Inhabited since prehistory, it was an independent pilgrim community (Piqventvm), during the Antiquity, as can be seen from the ruins of Ancient Roman cremation necropolises, found at Fontana below the old town and at Pintorija, as well as many other stone monuments from the Antiquity. The collapse of the Roman Empire brought about drastic change to the life of locals, as confirmed by findings in the graves of arriving Slavs and the barbarised Roman population in the 7th and 8th century at the cemeteries Mejica below Buzet, Zajčji brč near Veli Mluna and Mejica at Drobežija (Sovinjak). During the Byzantine rule, a fortification (a tower) was mentioned in 804 at the Placitum of Riziano. By 1102, when it went to the Patriarchate of Aquileia, the fort had already been under the rule of King Henry IV, Margrave Ulric, and his son. In 1421 it passes to the Venetian Republic that makes it in 1511 the headquarters of the Captain of Raspor, a military governor with executive and judicial authority in Venetian Istria. The town had undergone significant changes during the rule of the Venetian Republic: town walls were renovated and reinforced, towers and the monumental town gates were built, and many public works (a small well and a granary) were undertaken, with town palaces, craftsmen and trader’s houses constructed during the Renaissance. Secular baroque architecture began to develop with the Bigatto Palace (1639). Until the fall of the Venetian Republic (1797), the baroque gardens, Bembo Palace, Church of the Assumption (Uznesenja Marijina), and the square with a baroque cistern were built. During the 19th century, a large, so-called Neoclassical Palace (Moretti Palace) was erected, and the promenade at Lopar with a row of Neoclassical houses and a lapidarium in the south-west tower, as well as the Šotojorta promenade below the baroque gardens, laid out from the Large to the Small Gate, were built. Of historical events which have marked this region, we must mention the construction of the railroad (1874-1876) during the Austrian rule, and the construction of the Istrian water supply network (1930-1940) during the Italian administration.
The Regional Museum opened in 1961 and is housed at the ancient Bigatto Palace, completed in 1639, in the Buzet old town centre. Valuable archaeological, ethnographical, cultural and historical artefacts, artworks and other material important for Buzet and the Buzet Region are kept at the museum. The archaeological collection with a lapidarium; the ethnographical collection with various farming tools, an old Buzet kitchen, folk costumes of Ćićarija and Buzet, and a weaver’s loom; the legacy of Slavomir Cerovac and Miro Blažinčić; the exhibition on the fight against fascism in the Buzet Region and om the Glagolitic script; and the gallery space where art and other exhibitions take place, are open to visitors. The old town smithy, bakery, horn comb workshop, and a collection of firearms and cold arms from the legacy of Slavomir Cerovac are located throughout the old town and can also be visited.
The medieval castle of Pietrapelosa (also known as Pietrapilosa or simply as Kostel or Kosmati kaštel) is located on the top of a hill 119 m above sea level, overlooking the valley of the Brazzana river (Bračana).
Above the valley of the small Bračane River, at 119 meters above sea level, the medieval fort Petrapilosa (Pietrapelosa in Italian), known as Kostel or Kosmati Castle, sits high.
Archaeological finds tell us humans have lived there since prehistory, when a fortified settlement was probably standing where the castle is today, while certain findings indicate that a fort might have also been erected there in the Roman times, controlling the traffic on the river. Written sources first mention the fortification in the 10th century, when Patriarch Rodoald gifted the Ruin Fort, destroyed by Slavs and barbarians, to the Diocese of Poreč. Sources from the 11th century show that the fort belonged at the time to the Patriarchate of Aquileia. The fort was during the 13th and 14th centuries under the control of the family who gave it its name, a vassal of the Patriarchate Aquileia, The first known member of the family was Vulginius de Petrapilosa. In 1421, the castle, along with Buzet and Oprtalj, came under the administration of the Venetian Republic. The lord of Kopar and Piran, Nicolo Gravisi, was given the fort in 1440 for uncovering a conspiracy against the Venetian Republic. It will remain in the hands of the Gravisi dynasty until 1869. In the 1620s the castle was destroyed in a fire and never renovated, after which it was probably completely abandoned, even though church service was held at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, located within the fort, until 1793.
The fort was built on a strategic position, surrounded on three sides by steep slopes and cliffs, and can be reached only from the west side. The fort’s layout follows the narrow hillcrest and is aligned east to west. There are two main structures in the fort: the inner and the outer structure. The inner structure consists of a main tower, palace and an inner courtyard with the barely visible remains of former auxiliary facilities, while the outer structure enclosed the inner one from all sides, except from the south. In the outer courtyard, located in the eastern section of the fort, there are also remains of auxiliary buildings, while a crenelated battlement is part of the preserved sections of the outer courtyard’s east and south walls. The Church of St. Mary Magdalene bears the characteristics of Roman sacral architecture. During archaeological surveys, fragments of frescos, with graffiti in the Glagolitic script dated from the 15th and 16th century, were found.
Petrapilosa Castle tomorrow...
Bringing back to full functionality, the reconstruction and refurbishment of the Petrapilosa Castle consists of reconstruction, repair and furnishing works. The works include the repair of the existing walls of the Castle’s inner section and of the palace’s courtyard, reconstruction and conservation of outer walls, the outer courtyard and the access path as part of the integral revitalisation of the Castle, and the work on the presentation of the fort. After the works are completed, furnishing the Castle with the most modern multimedia technology and other equipment for the implementation of events at the Castle is planned.
The renovation and repairs of a protected immovable individual cultural good listed in the Register of Cultural Goods of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia (Petrapilosa Castle) with the designation Z-3994, which includes the following content for the visitors:
inner courtyard with a small stage for cultural, tourist and educational content;
outer courtyard with a large stage, a cloakroom and a storage space for cultural, tourist and educational content;
exhibition space inside the castle for the presentation of historical events related to the castle;
refurbished access to all floors of the palace and the west tower (promenade) with a viewpoint;
Church of St. Mary Magdalene where a part of the multimedia content for visitors will be located.
During the project, the following will be developed…
Multimedia technology will be used for projections on castle walls. For the projections, 3 to 5-minute-long animations will be made. The idea is to use animation to show the history, legends and the events related to the castle. Besides inside the 2 castles, the projections will also take place at the church in the Petrapilosa Castle, where the premises of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene will be used for interactive projections, by installing interactive floor projections – users will by walking reveal artefacts found in the area. After the user stops moving, dust will cover the floor once again.
An exterior totem sign, with a touch sensitive screen of about 50 inches and a camera, will stand next to the very entrance to the castle and will mainly be used as an information point for tourists. It will contain all the basic information (maps, brochures, postcards, video presentations, and where one can take selfies) in more than 5 languages.
A LIVE KNIGHT
A live knight will stand next to an exterior totem sign, that is, a knight’s armour with multimedia technology that simulates sound and movement, and acoustic sensors, will be set up, all with the aim to entertain the visitors.