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In the center of Istrian peninsula, surrounded by picturesque green fertile fields, there is Žminj. The legend says that once upon a time, there were two nice twin-cities. One was at the place of today’s Žminj, and the other on a nearby hill. This is why they called them Gemini. Once both of them lived in abundance, but after several centuries of wars and robberies, life disappeared from one of the small towns and the remaining residents kept the name as remembrance. Today, as in ancient times, Žminj is incredibly well connected with surrounding areas. There are many roads leading out from the small town to the surrounding villages. Local people have been using them since prehistoric times.
The old part of the town boasts the quiet charm of the times gone by. Walking through its core, we find an ancient castle, old church with a valuable inventory and the medieval walls that fit into the walls and fences of houses built in a unique way. Because of its exceptional natural beauty, endless meadows, vineyards, rich fields, ancient forests and newly discovered caves, it is a true place for contact with nature. The local houses have still preserved their indigenous features, generously giving their residents and to the always-welcome guests, a sense of real home as it once was. Žminj territory is really a very picturesque combination of lush greenery and traditional Istrian architecture, but its real wealth lies in people. Here in this quiet and beautiful area, people deeply respect the traditions and heritage of their ancestors. Local residents are famous for preparing food as their ancestors did – here, cooking is still done according to old grandmothers’ recipes combined perfectly with nature's gifts, carefully grown on local farms.
In the distant prehistoric times, Žminj was inhabited as a fort. From the time of the Iron Age, the remains of pottery have been found, although it is assumed that several villages existed in the vicinity. At the same time, roads to nearby villages were built, which are still in use today. The Roman rule brings the extension of the village, better roads and more dense population. The Slavic population settled in the early Middle Ages, as evidenced by the cemetery from the 8th century. Below the village, an early medieval Slavic necropolis was excavated from the period after the Frankish conquest. After its magnitude, we found that a larger settlement existed there. Žminj was first mentioned in 1178 in the charter of Pope Alexander III. In the 12th century, Žminj entered the circuit of Pazin County (German Schwing, Swingk). From this time the fact that Žminj was among the most developed and richest places in Istria is recorded. In the 14th century, because of the attacks of the Venetians, refugees from other villages as well as fugitives from the Turks settled here.
During Venice, Žminj did not fall under the rule of the Venetians, but it still was ruthlessly exploited and robbed. In the 15th and 16th century, Žminj was an important economical and cultural center. At that time, while the rest of Istria suffered from malaria and cholera, due to its location, Žminj was spared because it was not near the wetlands and therefore there were no mosquitoes to carry the disease. After the fall of the Venetian republic, the whole Istria fell under Austrian rule where it remained until 1918. Between 1805 and 1814, Istria was under French authorities. From 1809 until 1814, the whole of Istria was one of the Illyrian Provinces. After that, the centennial Austrian rule began. During Austrian government, Žminj confirmed its status of the traffic and economic center. After World War I, Žminj fell under the rule of Italy and, as well as the whole Istria, passed through a difficult period. During World War II, Žminj and the surroundings were destructed by the bombing and military violence of the German army. In 1945, it was freed and finally in 1991 it became an integral part of Croatia.
Castle - built in the 15th century, preserved tower and wing works
The parish church of St. Michael - from the 17th century, with a statue of St Michael
Holy Trinity Church - with beautiful frescoes from the 15th century
Church of St. Anthony - built in the 14th century; Glagolitic graffiti inside
Church of St.Bartulo - built in the 16th century
Church of St.Foška - built in the 9th century with a statue of the saint Calvary - built in the18th century
Feštinsko kraljevstvo – cave with beautiful shapes
Žminj, Days of cheese-cheese and other dairy products 09.05.-10.05.
Žminj, Bartulja - the largest Istrian folk festival, 24.08.
Barban, Tilting at the Ring (trka na prstenac)- Traditional game 21.08.-23.08.
Barban, Feast of figs - Gastronomic event based on figs 12.09.
Žminj, Makarunijada - Competition in preparing macaroni dishes 26.09.-27.09.
Žminj, Street Race - automotive event 03.10.-04.10
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.
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.
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!
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