Facts and Figures
Town Area: 80sq km
Official Language: Croatian and Italian
Archipelago: 22 islands
Coastline Length: 67 km
Protected Area: 2’289 hectares (coastal area and islands)
The history of Rovinj began on the former island named Mons Albanus. The first archaeological traces of life date back to the Bronze Age. Rovinj was developing into a strong fishing, shipbuilding and maritime center, especially in the 17th and 18th century when the venetians had the precedence over Istria. At that time the town walls were secured, the town started to expand itself to the mainland, so that in 1763 the channel between the mainland and the island was covered up and Rovinj became a peninsula. The picturesque old town is the result of the past and diligent craftsmen. The limited space was crucial for the compact construction, the narrow streets and tiny squares. One of many sights of this district are the characteristic chimneys. Because of the mentioned features, in 1963 the city was declared a cultural monument.
Rovinj’s islands and coastal areas
These natural landscapes belong to the category of “landscapes of outstanding value” because of 2’289 ha protected green areas. 22 islands and islets. One should not be surprised to learn this, as the indented coast, holm oak, Alpine and Bruce pine forests and the special agricultural spaces amaze and capture by their beauty and level of preservation. This landscape of outstanding value stretches from St. John’s Cape (Rt Sv. Ivana) to Barbariga and encompasses all Rovinj’s islands and islets and the coastal area up to the distance of 500m from the coastline.
The St. Andrew island (Otok sv. Andrija), occupying an area of 23 hectares, is the largest island of Rovinj’s archipelago, followed by the beautiful St. Catherine’s island (otok sv. Katarina), a true rarity in terms of vegetation. Botanists have recorded as many as 456 plant species there.
Golden Cape forest park
Golden Cape (Zlatni rt) is the most significant park area on the Croatian side of the Adriatic coast. Apart from a thousand indigenous and naturalized plant species, such as the holm oak and Alpine pine communities, many other species have been brought to this centuries-old shade cedar trees, stone pine trees and ten types of cypress trees that contribute to the Mediterranean atmosphere of the forest park.
The Balbi Arch stands on the site of the main gate to the fortified town of Porton della peschiera. The old gate was pulled down in 1678/79 and the Balbi Arch, a stone-coated Venetian structure, was built in its place. The upper part of the arch is decorated with a sculpted head. On the outer side of the Arch the head is sculpted in the Turkish, and on the inner side in the Venetian style. About 100 years later, the architrave of the Balbi Arch was decorated with two emblems of the Balbi family, in between which there is a stone tablet with an inscription and above it a sculpted Venetian lion. The stone lion is unique by its open book inscription which reads: VICTORIA TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEVS. The lions open book marks the time when the town fell under Venetian rule without struggle.
Town walls and gates
As early as in the 7th century, Rovinj was surrounded by city walls that were subsequently strengthened by towers. The city had seven gates, three of which have been preserved to this day: The Gate of St. Benedict, The Portica and The Gate of the Holy Cross.
Church of St. Euphemia
The Venetian Baroque building is the largest monument in the city. It was restored between 1725 and 1736. At the side where this impressive church stands today, the Chapel of St. George (Sv. Juraj) had been located until the 10th century. St. George remained the co-patron of the parish. His statue decorates the main altar of the parish church. When in 800 the sarcophagus containing the body of the Christian martyr Euphemia was brought into the city, the citizens of the surrounding settlements came to visit the tomb of St. Euphemia. The construction of the bell tower started in 1651 when the founding stone was placed. It was constructed according to the architectural design by Milanese architect Alessandro Monopola. It should have been just like the one of the church of St. Mark in Venice. The construction lasted 26 years. The large copper statue of St. Euphemia was set up at the top of the bell tower in 1758.