(Redirected from Istria County
Istria county - Istarska županija / Regione istriana is the westernmost county of Croatia which includes the biggest part of the Istrian peninsula (2820 out of 3160 km²; Istra in Croatian and Slovenian). Its administrative center is Pazin/Pisino.
Its coastline is 445 km long with islands making up 539.9 km. A smaller part of Istria also belongs to the Primorje-Gorski Kotar county of Croatia. Mirroring the bay of Venice across the Adriatic and the Gulf of Kvarner, the region is not far from the Julian Alps. The western most point is at Savudrija while the southern most is near Premantura, (Promontorio in Latin), on the local promontory Kamenjak.
The terrain consists of a limestone plateau, much of which lacks water owing to its karst topography. The northeastern section is an extention of the Dinaric Alps. The highest point is Vojak on Učka mountain 1,401 m above sea level while another range of mountains is Ćićarija.
There are so called "bijela", "siva", "crvena" Istra, (white, grey and red Istria). White Istria is around the mountain peaks, Grey Istria is the fertile inner lands while Red Istria is blood-red painted lands of terra rossa or " crljenica" near the coastline.
Sites such as the Grotto of Beredine near Poreč, the underground river Foiba in Pazin is a popular geologic attraction. The Limski Kanal is the only fjord resembling structure in Europe outside of Scandinavia. The quarry near Rovinj is specifically designed for studying geology. The longest river, Mirna (Mirna=she, the tranquil one in the Croatian language) is only 32 km long with its mouth near Novigrad /Cittanova . Other rivers that pass through Istria include the Dragonja River and Raša River.
The continental plains and valleys, are primarily utilized for agricultural produce such as cereals and vegetables. Closer to the sea, red lands are used for cultivation of grapes, vine, olives and figs. Agriculture and the production of ecological food, the olive gardens, and the production of quality wines, is the focus of Istria's agriculture sector . The coastline and nearby islands are rich in Mediterranean vegetation with pine woods - the green macchi, (mostly holm oak and strawberry tree). Woods, mostly oak and pine trees, cover a third of the territory.
The well-known natural reservations national park Brijuni and nature park Učka are legally protected landscapes. Other interesting localities are Lim Kanal, wood near Motovun , park woods Zlatni Rt and Šijana near Pula, protected landscape Kamenjak in the extreme south of Istria, the reservation Palud, (ornithology), near Rovinj. Brijuni archipelago is interesting as the habitat of about 680 plant species, also decorated by the most diverse vegetation and olive groves.
Protected from the north by the mountain chain of Alps as well the inner highland, the climate is Mediterranean, very pleasant, with the highest air temperature averaging 24°C during August and lowest averaging 5°C, in January. Summers are warm and dry with over 10 hours of sunshine daily. Temperatures above 10°C last for more than 240 days a year. Excessive heats, (above 30°C), last for three weeks at most. Despite air temperatures being lower then those of in Dalmatia, the Adriatic sea is warmer, reaching up to 26°C in August, coldest in March, (9-11°C), while the freezing even in small, shallow bays is very rare. Two kinds of winds are here - the "bura" or "bora" is bringing cold and clear weather from the north in winters, and the southern "Jugo", (jug=south) bringing rain in summer. "'Maestral"' is a the summer breeze blowing from the inland to the sea. The salinity of the sea water is 0.37 %.
Over 205 000 people or 4.65% of the state population live here. Population density is 73 inhabitants per km² with an average age of 40.2 years for the entire population.
Beside Pula/Pola which is the biggest urban area with 82 000, cities are Porec/Parenzo, Rovinj/Rovigno, Pazin/Pisino, Labin/Albona, Novigrad /Cittanova, Umag/Umago, Buzet/Pinguente, Buje/Buie, Vodnjan /Dignano. About 70.7% of the population lives in the urban areas.
Municipalities are: Bale, Barban, Brtonigla, Cerovlje, Fažana, Gračišće, Grožnjan, Kanfanar, Karojba, Kaštelir-Labinci, Castellier-Santa Domenica, Kršan, Lanišće, Ližnjan, Lupoglav, Marčana, Medulin , Motovun , Oprtalj, Pićan, Raša, Sveti Lovreč, Sveta Nedelja, Sveti Petar u Šumi, Svetvinčenat, Tinjan, Višnjan, Vižinada, Vrsar, Žminj. Numerous are small municipalities and hamlets. In whole Istria there are actually more than 600 of them. So called smallest town in the world - Hum, (hum=mound) is populated by just three families (22 people).
In everyday life here, the Čakavian dialect is in use. As in the rest of Croatia official language here is based on the Štokavian dialect. Italian is also recognized in the province as an official minority language, and is widely understood even by the majority Croats (due to the popularity of Italian TV).
As for 2001 the population structure is:
Today, one finds here a small community of people, that speak the ancient Romanian dialect of Istro-Romanian.
Due to its traditional bond with Europe, its level of international integration, in 1994 Istria was the first region from former Yugoslavia to be officially designated as Region of Europe. This might be the reason why Istrians have second thoughts and are suspicious of official policies made in Zagreb.
Istra is well connected with the rest of Croatia and Europe. Due to its connection with a wider European area, road development suitably covers all needs and contributes to a balanced development of the coastal area and the Istrian interior.
