6 VRSAR INFO VRSAR AND ITS SURROUNDINGS Vrsar is one of the most important tourist centers on the west coast of Istria. It is situated between Funtana and the Lim bay. Considering its specific natural environment, it is a perfect summer destination. The climate is Mediterranean. The winters are mild and summers are long and warm. The winter temperature rarely lowers below 0˚C. The average spring temperature is 12,5˚ and the summer temperature 23,4˚C. During autumn, the usual temperature is 15,6˚C and during winter 5,5˚C. Vrsar is annually exposed to about 2000 hours of sunrays. Most common winds are the northeastern wind (bura), the south wind (jugo) and the landward breeze (maestral). The northeastern wind usually blows during winter (from the continent to the sea), rapidly lowering the temperature. The south wind blows from the open sea towards the land, bringing clouds and rain. The landward wind is a refreshing wind coming from the sea and is typical for summer days. The sea can reach the highest temperature of 26 degrees and the lowest of 8 degrees. The coastal part is well indented with bays and small islands. The Lim canal, which is contiguous with Vrsar, is especially suitable for cultivation of shells, primarily mussels and oysters. People Today Vrsar has about 2650 inhabitants. As tourism flourishes, this small fishing town transforms into a modern tourist center. With the development of tourism, the population number increases. Due to various historical changes, the Vrsar ethnic structure was changing continuously. In 1943 Istria joined Croatia, that is, Yugoslavia, which resulted in most of the Italians migrating to Italy. The half-forsaken Vrsar was soon settled by families from southern Croatia (Dalmatia), especially BraË. Today many Croatians live in Vrsar. The Vrsar inhabitants will understand you if you speak Italian, because here, as in the rest of Istria, both languages are equally used.
1. CROATIA, ISTRIA,VRSAR History Throughout the history, the name Vrsar had many different forms: Ursaria, Ursarium, Vrsarium, Orsaria, andothers. They all have the same root - “ur”, which means “a source”. The Mediterranean sailors used to take fresh drinkable water from a spring on the coast between Funtana and Vrsar, hence the name Ursaria. The Istrian peninsula was most likely settled already during the prehistoric period. In the vicinity of Vrsar, in the pit of St Romuald above the Lim canal, traces of the Paleolithic culture were discovered. In the prehistoric period, several hillocks near Vrsar were colonized. Fortifications situated on the today’s Vrsar area belonged to the first known inhabitants of the Istrian peninsula, the Histrian people. They occupied most of the peninsula, hence the name Histria - Istria. Besides agricultureand cattle raising, another important economic activity was the maritime trade. The development of Vrsar started during the Roman rule. 7 In Vrsar and its surroundings there are still traces of Roman culture. With the downfall of the Roman Empire, Istria succumbs to the Gothic rule. In 538, it is annexed to Byzantium, and stays there till the 8th century. At the beginning of the 7th century, Istria was settled by the Slavs. The Byzantine rule was shortly broken off by the transitory rules of Lombards and Franks. Between the 10th and the 18th centuries, Vrsar was ruled by PoreË bishops appointed by the Roman popes. In the 18th century, the famous lover and adventurer Giacomo Casanova spent two summers in Vrsar, which is evident from his memoirs. In the 2nd half of the 18th century Vrsar underwent the Venetian reign. After the fall of the Venetian rule, Vrsar succumbs to the Austrian and then French rule (Napoleon’s army). Between 1813 and 1918, it finds itself under the Austrian rule again. After the fall of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy, Istria becomes part of the Italian kingdom, which lasts till its capitulation in 1943. In the 4th century it became an important old-Christian center. At the time, Vrsar was a significant intersection of continental and nautical trade connections. The vicinity of the Italian Ravenna largely influenced the development of Vrsar andother Istrian Roman centers. In 1941, Hitler and Mussolini occupied Yugoslavia. In 1943 Istria was overtaken by Germans. At the beginning of May 1945, it was freed by the Partisans. After the liberation, Istria joins Yugoslavia, that is, Croatia, and in the year 1990 it becomes an independent state.