Path of St. Silvester (706)
Length: 14,9 km
Altitude: 399 m
Highest point: 499 m
Lowest point: 302 m
Duration: 2:30 h
The walking path of St. Silvester connects Borut and the 7 km distant Draguć. It was named after the church that once stood along the way to Draguć, while its traces are barely visible today. The path has green and yellow hiking markings, whose starting point is at Borut train station. They first take us southwest, along approximately 200 metres of the main asphalt road, where we go up the steps and begin the Poli Farož ascent. Further, still on the asphalt road and moving uphill, we reach the cemetery of Borut with its church of St. Michael. The church of St.Michael the Archangel is the parish church of Borut. It dates back to the 13th century, while its extension and renovation took place in 1787, as indicated by the rustic inscription above the entrance door. It was then when the bellcote with two bells was added to the church, while its interior was renovated in the Baroque style.
Here at the church the trail continues uphill along the path. The markings will then, for a brief moment, take you off the path and lead to the ruins of an old chapel, after which they emerge on the main trail again, which we proceed on moving uphill. On our left hand side we will soon experience a panoramic view of the whole valley of the Borut creek, the bell tower of Lindar on a hilltop, on whose left we will see Gračišće, and finally, the bell tower of Gologorica. After 2.5 km, we move ahead onto the wide unpaved path coming from the direction of Cerovlje and Perviš, which we continue, moving on the right and passing along the grove with newly planted olive trees, next to the abandoned Komarija estate. On our right, the view of Učka, Dolenja Vas and Lupoglav unflods, after which we perceive Hum and the restored houses next to the until recently abandoned hamlet of Tibole. Around 4 km further, we reach an intersection where a path forks on the right and goes through the hamlet of Grdinići to finally return to Borut. We will take this path on our way back, while for the time being we continue ahead towards Draguć. The ancient dry stone wall on the right side of the path was in the past the border between Tibole and Borut, and the very end of the wall marked the border between Austrian and Venetian Istria from 1525 to 1797. Here, we turn left and go off the trail taking the forest path uphill. The path has red and white hiking markings, since this is the section of the Pazin hiking route leading from Pazin to the top of Učka. We are slowly climbing uphill along the narrow path, feeling as we aren't alone. Knot-like swellings on an oak tree, as large as human heads, look like some magical creatures. The walkers call them ''guardians of Stari Draguć''. We are actually talking about mistletoe or ''bisak'' – the plant that is in Istria used in the production of grappa ''biska'', and is a parasite that grows on oaks. The impression that we definitely aren't alone is justified by the traces of wild animals on the path, together with a badger burrow, which we will carefully pass by paying attention not to disturb its occupant.
Out of the forest, we arrive at a clearing and later, at the end of the cliff, we again go through the forest. At this point, one path forks left, but we proceed and reach the next intersection of paths where markings take us on the by path on the left. Somewhere near here, on the right hand side of the intersection, stood the church of St. Silvester around 200 years ago. The homonymous fraternity, which was one of many fraternities that existed at Draguć at the time, was in charge of it. We can not tell precisely what happened with this church but it seems that, after fraternities had been abolished, it remained without a custodian and was therefore abandoned. There was a rumour at Draguć that the inhabitants of Borut had stolen a lot of cut stone from the ruins of the old church and later used it to build their houses. But, when strange things started happening at Borut, they got scared and returned all the stone back.
Soon, we reach another intersection marked with red signs leading us on the left, through the forest and to the Stari Draguć fort. By a roundabout path, the trail later returns again to this very point, which is the point where we proceed downhill towards Draguć. Therefore, if anyone is tired and feels at ease in the presence of ''guardians of Stari Draguć'', let them take a rest and wait for us here. We are about to visit a prehistoric fort, which is the one laid on the highest altitude among all forts in Istria, situated on the hill on our left hand side.
Path to Stari Draguć
The path leading to Stari Draguć first meanders along the base of the hill, on the trail that was sporadically fortified by an ancient dry wall. After we've almost circumvented the hill, the signpost takes us off the path again, and we take a sharp turning right and proceed uphill. Nearby the hilltop, we pass along one of the many walls that encircle the plateau, and this particular one is the best example of the way of construction that dates back to the Bronze Age: both exterior sides of the wall were built of cut stone, while the gap between them was filled with hearting. The markings take us through a little forest to the highest point which is, depending on the map you are using, at 502 - 505 above masl.
The fort has never been systematically explored, but explorers and passers-by have so far reported numerous accidentally found objects, whose surfaces preserve only fragments of Bronze Age pottery, which can today be found at the Archaeological Museum of Istria in Pula. Unfortunately, many copper objects and a palstab axe (Bronze Age flanged axe), of which certain explorers reported, aren’t preserved. As a matter of fact, we have lost any trace of those, since they have remained parts of private collections, instead of being professionally processed and stored in museums. If you happen to notice a peculiar object along the path, let us know. It might help us complete the story of this remarkable place. We proceed along the path which, in the shape of a bend, takes us downhill to the point where we went off the path leading to Draguć. It is exactly from here where we continue uphill and soon reach a wider path, followed by the intersection towards Škrinjari, where we take the left turning and in no time arrive at Draguć.