Where does the most beautiful view of Kvarner come from? If the answer is from 'town on the hills', you probably got it from Kastav. And maybe you still aren’t, because on that issue, many visitors will agree with the natives of this city.
But, apart from the fantastic view that leaves no one indifferent, Kastav offers relaxing walks in the Kastav forest, which is one step away from the old part of town, oenological and gastronomic delights, folk festivities, but also rich culture. In the old town you will be attracted by art studios and galleries, and if you decide to visit the city in the hottest time of the year, you will enjoy the event Kastav Cultural Summer on Crekvina. It is one of the oldest summer festivals in Kvarner, which includes music, drama, exhibition, film, literature, education and similar content.
The rich history of Kastav
This charming place is located near Rijeka and Opatija at 365 meters above sea level. It is similar to many coastal towns in terms of architectural features, but it still conquers with its peculiarities. It was built as a fortress with nine towers, Illyrian and Roman finds go far back in history, as evidenced by the Law of the City of Castua of Letta 1400 written in Croatian. The first Croatian school in Istria was founded there in 1700 (Kastav then belonged to Istria) as well as the revival Reading Room from 1866.
Here is the ruin of the largest church building on this side of the Adriatic, the already mentioned Crekvina, a place where numerous cultural events and other events are held. To this day, it is unclear when it was erected, when and under what circumstances it was demolished. It could probably hold more than 3.000 believers, there were five chapels on each side of the church and 11 altars on the main altar. It was built by the Jesuits, and its size is more reminiscent of a cathedral than a church. Today, numerous concerts and performances are held on the site of the former church, and the scenery of the ruins is very attractive to visitors.
Lokvina - the main town square
In order to make the location even more attractive, work has recently begun on the beginning of one of the most important projects in the old town of Kastav, and they relate, in addition to the arrangement of the Crekvina site, to Lokvina Square. From the beginning of the 15th century on Lokvina there is the old Kaštel where the captains lived, the governors who managed Kastav and the whole manor on behalf of the owner. In the former Kaštela more than 10 years ago, the boutique hotel Kukuriku was opened with a gourmet restaurant that offers a unique eno and gastronomic offer.
Lokvina is the heart of the city, the main town square named after the pond in which rainwater was collected for the needs of the city. According to tradition, in that puddle in 1666, the inhabitants of Kastav drowned Captain Morelli, who imposed more duties on them than prescribed by the Statute. It is interesting that the united Kastav people never gave the names of the perpetrators. Subsequently, the pond was covered and a cistern was set up, which still decorates the square today.
'Let's connect with heritage' project
As part of the project 'Let's connect with heritage', Lokvina Square will be renovated and presented to the public as a place for the presentation of cultural heritage. Crekvini is followed by conservation and furnishing to become the site of a modern form of presentation. It already has the function of a summer stage, and the new project raises the whole story to a higher level.
The project 'Let's connect with heritage' is being implemented within the Urban Agglomeration of Rijeka with the aim of building new and revitalizing existing cultural and historical heritage sites. It is co-financed by the European Union. The holder is the City of Rijeka, and the partners are the cities and municipalities that make up the Urban Agglomeration of Rijeka - the cities of Kastav, Kraljevica and Opatija, the municipalities of Čavle, Klana, Kostrena, Lovran, Mošćenička Draga and Viškovo and the Tourist Board of Rijeka. 13 physical locations of cultural heritage characteristic of each local area are included, and already built or revitalized facilities will create the possibility of stronger tourist, economic and regional development based on cultural identity.
As far as Crekvina is concerned, this is the second phase of rehabilitation and arrangement according to the project of the chief designer Nenad Fabijanić, after certain works worth 2017 million kuna were carried out in 2 in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism.
“The latest project comes down to interventions in very small side sacristy spaces that have never been built to completion, with a new challenge, a new time, new material. There will be a Summer Stage, grandstands and seats on the plateau ” - said the designer Fabijanić during the presentation of the results of the first phase of the arrangement. The entire investment should be completed by spring 2021.
The city is characterized by cultural events on Crekvina
Kastav is rightly proud of its cultural heritage and developed musical tradition. Cultural events are still today the most recognizable feature of the city, which over the centuries has preserved a significant part of its cultural and historical monuments and traditions. Each generation of Kastav residents added some new stones to this mosaic of cultural treasures, many will say.
Over the past decades, numerous events have developed: Kastav Cultural Summer, Guitar Festival and Kastav Blues Festival, which are among the best summer events in the region.
“The beginnings of the international cultural festival Kastav Cultural Summer date back to 1992, and the Guitar Festival has been held with great success since 1997. Kastav Blues Festival, as a unique and largest music event of this profile in the region and beyond, was held for the first time in 2008. . Since then, Kastav has become an inevitable music station for both eminent musicians and an increasing number of listeners and fans of this musical genre. ” - we learn from the Tourist Board of the City of Kastav.
An example of the revitalized Šibenik Fortress Barone
On January 29, 2021, the renovated Barone Fortress in Šibenik celebrated its fifth birthday, and it was this anniversary that gave me the idea for this blog. Namely, the revitalized Šibenik Fortress is the place where numerous manifestations and events take place, which has made it a cultural and tourist attraction of the city. A series of awards and recognitions won for various activities at the fortress are proof that the restoration project even exceeded initial expectations. Evening events five years ago look like this in numbers: a total of 120 evening events attracted 11.669 fans of good music, dance, movies and stand-up comedy. The space of the amphitheater came to life as an intimate stage, terrace, and as a cinema hall under the stars. Figures show how much cultural events in revitalized spaces are in demand today.
The combination of old and new is becoming increasingly popular
There are many examples of places where the 'old meets the new' around the world. Let us mention the old, abandoned church in the city of Santpedor in Spain, which has been converted into a multifunctional space for various cultural events. Architect David Closes has managed to preserve the historic value of the building by combining it with modern elements.
Sola Ruinchurch in Norway is another fantastic example of the fusion of old and new that is in high demand for various events. It is a small church located on an elevated location overlooking the beach. The last renovation brought the building glass and metal elements whose combination creates an interesting atmosphere. The church is mostly reserved for concert events, but also for weddings and similar private purposes. When it comes to private use, it may be worth mentioning that in recent years it has been possible to come across churches purchased with the intention of converting them into private homes. In the past, something like that would probably shock us, today it is no longer surprising, but it certainly arouses public interest.
And let's go back to Lokvina and Crekvina. These are places that are already gladly visited, and I believe that in the new guise they will be able to attract even more lovers of culture and heritage. Of course, attendance mostly depends on the events, but the atmosphere in which they take place is also of great importance for the complete experience.
The blog was downloaded from the portal Tourist stories.