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Istria through history
First traces of history in Istria
In order to clearly depict the beauty of Istria and thus make you visit it, we will bring you back to its past, both rich and ancient, which left visible evidence through its numerous preserved archeological, cultural and historical monuments belonging to different cultures and eras. As by a time machine, travel through the history of Istria, start with the pre-history. From that period you can find traces of immemorial inhabitants, the magnificent dinosaurs, along the Istrian coastline around Bale, not far from Pula.
Istria was named after the Illyrian tribe of Histri. It is said that they came on these areas because of water, settling the regions from the Timava River to Mount Učka and the Raša River respectively. The custom of incineration appeared in 11th century BC and represents one of the typical characteristics of the culture of pre-historic tribe of Histri. From times immemorial, specially because of its strategic importance (the exit to the Mediterranean from Central Europe), numerous invaders tried to conquer Istria and thus left their traces not only throughout Europe, but throughout Istria as well. It can be said that all European history "walked" on the grounds of Istria through the contact of three European civilizations – Roman, German and Slavic.
From the Roman Times to Today
Numerous sites are witnessing the existence of the Roman Empire, especially in Pula and Porec. After the fall of the Roman Empire Istria was invaded by Goths, afterwards Byzantium, Slavs, Avars, Slovenes, Croats, Franks and Aquileians. One hundred fifty year dominance of Venice, the influence of the Austrian rulers (the Habsburgs) and all the cultures that have succeeded one another on the Istrian territory have left a significant cultural heritage. During World War I and II Istria suffered great losses and damages under the Italian and German Fascist regime.
Pre-historic findings, Roman Amphitheatre and Triumphal Arches, early Christian Churches, Byzantium Mosaics, Romanic Basilicas, medieval towns on top of hills, Renaissance frescoes, towers and town walls, Gothic Cathedrals, Baroque Palaces, Austro-Hungarian fortifications: these are all silent witnesses of a rich and turbulent Istrian past. You will discover these traces of time in almost every Istrian town, village, locality. You will find them at the most unexpected places: ruins of an old church, old town ruins, theatres and many other monuments will tell you another story or legend of Istria...
The beginnings of tourism in Istria
The development of tourism in Istria dates back to the period of the Roman Empire. It is this time (I century AD) that saw the construction of the Vespasianus' Amphitheatre in Pula that could hold up to 20 thousand spectators, of course for the amusement of citizens and also tourists.
The Istrian geographical position in the proximity of major land and marine routes of Central Europe, its mild Mediterranean climate and the vicinity of the warm sea and the richness of its natural beauties are definitely an advantage which certainly contributed to the development of tourism on these areas.
The beginnings of the modern tourism can be traced back in the 19 century. The time of the Austro-Hungarian
Monarchy saw the boom of tourism and the growth of numerous facilities along the coastline: hotels, boarding houses, restaurants,
beaches and spa baths. Towns like Portorož, Umag, Poreè, Rovinj,
Pula and the Brijuni Islands on the west and the town of Rabac, Lovran and Opatija, the queen of beauty, on the east coast,
started growing into real tourist centers.
The Istrian tourist offer today abounds in tourist capacities and facilities ranging from those situated on the Istrian coast, to those in the Istrian inland, most on demand today. Istria is becoming famous today, apart from its famous stationary tourism in numerous hotels, tourist villages, campsites, private accommodations, for the development of nautical and congress tourism, excursions, hunting and fishing tourism, agrotourism, cultural and eno-gastronomic tourism, sport and recreational tourism, diving and equestrian tourism and ecologic tourism.
Get to Croatia by flying to Venice. Venezia Lines departs daily from Venice to all major resorts in Istria. Day trip tickets available to Venice, to make your Istrian holiday even more memorable.
Istra Inspirit is a series of events that revive history, Istrian myths and legends at authentic locations. Take an opportunity to experience extraordinary magical adventures possible only in Istria!
Ready to feel some adrenaline? Try something fun and new – visit the best adventure park in Istria – Glavani Park. All those who are brave enough, (or feel like they want to be brave ), regardless of their age, will enjoy themselves swinging about amongst the trees.
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