Pazin might sound familiar to you, you’ve heard of Istria and maybe even stumbled across the name of Pazin, but did you know something more about this wonderful place in the islands of the Istrian peninsula?
Pazinština is a geographic and historical name for the mid part of Istria with Pazin as its center. Unlike the coastal towns, this part if Istria has continental climate and vegetation. Farming has been developed, mainly viticulture and fruit growing and the surroundings of Pazin and river stream valleys are suitable for extensive agriculture. Livestock farming has grown only in the modern time thanks to industrial production, especially poultry.
Historically, this area was under the governance of many feudatories, both church and civil which played a huge role in forming the identity of Pazin’s culture.
One of the most famous attractions in Pazin is the Castle of Pazin, a well-defended fortress located on the edge of the Pazinčica river. It is also the biggest and the best preserved medieval fortress in Istria. It was first mentioned in 983 in the deed of gift by Emperor Oton II, giving the castle to the Bishop of Poreč as a present. During next two hundred years, the castle often changed its owners. The literature describes the first look of the fortress as the elongated two-floor building with a tower and a church with a small belfry built next to it. In time, the castle became a mighty masonry fort built by various owners throughout the Middle Ages and the New Era.
A mysterious pit which has always inspired human imagination is located underneath the walls of Castle of Pazin -the Pazin Abyss. A natural wonder that has its roots in the just incredible play of nature always seems to catch the eye of every passenger there.
There is even a local legend how the abyss was created: Long time ago in Istria when giants and people used to live together. On the northern part of Istria were lakes and ponds unlike on the south where there was no source of water, so the locals asked the local giant Ban Dragonja to do something. He opened the way from the river to the sea by plowing furrows and made water accessible to everyone. He made the first furrow and named it after himself. Later next day he made another furrow and named it after his wife, Mirna. On the third day, he plowed around the Castle of Pazin and a wife of the governor saw him and started to mock how shallow his furrow was. That made the giant angry and left away with water flowing in no specific direction and flooding its surroundings. The locals from Pazin begged the giant Ban to do something so he showed mercy and hit the ground with his massive leg and which made the Earth open right beneath the Castle of Pazin and that spot where he hit his leg is the famous Pazin Abyss.
Jules Verne, the father of SF, put the plot of his Mathias Sandorf novel in the Castle and the Pazin Abyss. Today, the Pazin Castle houses the Ethnographic Museum with exhibits of the life of the Istrian peninsula inhabitants.
Although Italianized a bit as almost all places in Istria, Pazin was one of the centers of Croatian struggle for national identity during the 19th century where locals and priests insisted on using Croatian as their first language in schools and public life in general.
Pazin has known for its high-quality agricultural products, and one of them is the Pazin Turkey. It can weight up to 30kg and is very valued in gastronomy. An interesting fact is that the cultivation of those turkeys began around the mid-60s of the last century by importing the first species of this kind of turkey from Canada!
Since not being at the very coast, many people still don’t know much about Pazin or rarely think about visiting it but believe us, it’s worth visiting, and you’ll not find many people who brag about their Istrian vacation with Pazin included in the whole thing, so why not be ahead of the others?