Groznjan, Istria

Groznjan is a fortified medieval town, on a raised area of land over the right bank of the River Mirna. It was mentioned for the first time in 1103. It was ruled by the Patriarchs of Aquileia until 1358 when it came under Venice. In the second half of the 14th century Groznjan was the administrative centre for the western part of Venetian Istria. At that time the town walls and watch towers were repaired. Of these, only the main town gates remain, which at one time had a drawbridge.

Beside the gates there is a Renaissance loggia and above it was the grain store (fondaco) at the time when the Mirna was still navigable as far as Bastija, which lies below Groznjan. In the town centre is the Parish Churc of St. Mary, St. Vitus and Modestus (Sveta Marija, Sveti Vid i Modest) from the second half of the 18th century. It was built on the site of an older church which was mentioned in the 14th century. The church contains valuable late Baroque altars, beautiful pilasters with richly modelled capitals. The church also has valuable wooden Renaissance choir stalls in the presbytery, which also show signs of the influence of folk art. Since 1969, Groznjan has been the venue for the Young Musicians, (Medunarodni kulturni centar Hrvatske glazbene mladezi), or the International Centre for the Young Musicians of Croatia, which has summer schools in the town every year. Young musicians from all over the world meet here. There is also in the town an Artists' Colony, with many artists having their studios and galleries here. These activities are the dominant ones in the city today. The Young Musicians' Centre has renovated and taken over 14 buildings which were previously just bare walls, so that now there are a concert hall and 15 studios for the work of the summer school, a summer stage and so on.