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Dvigrad Castle is one of the few genuine castle from the medieval age that were kept in
its original appearance. Dvigrad Castle is situated in the Draga valley on
the Istria peninsula it is 11 km from Rovinj and 27 km
from Pula. The name "Dvigrad" means “two cities” in Croatian and
originally was used to describe two cities. However the other
sister city of Parentin that was located on the southern side of
the valley disappeared over the ages. There have been no
organized archaeological digs on that site. So the name stayed
with the northern settlement of Moncastello that was renamed to Dvigrad
Few tourists and locals visit this location and
that partially explains why the ruins are in fairly good condition. Today you can see well preserved three main gates, two
rings of city
walls and impressive towers. Dvigrad castle was not touched by
reconstruction so be careful where you walk.
Constructed: current walls erected in the 11th century
History of Dvigrad Castle
site of Dvigrad
Castle was occupied since the ancient times by the Illyrian tribes. Its strategic location over
the valley that linked Adriatic shore and the inner valley of Istria made this city a centre of
commerce. Dvigrad prospered in the Roman times, but with arrival of
barbarian tribes lost much of former splendor. New Slavic tribes settled
the region. Soon
Benediction monks- missionaries followed. New Dvigrad fortification
walls were erected in the
11th century. In the 13th century a church of Saint Sophia
was constructed. It had three naves. Majestic frescos and reliefs
covered the interior of the cathedral, reflecting city wealth and
importance as a crossroad of the South Central Europe.
proved to be too rich for its own good. Since the beginning of the
XIV century the city was attacked repeatedly. In 1345 Dvigrad was
captured and burned
by the Genoa admiral Paganin Doria. In
revenge Venetians retook whatever was left of the citadel in 1383 and burned it again. Most of citizens were killed and
the remaining possessions stolen.
Basilica of Saint Sophia with its residents
that tried to find refuge inside were not spared. Since 1413 Venetian governor (podestat) ruled over
and it was forced to pay annual tribute of 390 liras.
fifteen century brought Dvigrad
Castle waves of plagues that greatly decreased
the population. Further wars between Venetians and Austrians in the 16th
century over disputed lands brought more violence and bloodshed to the
region. In the early 17th century the ruins of the city were
inhabited by poor families who had nowhere to go. In 1650 bishop
Tommasini visited the castle and reported only three families who lived
there. In 1714 Dvigrad was finally abandoned and became a ghost town.
Haunting and Legends of Dvigrad Castle
Ever since it became a ghost town Dvigrad Castle
gained a fame of being haunted. Many locals reported strange
noises as well as white apparitions that are said to roam
abandoned ruins. Some even claimed that during one of the sieges
the owner of the citadel hid his treasures in the castle wall.
It is hard to say whether these accounts have any base on true
events from history or merely a product of imagination, but
legends are still interesting and captivating.