Initially, the need for railroads in Istria was based upon fast development of industrial activities; shipbuilding, construction material, machine and electric industries, as well as Austrian military interests. After Vienna and Trieste were connected in 1876, the railway between Divača , (in today's Slovenia) and Pula, (122 km long with 21 km long branch Kanfanar - Rovinj), was opened. Despite numerous initiatives, the western part of Istria have been connected with the railroad only at the turn of 20th century 1902, with construction of the narrow-gauge track Poreč - Trieste. The famous 123.1 km long "Parenzana", or Parenzaner Bahn, was cancelled in 1935.
The nearest commercial airport is in Pula.
The caves near Pula, Lim fjord--Sandalja and Roumald's cave, house stone age archeaological remains. Less ancient stone age sites, from the period between 6000-2000 BC, can also be found in the area. More than 400 locations are classified as bronze age, (1800 - 1000 BC), items. Numerous findings including weapons, tools, and jewelry), which are from the earlier iron era around the birth of Christ.
The Istria peninsula was known to Romans as the terra magica. Its name is derived from the Illyrian tribe called Histri , who, according to geographer Strabo, lived in the region. Romans described them as pirates who were hard to conquer due to difficulties they experienced when navigating along their territory. After two military campaigns, Roman legions finally subdued them in 177 BC.
With the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, Istria was conquered by the Longobards and the Goths. With the end of the 6th century, Croats arrived and built their first permanent settlement around the year 620. Istria was annexed by the Franks during the reign of (Pippin III) in 789, then successively controlled by various dukes, (Carinthia, Meran, Bavaria), and the patriarchs of Aquileia. It became a territory of the republic of Venice in 1267 and passed to the Habsburgs in 1797, (reverting temporarily to Napoleon in 1805 - 1813.
Starting in 1861, the capital of Istria and the seat to a Regional Parliament in Austro-Hungarian Empire was in Poreč. According to the peace treaty of Rapallo , between 1920 and 1943, Istria was part of Italy. Forced italianisation and later Nazi occupation spoiled otherwise tolerant ethnic relations. After the World War II, Istria was assigned to Yugoslavia and in the process, from (1945 - 1947), an estimated 15,000 Italian were killed while 300,000 survived. Some well known exiles from Istria include race driver Mario Andretti, singer Sergio Endrigo , and boxer Nino Benvenutti .
Famous individuals like Robert Koch and writer James Joyce lived and worked in Istria. Writer Jules Verne was inspired to write after hearing of (quarry and cave) in Pazin and the poet Dante Alighieri visited and wrote about Istria after it inspired him.
Well-developed are processing industry , with traditional agriculture, sea fishing and growing, construction and production of construction materials (lime, cement, brick, stone), trade and transport. Most developed branches of industry are shipbuilding, (In the early 1970s its shipyard Uljanik was building the biggest ships in the world as Berge Adria and others), metal processing, Also the wood, furniture, automotive components,electric machines and appliances, glass, plastic, textile, tobacco. According to economic indicators, the leading activities are processing industry, tourism, and trade.
Great attention is being given to agriculture and the production of ecologic food, the wine and olive growing.
Organized tourism in Istria goes back to the Romans, when emperor Vaspasian , for the entertainment of that time, built the amphitheater (Arena) in Pula. During the reign of Austro-Hungarian Empire in (1866), Austrian and Hungarian royalty and aristocracy started visiting local resorts and discovered Poreč.
Significant efforts were made after World War II, to develop the tourist infrastructure and to accentuate its importance. In combination with the natural beauties, rich history and cultural heritage, investments paid off and resulted in highly developed, competitive service all along the western coast in Porec, Pula, Rovinj, Umag, Novigrad, and Vrsar .
In the eastern part, as part of another county, there are resorts like Rabac , Opatija. Istria was and still is the most important tourist destination in Croatia, hosting the western and central European visitors. Area is the most visited tourist region with 27% of all visitors and 35% of time spent in all of Croatia.
Istria county is divided:
- City of Pula (Pola)
- City of Pazin
- City of Poreč (Parenzo)
- Town of Buje (Buie)
- Town of Buzet
- Town of Labin
- Town of Novigrad (Cittanova)
- Town of Rovinj (Rovigno)
- Town of Umag (Umago)
- Town of Vodnjan (Dignano)
- Municipality of Bale (Valle)
- Municipality of Barban
- Municipality of Brtonigla (Verteneglio)
- Municipality of Cerovlje
- Municipality of Fažana (Fasana)
- Municipality of Gračišće
- Municipality of Grožnjan (Grisignana)
- Municipality of Kanfanar
- Municipality of Karojba
- Municipality of Kaštelir-Labinci (Castellier-Santa Domenica)
- Municipality of Kršan
- Municipality of Lanišće
- Municipality of Ližnjan (Lisignano)
- Municipality of Lupoglav
- Municipality of Marčana
- Municipality of Medulin
- Municipality of Motovun (Montona)
- Municipality of Oprtalj (Portole)
- Municipality of Pičan
- Municipality of Raša
- Municipality of Sveti Lovreč
- Municipality of Sveta Nedelja
- Municipality of Sveti Petar u Šumi
- Municipality of Svetvinčenat
- Municipality of Tinjan
- Municipality of Višnjan (Visignano)
- Municipality of Vižinada (Visinada)
- Municipality of Vrsar (Orsera)
- Municipality of Žminj
Current Župan (prefect): Ivan Jakovčić (IDS)
The county assembly is composed of 41 representatives, organized as follows: