In the hills of central Istria, one well-kept secret is hidden. A sleepy town Gračišće full of history, old buildings and rocky streets will blow your mind. The city itself has an interesting structure, as it's divided into a few parts, and each part has its own square with a church. This place was for a long time forgotten. Many people, even in Croatia, are not familiar with this unusual part of Istria. But, in the last ten to fifteen years, the town woke up. Locals opened their doors, firstly to accidental passengers, but soon this town found its place on the tourist map of Croatia. The whole town was built out of the rocks, and the main part of it preserved its original appearances for centuries.
Gračišće was mentioned for the first time in 1199. According to the documentation from that period, it was the place with counselors and judges. During the ancient Gauls, the name of the town was Gallignana. Following Gauls, Slavs came to this part of the Balkan peninsula, and the town got the name - Gračišće. The presence of Slavs left its traces, as the hill near the town got the name after a Slavic god Perun - Perunčevac.
The most interesting square is, for sure, the main square called Plac together with the St. Mary’s Church, that dates to 1425, and it is a small rocky place made in the late Gothic style. On the walls, you can see the nails between the building blocks. According to the legend, women who could not have children, put their nails there, so that the Mother of God could help them to get pregnant.
A fun fact is that the St. Vitus Church is the youngest one, and it was built in the 17th century. It is situated in the east part of the town, and from the churchyard, you will have an amazing viewpoint. Today, it is the main church in Gračišće.
When you go down the street from Plac, you will reach one more very old church - the St. Euphemia Church. It was built in 1383 and renovated in the 19th century. One of the most important monuments of this church - the crucifix of Christ is very well preserved.
In the sleepy town of central Istria – Gračišće, it looks like the time has stopped. You will need less than 30 minutes to go around the town, but you will feel like you spent hours there!
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.