Welcome to the track of the Istrian Demarcation which leads from one of the oldest until the youngest town in Istria. We start from the old town of Labin, sited on a 320 meters high hill.
Although in its city centre you’ll be able to admire mostly buildings that are preserved since Venetian times, like the magnificent town gate San Fior, the city loggia, the palaces Franković Manzini, Scampicchio, Negri e Battiala-Lazzarini (National museum), or even the architecture from the end of the 19th century, there’s a little consideration to be done: Labin is far older town than it could seem at first sight!
Formerly known as the bastion of the Istrian mining, today it is the town of galleries and art studios. During summer Labin turns into a town of art, and on its streets most significant events of the contemporary art scene take place (Labin Art Republic).
So do not hesitate, enter in its old centre and furtively glance in the galleries, in the art studios and visit the churches of Labin like, for example those of St. Stephen and of St. Just or enter into the Parish church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the 14th century. In the meantime you could also visit the Memorial collection of Matthias Flacius Illyricus (1520-1575), collaborator of the famous Martin Luther and one of the most eminent supporters of the Protestant reform, born just in this place. If you follow the street of G. Martinuzzi, you will reach Fortica (belvedere) from which suddenly appears a magnificent view to the sea with Rabac and the island Cres, and also to the Istria’s highest mountain – the mountain Učka.
If you are fed up of the Labin sensations, ride further through Vinež towards Golji and St. Martin. With the homonymous Parish church from the beginning of the 20th century, built on the place of a previous one dating from the early middle age, St. Martin has grown around an onetime aristocratic estate, best confirmed by the so called ‘’Baron’s yard’’. From one side bordered by a well cultivated pine wood, this yard consist of several buildings built in different periods of time, which closes the inner yard with a miniature tree line leading to the beautiful, one floor baroque palace Lazzarini with a quadrangular turret at the northern entrance. If you ride further over Martinski, you reach Šumber which name derives from a feudal family name Schönberg. Just few straggling little houses and a round tower of the onetime castle walls, is all what is left from the former feudal castle dating from the 17th century, built on the fundaments of a prehistoric hill-fort risen over the Raša river valley.
Riding through Potpićan – the youngest place in Istria, risen by the today’s closed anthracite coal-pit shaft, you get to Kršan – a feudal property named after the rockiness of the surroundings. The most characteristic of all the fortified towns of the entire Raša river valley, Kršan has grown on the fundaments of an old early middle age burg, which constituted an independent gentleman’s estate under the Pazin shire. From the 14th century under the Austrian dominion, and then until the 19th century owned by several families, Kršan has remained as one of the most preserved castles in Istria which almost encircled an entire townlet.
Before departing towards Nedešćina and the industrial area (and Crodux gas station), back to Labin, carefully remember this place! Right here, between the high walls of the Kršan castle, dominated by a quadrangular tower adorned with human figures and the nearby Parish church of St. Anton the abbot from the 17th century, in 1850 has been found one of the most important middle age documents – the renowned “Istrian Demarcation Act”. Firstly written in Glagolitic, and then in Latin and German languages, this text has revealed a special chapter of the Istrian middle age, considering that there were clearly set the territorial borders!