BARBAN – is a picturesque, Medieval fortified settlement in the southern part of eastern Istria, above the Rasa River valley,
on the main road Pula – Labin – Rijeka, 27 km northeast of Pula, 18 km from the Istrian Ypsilon; has a population of 235 inhabitants.
The centre of the Municipality of Barban, which has its way-out into the Rasa Bay, encompasses an area of 100 km2 and
a population of 2802 inhabitants. Apart from Barban, the green surrounding area comprises some 73 villages and hamlets.
Barban's rich history dates back to the 13th century when it belonged to the Feud of Pazin under the sovereignty of the
Counts of Gorica. In 1374, as Istria fell under the dominion of the Habsburg family, so did Barban too. The war between Austria
and Venice (1508-1516) brought so much devastation throughout the area, that Barban surrendered to the power of Venice in
1516. In 1535 Barban was purchased by the Loredan, an illustrious Venetian family. The settlement remained under their rule
until 1869, for as long as 334 years.
Following the war with France in 1805, Austria ceded the Venetian part of Istria
to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy. Soon after France was defeated, the Congress of Vienna convened in 1815 and added Istria
to Austria. From this period until the end of the First World War (1918) Istria was ruled by Austria.
Barban is rich
in antique monuments and curiosities: 4 churches (county church of St. Nicholas – erected in 1701 in Baroque style,
instead of an old one, much smaller in Romanesque style; church of St. James the Apostle, church of St. Anthony the Abbot,
church of Holy Virgin Mary of the Valley); the remains of the antique city walls: the Big Gate, “Velika vrata”
(western entrance gate, constructed in 1718), the Small Gate, “Mala vrata” (eastern gate, 1720) with its magnificent
remains of the city walls; (constructed in 1555); the tower with underground perimeter wall, remains of the medieval citadel;
Glagolitic inscriptions in the church of St. Anthony the Abbot and Glagolitic graphite in the church of St. James; the antique
inscriptions dating back to the 1st century AD; the porch (clock tower burned in 1944) as part of the old central square and
the Loredan Palace (erected in 1606); frescoes from the 15th century in the church of St. James the Apostle (work of the master
John from Kastav); a stone baptistery; a Gothic stone tabernacle from the 15th century (work of the artist Dominique from
Koper) and wooden sculpture of St. Nicholas in the same named church; paintings on the altars in the church of St. Nicholas
done by the scholars of Palma the Minor (1544-1628), a Titian scholar; paintings on the interior walls and peaked arch roof
from the 15th century in the church of St. Anthony the Abbot and many others.
Well preserved Baroque and Gothic monuments,
frescoes, Glagolitic inscriptions, churches, palaces, city walls and the antique chivalry game Trka na prstenac, make Barban
a favourable destination for those interested in cultural and historical heritage.