History of Rovinj

Even though first mentioned in „Cosmographia", from which we can conclude that Rovinj was founded between 3rd and 5th century AD, numerous archaeological findings confirm population of the area even in prehistoric times. The city has been built around the now church of St. Euphemia, and has successfully survived against Slavs, Neretvans and Saracens until the 10th century.

During the ruling of the Franks, Rovinj is acknowledged as an important harbour, and has seen the city walls built on the gorge around it, for easier defence. No matter the fortification, Rovinj has (as have most Istrian cities) been razed and burned multiple times in its history. Countless nations who have fought for supremacy on the Balkan peninsula saw the Istrian sea access as a key point for trade and industry development.

Because of its good climate and good position, Rovinj remained a key connecting port with Venice, even when their rule ended in 18th century. During the middle ages, Rovinj shows its relevance as a port, with Rovinjian "peots” (sailors) showing great courage on the Mediterranean seas, leading numerous trade ships all over the Mediterranean. Three out of twelve peots were awarded the prestigious Venetian order of Knights of St. Marcus.

After the ultimate fall of Venice in 1797, people of Rovinj are taking over their own city, and have even kept it during Austrian and French administration. Before the Austrians have acknowledged Rijeka and Trieste as free cities, Rovinj was the largest harbour in Istria. During the Austro-Hungarian rule, Rovinj sees a development in tourism (with Maria Theresia Seehospitz health resorts being founded), industry and maritime.

In 20th century, Rovinj becomes a key industrial centre of the then states, because of the tobacco and packaging industries. Today, Rovinj developed into an important tourism centre for Istria and Croatia, which attracts hundreds of thousands of guests each year. By walking through the prehistoric monuments and streets from the middle ages, visitors of this beautiful Mediterranean town can feel all the magic of this small sea town, while enjoying in the modern tourism.