Municipality of Motovun

Motovun_-_Montona_(grb)Motovun is a city-monument, an ancient Istrian acropola situated on top of a 277 m high hill, whose current look dates back to the Middle Ages. To the top of the hill and its Venetian style town square leads the longest Istrian staircase 1052 stairs. Its position and look make it one of the most beautiful old towns in the Mediterranean.

1.004 inhabitants, 33.58 km²

Municipality of Motovun covers the area of 33,58 km2, and according to the 2011 Census I has 1.004 inhabitants.
Four larger settlements make up the Municipality: Motovun, Kaldir, Brkač and Sveti Bartol.

The town of Giant Jože



The history of Motovun begins before the Roman era, when a Celtic tribe inhabited the area. The name is also Celtic in origin, from the word Montona – meaning a town in the hill.
An old legend says that, once upon a time there were giants in the river Mirna valley. They were so big that, while building the towns on the hills overlooking Mirna, they could pass tools and large rocks to one another over the buildings. One of the towns built in this time was Motovun. Much later, when Istria became populated by regular people as well, the giants started disappearing, but in the legend and stories by Vladimir Nazor, the Giant Jože of Motovun was remembered, he was so big and strong that he could shake the bell tower in the town with his bare hands.

Rich architectural heritage

DSC06823From the rich architectural heritage of Motovun, several pieces stand out: the Town entrance with the bastion, Town loggia, St. Stephen Parish Church, medieval street layout, town wells and many coats of arms on the facades. In Sveti Bartol, there is a church with the same name, built in 1651. In Brkač, there is the church of St. Pancras built in 1942 in place of the older one from the 15th century. Around this church was the graveyard that was probably the one mentioned in 1681 chorography written by a Trieste doctor, in which he wrote about the finding of a grave 1656 in Brkač that had a body in it which turned into dust after the grave was opened. In Kaldir, there is St. John the Baptist Parish Church built in 1873 and blessed by the famous Istrian bishop Juraj Dobrila. Opposite the cemetery, there is also a thoroughly renovated Holy Trinity Church.

Municipality of Motovun is a host to series of traditional folk and international events during the year. In Motovun itself there is the “Igra na Rog” – the game only men can play on Ash Wednesday. One of them throws a horn, and then others throw stick as close to it as possible. The one closest gets most points. The game starts on the top part of the Motovun hill and ends at the bottom of the hill. Then there are Days of Giant Jože, Motovun Film Festival and TeTa – Festival of Teran wine and truffles.

In Kaldir, there is the Festival of fruits, “Kolejani” – a procession through the villages, and blessing of homes on the night of 5th/6th January as a preparation for Epiphany, and the celebration of St. John the Baptist. Sveti Bartol has wine and sasuages evaluation. Brkač has the celebration of St. Pancras.

Land of wine and truffles

kaldir103Motovun is surrounded by vineyards with famous Istrian wines – teran and malvazija, while Motovun forrest in Mirna valley is the natural habitat of truffles which are collected with specially trained dogs. Summer and early autumn is when black truffle can be found, and in late autumn and winter, there are tasty and (pricey) Istrian white truffles.

According to scientific research, this town owes a lot to its position at the crossroads of Earth’s energy meridians, or the so called “Dragon’s lines”. These meridians carry positive life force through the landscape, and in the place where these lines cross, like in Motovun, there is a string source of positive energy, a sort of spiracle of the Earth. Such energy surge has a relaxing and calming effect on people, it increases concentration and spirituality, rests and relaxes develops creativity and tolerance. Maybe that’s the cause for many gatherings and creative assemblies of people from all around the world that take place in Motovun.