On the border, Istria – small valleys of red and hills of grey


On wavy picturesque hills of the Istrian landscape, in the lull of the northern part, we can find Karojba and nearby smaller places with a big heart: Motovunski Novaki, Škropeti and Rakotule. The turbulent past of this area is testimony to the interesting role of the border area: from municipality records of the Istrian Demarcation, across the borders of the Venetian and Austrian parts even onto Istrian soil which is otherwise divided into red, grey and white land, each find their border here where fields and valleys of red and hills of grey Istria meet.


The municipality of Karojba, with its 1,500 inhabitants scattered around 39 villages and hamlets, is one of the last Istrian municipalities to be founded (1997). With its distinctive appearance spreading over 35 square kilometres, rising to 434 metres above sea level and descending to 18 metres above sea level, from where the coast, although hidden deep in the greenery of the peninsula, is only 15 kilometres away. The hilly relief of the flysch area here descends to the southwest and the karst plateau, creating some of the unique features of the nature of this locality, of noble and timeless beauty.


The natural border between Karojba and the Municipality of Motovun on the west side is the Krvar (Bloody) stream, a left tributary of the Mirna River. According to legend, but also according to the records of some historians, this stream got its name from the colour of the blood of the wounded and dead that flew through it following an Early Medieval battle. A fierce battle was fought between invaders who tried to conquer this area led by Attila and the natives, who tried to defend themselves, their houses and their property.



Karojba and its surroundings

Under the beautiful canopy of centuries-old pine trees, you will perceive Karojba from afar, the largest settlement in the area, the origins of which can be seen from the ancient monuments found in St. Andrew’s church. The tree-covered hills around the Valigaštar and Vrućak springs, where cattle used to be fed, are full of historical sites and have been inhabited since prehistoric times. In ancient times, a Roman military camp was located around the Valigaštar spring near which Roman roads crossed, so today's name probably comes from the name Quadruvium, indicating the intersection of four roads.


The parish church of All Saints is a single-nave building built in 1580, which was expanded in 1840 and 1913 and renovated in 1986. A 22-metre-high bell tower with three bells was built within the church. Above the main altar is a painting of All Saints, painted on canvas and the church received an organ in 1985.



St. Andrew’s Church dating back to 13th century, with built-in remains from the 8th century, is located in the cemetery, on the site of a former Roman necropolis. A sarcophagus preserved in front of the entrance to the cemetery is testament to its existence.


The Parish Church of St. Marina in Motovunski Novaki was built in 1879 on the site of an older one from the 16th century.


Škropeti today counts a hundred households including the settlements of Francovići, Fideli, Žudigi, Peckini, Ciganići and Livaki.


There is also a newer single-nave church of the Blessed Aloysius Stepinac, which was dedicated in 2010.


Rakotule or in the Italian version Raccotole di Montona is first mentioned in written records in the 13th century. Noble families and the Motovun Chapter made a considerable income from the local estates, especially from the forests, from which timber for the construction of Venetian ships was transported along the Mirna River to the sea and then on to Venice.


Idyllically surrounded by dry stone walls and cypresses, located in the cemetery, the little Romanesque church of St. Nicholas preserves one of Istria’s very important works of wall art, which was discovered in 1925. The church was built by the wealthy Barbo family, and the interior was painted for them in the middle of the 14th century by an excellent master, a follower of Paolo Veneziano. The frescoes in the apse of Christ in Glory (Maiestas Domini) together with scenes from the legend of St. Nicholas have been preserved.


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