You can get to the centre of Poreč from every hotel, apartment or camp by taking a leisurely stroll through the shade of the pine trees that spread their shadows on promenades and trace the shape of the shore or you can go by bike or take a tourist train. Set off on a tour of the city walking or pedalling, explore and familiarise yourself with its old centre, streets and squares, parks and beaches.
(Latin: Parens or Parentium; Italian: Parenzo) is a town and municipality on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula, in Istria County, Croatia. Its major landmark is the 6th century Euphrasian Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. Poreč/Parenzo is almost 2,000 years old, and is set around a harbor protected from the sea by the small island of Sveti Nikola/San Nicola (Saint Nicholas). The town's population of approximately 12,000 resides mostly on the outskirts, while the wider Poreč/Parenzo area has a population of approximately 17,000 inhabitants. Ever since the 1970s, the coast of Poreč has been the most visited tourist destination in Croatia.
This area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. During the 2nd century BC, Roman Castrum was built on a tiny peninsula with approximate dimensions of 400 m × 200 m (1,312.34 ft × 656.17 ft) where the town centre is now. During the reign of Emperor Augustus in the 1st century, it officially became a city and was part of the Roman colony of Colonia Iulia Parentium. In the 3rd century the settlement had an organized Christian community with an early-Christian complex of sacral buildings. The earliest basilica contained the remains of and was dedicated to Saint Maurus of Parentium and dates back to the second half of the 4th century. The floor mosaic from its oratory, originally part of a large Roman house, is still preserved in the garden of the Euphrasian Basilica.
Going south, to Poreč's Lagoons
If you want to go to the city or back by train, stop and wait at the stop for the tourist train that goes from Zelena Laguna to the city and back along the Antun Štifanić Promenade. In the s hade of the pine trees during the day, you can also stroll in the fresh sea air at night because the promenade is illuminated. During the summer months you can stop and rest at one of the many cafes and bars, catch your breath on a bench or play on the sports grounds along the promenade. From the Plavi Hotel you can take the stairs to the cliff where you will find St. Nicholas’s Chapel with its bell-tower. 173 stairs lead to the top of the cliff and include rest stops and lighting, while the top of the bell-tower offers an excellent panoramic view. From here you can head towards the city waterfront and peek at the schedule for the regular boat line that will take you back to Zelena Laguna with stops in between.
Culture and Art of Poreč and Istria
The pages of Poreč’s art history can today proudly be read thanks to the tumultuous history which left the city valuable and indelible marks of different cultures. A stroll through the city of many thousands of years reveals various styles and cultural influences which contributed to the formation of today’s city with each step. The whole old city centre is a living cultural monument. The facades of numerous city palaces will reveal the history of their construction to you through various stylistic and historical periods. In numerous records and literature Poreč is called a city of mosaics thanks to the culture founded by the Euphrasiana, a basilica in whose diocese the museum of church art and archaeological remains of earlier churches are housed. The valuable museum collection of the Heritage Museum of Poreč and its Surrounding Area bear witness to a tradition of living in this area through many centuries. Along with museums, Poreč’s streets are home to numerous atelier galleries and exhibition spaces which tend tradition in a modern way with their displays.
To the north
If your chosen accommodations are located to the north of the city, you can walk to the centre, go by rollerblades or sit on a train. The entire northern shore of Poreč is linked by train, from Luna Hotel to Peškera Cove so that you can return by train too. Along the promenade you will find many places to stop, rest and refresh yourself as well as many different sports and recreation possibilities.
The Old City
A stroll around Poreč’s old city centre can begin at Trg Slobode (Freedom Square) from where you can entre Decumanus Street and continue along the narrow streets exploring the city’s sights. From the other side, entering at the Poreč’s Lungomare (promenade along the sea) or from the Ante Šonja Shore, you will see before you a romantic view of the northern side of Poreč, Peškera Cove and the Pical and Materada neighbourhoods. Continue your stroll to Matko Laginja Shore to the city waterfront or Maršal Tito Shore and in this way you will have walked around the former city walls and passed around the entire old city of Poreč.
Poreč developed on a small symmetrical peninsula long before the arrival of the Histrians, an Illyrian tribe. Today the centre of the old city is located on this small peninsula. With the arrival of the Histrians the area surrounding the present-day city was settled, and thanks to a naturally protected harbour the construction of a harbour-centre was enabled and Poreč could develop unhindered. Preserved records by Ancient Greek historians and geographers from the 6th and 4th centuries BC mention a small fishing village, and archaeological findings tell us of the homes of the people of the time. A Roman settlement was constructed around the 2nd century BC which, with the natural harbour, developed into a military fort over time. The silhouette of a city is visible in the geometrically symmetrical placement of the streets. The City of Poreč has preserved this appearance with the main streets Cardo Maximus and Decumanus as well as the centrally located Forum. Poreč was granted city or municipio status, during the first half of the 1st century and was granted the name Colonia Iulia Parentium. During Roman rule in the area of Poreč, in the 3rd century the first bishop of Poreč, Bishop Mavar, was a victim of one of the Christian persecutions. After a cruel martyr's death the Bishop was declared a saint and the City's patron. Since then and until the present day Poreč has maintained its status as a diocese. In the 4th century an early Christian cathedral was built at the place where Bishop Mavar suffered his martyrdom. One hundred years later it was renovated and in the 6th century Bishop Euphrasius ordered the construction of a basilica - this basilica is today considered a famous building and is a true architectural treasure. Since 1998 it has been an UNESCO protected site. Slavs settled in Istria, Poreč and its surrounding area in the 7th century. Poreč had a city-government as early as the 12th century and the first City Statute dates from around the year 1250. The longest ruler in Poreč was the Venetian Republic which ruled for about five hundred years. With the fall of Venice Poreč came under Austrian rule, and quickly after in 1805 came under French administration after Napoleon's conquest. From 1815 to 1918 Poreč came under Austrian rule once more. The City's reputation grew when the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy declared Poreč the capital city of Istria and made it the seat of the regional government and the location of the Istrian Parliament. Up until the middle of the 20th century a number of governments, monarchs and states changed hands. The area of Poreč was ruled by Ostrogoths, was the seat of Frankish rule, Aquileian Patriarchs, the Venetian Republic, Austria, Napoleon's Illyrians and the Kingdom of Italy. In 1943 Poreč and the rest of Istria were joined to Croatia, a constituent state of Yugoslavia which in 1990 became an independent state.
Photos of Istria region