Pazin, a town above the abyss


In the heart of Istria, proudly elevated on the edge of a steep cliff, lies Pazin. Only seemingly quiet and a little somnolent, this historic city will surprise you with stories from its turbulent past, rich cultural heritage and the beauties of untouched nature that surround it, but also with the original products that you will find in local households. Located on attractive intersections, the town has proudly survived through turbulent centuries of wars and struggles for supremacy.


Today, Pazin is the administrative centre of the Region of Istria, and has woven its beauties, customs and traditions into cordial hospitality for modern travellers. Here they will find an oasis of serenity, fragrances and original flavours of delicious snacks, a rich cultural heritage, which is proof of incredible historical events and the once important role this area had for Istria as a whole, as well as unusual attractions and a handful of unusual experiences.


You will often hear stories about the specific climate and – fog in Pazin. If you find yourself here in the winter months, a somewhat mystical feeling can accompany you that overwhelms you as you walk through its fog-shrouded streets.




Attractions in the heart of Istria


We begin the story of Pazin with the Pazin Cave, a deep abyss in the green heart of Istria. It is a natural attraction created by a strange game of nature, along the edge of which the former inhabitants built a town-fortress.

Its uniqueness has inspired many - Jules Verne placed the plot of his novel, Mathias Sandorf, here, and legends say that it served as the inspiration to describe the entrance to Hell in Dante's Divine Comedy.

The Pazin abyss is a distinctive natural phenomenon that represents the most beautiful example of the specific evolution of karst hydrography and morphology in Istria and is protected as a significant landscape. However, its true size can only be truly experienced live.


You can visit the picturesque abyss in safety accompanied by a speleologist in an exciting three-hour speleo adventure, a walk at the foot of the cliffs through lush vegetation along an educational hiking trail, whilst adrenaline enthusiasts can venture onto an unforgettable zip line. If you just want to admire this natural attraction, it will stay in your most beautiful memories photographed from the Vršić bridge or from the photo point at the foot of the Lovac hotel’s terrace.


Pazin Castle, the largest and best-preserved Istrian medieval fortress, was built on a limestone hill above Pazin Cave. It is mentioned as early as 983 as Castrum Pisinum, and after the fort, the city that developed around it was named: Pisin, Pasino, Mitterburg, Pasina, Pisinum and Castello Montecuccoli. Throughout its turbulent past, it served as a defensive fortress for various rulers, but also had a residential purpose. Today, it houses the Museum of the City of Pazin and the Ethnographic Museum of Istria, which preserve the valuable cultural and historical heritage of the Istrian peninsula.


The State Archive is located in the old part of the city, which is one of the richest in Croatia in terms of the material it houses, and in its immediate vicinity is the Franciscan Monastery, which has the oldest preserved library in Istria. Today, the monastery is a unique complex with its late Gothic Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the 15th century, which houses a late Gothic presbytery modelled on the Parish Church of St. Nicholas. It is also interesting that the Pazin Franciscans celebrate "Rome" or Porcijunkula as their biggest holiday - August 2, a day that eventually became the town's biggest annual celebration. Walking towards the centre you can also visit the Parish Church of St. Nicholas, which hides a fantastic cycle of wall paintings and an unusual star-shaped Gothic vault in the central field from 1456, which is decorated with a fresco of St. Michael, scenes of the creation of the world and the struggle of good and fallen angels. The 45-metre-high Pazin bell tower was built a little later, in 1705.


The centre of today's cultural and social life of Pazin is the building of the (Spomen Dom) Memorial Home, which is located in the centre, and was opened in September 1981, as a symbol of unity and freedom, after Istria was annexed to the mother country. In addition to a visit to the Memorial Home, a walk along the promenade of the Pazinska gimnazija is a must, whose century-old tree-lined avenue is at its most luxurious in autumn. If you visit Pazin on the first Tuesday of the month, you will notice that the promenade becomes a backdrop for the Pazin Fair, the largest traditional monthly fair in Istria, which received its permit back in 1539.


Explore the surroundings