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The Lim Fjord, Istria

The Lim fjord (Limski zaljev, 4.5 km to the south of Sveti Lovrec) is in fact a flooded limestone valley (9 km long, average width 600 m), which runs from the centre of Istria, from Pazin to the south, to Kanfanar where it turns sharply to the west. Owing to its geological history, this fjord is one of the most instructive examples of limestone hydrological development. The Lim stream used to flow through the valley but dried up regularly, and was really only present after heavy rain.

The Lim fjord has the appearance of a canyon. The sides rise to 150 m, sinking to 20 m when they reach the sea; they are overgrown with maquis and have some special characteristics. The southern bank, facing the north, is covered with deciduous trees (oak and ash), while the north bank, facing the sun, has more evergreen flora. The vegetation has recently suffered a great deal from fires. The fjord is rich in fish and high quality oysters and mussels. Because of the special conditions of the sea water in the channel (less salt content, a higher concentration of dissolved oxygen and well-researched temperature gradients) sea flora and fauna are particularly well developed. The channel is a natural breeding ground and wintering place for many breeds of fish. For this reason it is a special reserve and is protected by a conservation order. At the end of the fjord there is a hotel. In the past, the Lim fjord separated the Porec and the Pula agricultural areas, which is how it came to be called Lim (from the Latin '''limes'' meaning threshold). The area around the fjord was settled very early on. Along the banks of the bay there are many caves where traces of human life from the New Stone Age on have been discovered. According to legend, in the 11th century St. Romualdo lived in one of these caves (St. Romualdo's cave). He was the founder of the Benedictine Monastery of St. Michael (Sveti Mihovil), the ruins of which remain on the northern side of the bay, near the village which is still called Klostar today. (Klostar means monastery). On the site of the monastery, which was built in the 11th century, even earlier (6th century) there was an Early Christian Chapel of St. Michael. The Benedictines added a large abbey in the 11th century. In the apse of the older chapel there are some small fragments of frescoes from about 1100 still preserved. On the triumphal arch of the newer church there are fragments of frescoes by Benedictine masters of the Ottoman era (11th century).
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