PAZ, WALDERSTEIN CASTLE
Located deep in central Istria, in the small village of Paz, this castle once belonged to the famous noble Walderstein family. Accordingly, the family owned and ruled the whole place during 15th century. Once mighty, it is strategically positioned on top of the hill in Paz, guarding the area. However, today is resting in its centennial sleep. Unfortunately today the whole area is covered in greenery and abandoned. Entering the castle is nearly impossible, also it’s not recommended. Still, you can recognize the square tower, and the eastern walls of the castle that are leaning towards it. Besides Paz, the famous Walderstein family owned and ruled the small place of Račice (about 20 km from Paz), where you can also see their preserved manor that once was a beautiful palace.
ZAVRŠJE, PALACE OF CONTARINI FAMILY
The ruins of the medieval 11th century castle in Završje were once home of the noble family Contarini. The family bought the whole town of Završje at an auction in 1530. Close to the castle you can visit the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of St. Crowns. The church once kept the magnificent calyx – that is now in Louvre museum, Paris. Placed strategically on top of the hill on altitude od 240m above sea level, this small town was a place of importance for communication management of Northern Istria in the 16th century. Walking through the town of Završje, you can’t help but notice all the historical traces leaving mighty impressions. Stone doors dating 1548., ruins of old houses that were once inhabited, now guarding less than 50 inhabitants left to this day.
VRNJAK – ISTRIAN GHOST TOWN
If you happen to find yourself hiking or getting lost through Northwestern Istria, you are ought to visit Vrnjak – the small ghost town in municipality of Grožnjan. Hidden in the hills on altitude of 320 meters above the sea, this place was formerly home to hundreds of people, but it has been completely abandoned between 1954 and the 1990’s. Approaching the village from the upper side, you get there by getting through the very end of Kućibreg village. Following a downhill stone road, you get there in 40 minutes by foot. Before approaching Vrnjak, you pass by the church of Blessed Mary Virgin of Sorrowful. The small church is built in 1892. Next to the church is a cemetery, and the most common last name you will find on headstones is Vesnaver. Covered in greenery, the cemetery and the village both have a mysterious vibe. Walking the road deeper down to the village, you see stone houses without windows and doors. As if every ruin of the house is hiding its own story behind ivory.