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Dvigrad: A Journey to Medieval Ruins

In the heart of Istria lies Dvigrad, a town that whispers stories of ancient civilizations, wars, and the relentless march of time. Originally comprising two towns, Moncastello and Castel Parentino, today’s Dvigrad offers a glimpse into the past through the remaining ruins of Moncastello, with Castel Parentino lost to time by the 10th century.

A Tale of Two Towns

Dvigrad’s history stretches back to 879 AD, finding mention under the dominion of the Patriarch of Aquileia but existing even earlier as a Roman settlement. The name ‘Dvigrad’, meaning ‘two towns’ in Croatian, hints at its dual origins. The strategic importance of Dvigrad saw it change hands through centuries, from the Counts of Gorizia to the battlegrounds between Genoa and Venice, and the conflicts that ravaged Istria.

The Decline of Dvigrad

The 16th century brought continuous warfare between Venice and Austria to Dvigrad’s doorstep, but it was the plague and malaria that dealt the final blows. By 1630, the majority of its inhabitants had fled to nearby Kanfanar, leaving behind only the poorest families. By the late 17th century, even the Church of St. Sophia stood abandoned, marking the end of Dvigrad as a living town.

Exploring the Ruins

Today, Dvigrad’s ruins offer a fascinating insight into medieval life. Enclosed by two rings of town walls and dotted with defensive towers, the ghost town’s layout is still discernible. The Church of St. Sophia, a remarkable Romanesque edifice from the 13th century, dominates the landscape, overlooking the main town square and the remnants of the town palace.

A Journey through Time

Visitors to Dvigrad can wander through the military quarters, craftsmen’s area, and the homes of regular citizens, piecing together the everyday lives of its past residents. The town’s strategic location and architectural remains make it a captivating destination for history buffs, photographers, and anyone drawn to the beauty of ruins.

Dvigrad stands as a testament to the resilience of history, preserving the echoes of its once-thriving community amidst Istria’s lush landscapes. It invites modern explorers to tread its silent streets, offering a poignant reminder of the impermanence of human endeavors against the backdrop of time.

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