Kažun represents a traditional Istrian dry stone shelter for peasants and shepherds, typically erected in areas where it was necessary to clear the stone in order to create a viable piece of land for cultivation. Kažun belongs to a larger group of similar vernacular architecture across Europe, predominantly in the Mediterranean region.
There are similar shelters all along the Croatian coast, carrying different local names like bunje, čemeri, poljarice, kućice, vrtujci, komarde and trimi. The golden age of kažun in this region appears in the 18th and 19th century, when the rise in population led to an increased demand for olive groves, vineyards and sheep grazing. Kažun is an example of architecture without an architect, where the main characteristics are the use of a single material for the entire building, presence of very few structural components, a corbelled conical stone dome roof named a false or pseudo dome and a rapid economical building process.
Today kažun represents a distinct identity of Vodnjan, cherished with pride by local population and a source of a never ending inspiration. People have realized that by protecting and reconstructing kažuns, they are not only preserving a tradition, but also themselves. Not far from the Church of St. Fosca there’s a location called ’’at three kažuni’’, where you can find three beautiful kažuns, unusually bigger, one near the other, and a little bit further another great spot with two beautiful kažuns.