Roc, Istria

Roc was first inhabited in pre-historic times. In classical times another settlement grew up in the fertile valley on the site of the present day village of Rim. Around the military base a town developed which has left no visible traces. In the 6th century AD there was a church there, the Church of St. Maurus (Sveti Mauro), and an inscription, which has been lost, mentioned the Bishop of Trieste Frugiferus. Some old Slavic graves have been found in Roc from a slightly later date.

In the Middle Ages Roc was fortified with walls and towers (in about 1420), parts of which remain. The Romanesque Church of St. Rocco (Sveti Rok) shaped like a parallelogram and with a covered-in apse, has two layers of frescoes. The older layer shows the work of 16th century Italian masters. In the Church of St. Anthony (Sveti Antun), a Gothic structure from the 12th century, there is a votive cross engraved with the Glagolitic alphabet of Roc (from about 1200). The triple-naved Church of St. Bartholomew (Sveti Bartol) has a presbytery in Gothic style; on the right-hand side altar there is a painting by an unknown Venetian master. In the Middle Ages Roc was the centre of Glagolitic writing. The town had several significant Glagolitic codices, missals, breviaries and a collection of various writings, which are today in Vienna, Copenhagen and Zagreb. Not far from Roc in the village of Nugla the famous Novak Missal was found, now in Vienna, which served as a basis for the first printed books in Croatia and Yugoslavia. It is a Croatian-Glagolitic missal dating from 1483. In honour of the Glagolitic tradition in Istria and Croatia, a Glagolitic Avenue (Aleja glagoljasa) has been set up between Roc and Hum and is a unique form of museum.