About Istria

12/20/04

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Istria

Why would you want to come to Istria? Well, the beautiful clean Adriatic sea for starters. Jacques Cousteau himself, has described the Adriatic as having some of the cleanest waters in the world. Croatia has some 1,778 kms of coastline and over 1,000 islands. The climate is wonderful, with long hot summers, sea temperatures in the twenties and yet the evenings are not stiflingly hot.  Inland Istria has been described as the new Tuscany and the lush verdant hills around Motovun and Groznjan afford incredible views over the region, down to the sea and across to Mount Ucka. There are wild deer in the hills and a variety of fauna and flora, including red squirrel, much of which has been lost to the UK.

Istria is a mountainous peninsula, facing the Gulf of Trieste to the West and the Gulf of Kvarner to the East. To the North is the Karst Plateau. It has an area of about 3,885 sq km (1,500 sq mi), and is heavily forested and chiefly agricultural; cereals, fruit, grapes, and olives are the main crops. It has been ruled by and subject to various different cultures - ancient Istria was the home of Illyrian tribes. It was conquered by the Romans in 177 bc and was under nominal Byzantine rule until ad 752, after which it was dominated by a series of overlords. It has at different times passed from Venetian to Austrian, to Italian rule. Following the defeat of Austria in World War I it was awarded to Italy. After World War II, the free territory of Trieste was partitioned from the north of Istria, and the remainder of the peninsula was ceded to Yugoslavia. In 1991 Croatia, previously a Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia whose territory encompasses Istria, declared independence from Yugoslavia. The four year war which followed largely left Istria untouched.

For long periods of time Istria has been under Italian domination and that influence is still strongly felt in the architecture, particularly in towns like Porec and Rovinj, the food, the language (some people here speak Italian as their first language) and the attitude to life. Seafood is particularly good here, whilst farming methods are much less intense than in the UK so that far fewer chemicals are used and you will find genuinely organic produce in the markets. There is an abundance of fruit throughout the year, including cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, grapes, figs, mulberry, pomegranate and persimmon to say nothing of the apples and pears that are frequently used in the local cuisine. There is a strong tradition of winemaking and you will find homemade wine on sale throughout the province, as well as rakija, the local spirit. You will also find Prsut on the menu, the local variant of Parma ham, as well as locally produced cheese.

 

 

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This site was last updated 12/20/04