Municipality of Žminj
3.483 inhabitants, 72 km2
According to 2011 Census, the Municipality of Žminj has 3.483 inhabitants, in the area of 72 km2.
Žminj – intersection of the roads
It is assumed that Žminj area gained its significance as the traffic intersection back in the Iron Age because the roads then led to already existing settlements of Pićan, Stari Gočan, Gradina, Barban, Stari Pazin, Lindar, Vodnjan, etc. These roads, with slight modifications, still exist today. The settlement of Slavic peoples to Žminj area can be dated to 7th century. Žminj area was a part of the Pazin County since the second half of the 12th century. From the Urbariums and other sources we can see that Žminj was one of the most developed. In the 14th century, fugitives from other Istrian places moved to Žminj area, after those were destroyed by the Venetians. Fugitives from the Turkish rule also moved here. At the very beginning of the New Age, due to the War of Uskoks (1615-1618), Žminj area went through a difficult time. The Venetians ruthlessly used wood and other wealth that the area had during the war, even though it was not their property. After the war ended, the area recovered quickly, and the fact that there were no diseases (malaria, cholera) present like in other areas, helped greatly. After 1814, almost one hundred years of Austrian rule began. At that time, the network of roads developed significantly. The road from Pula and Rovinj to Pazin via Žminj was renovated. This road is still very important today. Modernization of the roads enabled the development of postal services. In 1822 Žminj got an elementary school which enabled the development and prosperity of the area. In the second half of the 19th century Žminj solidified its position as a traffic and trade center. Here one could trade wine, wood, cattle, grain and other products. Fairs were held regularly and brought in the lively trade. The first trade of the year was on February 13, then August 24 and November 11. Large number of inns, hotels and renters tells us about the number of people that stayed here during these fairs. Quarrying of stone and its processing developed significantly. The “škarpelini” of Žminj (stone processors) were well-known. After WWI, Istria came under Italian rule and a whole new era began. The hardest years were 1928-1930. Slow growth began in 1930 and lasted until the beginning of the WWII. Many people tried to find a better life by moving to America, Yugoslavia, Italy and elsewhere. In the mid-1930ies the conditions improved significantly, predominantly because of employments in Raša mine, and the trade also grew. During WWII, Žminj and the surrounding area suffered a lot from bombing and military abuse by the German army. Žminj was liberated on May 7, 1945. Post-war period is characterized by the slow recovery of the economy, depopulation and employment in Raša coal mines, Pula, Pazin, Rovinj and elsewhere. After Croatia became independent, Žminj and its area greatly improved, especially after the Municipality of Žminj was established in 1993. The road “Istarski ipsilon that passes by Žminj since 1999.
Heritage in Žminj
Uniqueness of Žminj area can be seen especially in its speech which has been protected as intangible cultural heritage of Croatia. Traditional folk fest Bartulja, held every year on the last Sunday in August, also has a special meaning for the people.
The library in Žminj (Čakavska kuća) was opened in 2002 after several years of effort by the activists of organisation Čakavski sabor and the inhabitants, whose concrete initiatives are linked back to 1997, when Čakavski sabor moved its headquarters to Žminj. The library is a part of City library and reading house Pula, it has been computerized, and the specificity of this institution is the Čakaviana, a collection of literary works from čakavian cultural area.