of fertile fields and green forests. Felix Arba – “happy Rab” – was what the Romans called this green island in the Kvarner Bay of today’s Croatia. In old walls, churches and palaces, the island of Rab has left a history that is over 2000 years old.
City of Rab – a pearl of bygone times on a heavenly piece of earth
The happy holiday island inspires with a living history. Even today, the beautiful medieval old town is a vivid example of the economic splendor of bygone times. Quaint alleys in the charm of cobbled streets, lined with old walls, numerous villas and impressive monuments invite you to take a historical stroll through the city. Four bell towers form the special silhouette of the city. The Romanesque Mariendom, the Franciscan monastery and the Church of St. Andrew are particularly worth seeing.
Island paradise and beach magic
In the rhythmic alternation of isthmuses, hills and fields, the island relief proves to be extraordinarily beautiful. Fantastic beaches and secluded bays with a Venetian flair – the English King Edward VIII dropped his cloak here and plunged into the waters of the blue Adriatic. In the 1920s, Rab was a summer destination for the European aristocracy. Crystal clear water laps the island with its idyllic bays and secluded natural terraces prove to be true refuges for those seeking peace and quiet – a wonderful day of bathing is guaranteed. Like hardly any other place in Croatia, there are also fine sandy beaches here. Lopar is a very popular place to stay for swimming. If you like, you can charter a taxi boat and easily reach the picturesque pebble and rocky beaches of the remote bathing area.
Meanwhile, hiking enthusiasts can enjoy the magical mountain landscape. His way leads to the highest mountain on the island, the Kamenjak. From here there is an impressive panoramic view, which opens up the entire splendor of the Kvarner Bay and the opposite mainland. The mountain restaurant is worth a visit. It not only inspires with a wonderful view, spoiled palates can also enjoy the delicious traditional cuisine.
Of the seven tranquil villages on the island, Suha Punta stands out in particular. The small settlement enchants with jungle-like overgrown rock bays in lush green nature.