Vrsar

One of the most beautiful towns in Istria, Vrsar (the old Orsera) is situated on a hill overlooking the mouth of the Lim bay.
The town is named after the old Mediterranean word "ur", which means source. What was once a place for rest and refreshment of ancient seafarers, today is truly a source of beauty and pleasure. Overarched narrow cobbled streets leading to small intimate squares above which rise the picturesque buildings,

often decorated with interesting stone figures, balconies, roofs and wells. The view from the hill is truly magnificent - 18 beautiful islands resting on the wide blue sea, which hazels under the warm sun and kisses gentle green shore.

Residents of Vrsar have always been closely linked to the rhythm of nature of this rich area. Numerous sculptural and architectural works of the Roman masters, Venetian artists to modern sculpture lovers, testifies the world-known stone quality. For centuries, the area has been known for its salt production, the single crystal of life, thanks to which Vrsar remained permanently recorded in maps of the Old world. Deep Blue Sea is still extremely rich with fruits, making tables in each home, as well as the restaurant’s, a wonderful experience for the senses.

The old fishing town today is a favorite port for sailors, to whom the former Fabian (a wider area of the port) is a favorite docking place. The hospitable people of Vrsar have early recognized the affinity and the needs of modern nomads. Therefore, they are proud of one of the first and most important European nudist camps. Vrsar is also an award-winning town as the best-kept place in the country, thus justifying the effort of its inhabitants for the prettiest and most comfortable stay.

Recommendation

Church of Sv. Foška - 17th century, with tombstones, with coats of arms and Latin inscriptions

Main gate - from the 13th century, the former main entrance to the fortified city; on a stone panel above the door there is a shallow relief with a miniature of St. Mark's lion.

The summer residence of the Bishop of Poreč (Castle) - from the 14th century, with different styles, from Romanesque to Baroque, with two towers from the 13th century and a sun clock

Old Romanesque door
- from the 13th century, with a shallow relief of San Marko's lion.

Roman magazine and necropolis
– from the 2nd century, with valuable Roman port devices and Tombs

Early Christian basilica
– from the 4 century with very interesting Early Christian iconography and fragments of mosaic

The Romanesque basilica of St. Mary of the Sea - built from the 8th until the 12th century

Vrsar archipelago - 18 uninhabited islands are overgrown with Mediterranean plants

Lim Bay - beautiful bay, 10 km long and 600 meters wide

Montraker Peninsula - the remains of a Roman necropolis

Sculpture park of Dušan Đamonja - with sculptures, prints and drawings of the eminent sculptor

History

On the site of Vrsar in prehistoric times, there was a fortified settlement with an oval layout that belonged to Histrians, the ancient inhabitants of the Istrian peninsula. After the population of Histrians was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC the village began to expand even below the hill by the sea. At the time, Vrsar was quite an important trading center where wealthy Roman aristocrats lived. The discovered villas and farm buildings verify this fact. The spread of Christianity in the 4th century made Vrsar an important center of early Christianity. The arrival of the Croats in the 6th century brought destruction to Vrsar. Slavic pottery from that period was found.

Franks occupied Istria in the late 6th century and introduced a new feudal system. From 983 until 1778 Vrsar was under the authority of the Poreč diocese. It is interesting that despite the aggressive policy of Venice and its conquests, Vrsar did not fall under its authority, and so it did not pay any taxes to the Doge or to the Patriarch from Aquileia. Vrsar quarries were extensively exploited during the Venetian rule when numerous churches, palaces and Venetian bridges were built of stone. In the 18th century, there was written that the famous Italian adventurer and seducer Giacomo Casanova visited this beautiful city twice.

He wrote about those visits in his memoirs. In 1778, Venetian senate abolished the church county and Vrsar fell directly under the control of Venice. In the 19th century, the city expanded outside of the walls; new buildings and the dock were build. After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, Vrsar, as the rest of Istria, fell under the rule of Italy. In October of 1943, Istria was occupied by the Germans and in 1945, Vrsar was finally freed and became part of Yugoslavia. In 1991, it finally became an integral part of Croatia.