Istria is characterized by blue sea, pebbles, rocky coves, green heartland, summer relaxation, high-end gastronomy, world’s best olive oil, renowned wines, luxury resorts and family homes...
This is why Istria year on year attracts more visitors and is becoming well-known among world tourist destinations. The connection between the heartland and the coast, peculiar landscape, interesting accommodation types like lighthouses, vistas one can see from bike trails as well as numerous events permeate with long-lasting tradition.
Istrian cultural heritage is very diverse. Numerus foreign influences left trace on architecture, art works and tradition.
On your visit to Istria, make sure you gift yourself one of the authentic Istrian souvenirs. The most popular is, certainly, the Arena’s stone replica - the most significant Istrian monument with 3000 years long history.
The Arena, as the symbol of Pula, impressively dominates Pula’s visuals and brings visitors back to a past where gladiators, for other people’s pleasure, fought for their lives. It is associated today with concerts of world renowned performers who chose this stage and remained enchanted. You’ll experience all this and a bit more if you visit the Arena and take a little piece of the atmosphere home with you - in the form of a stone souvenir.
Another recognizable Istrian symbol is the kažun. Stone house used for tool storage and coverage from rain while on the field. Kažun is a round-shaped construction with conical tip built of stone. It doesn’t have any windows and its entrance doors are low.
The biggest number of these stone houses is found on Istria’s southern and western part.
This unusual construction in miniature will surely remind you of Istria the entire year and cheer up your loved ones who will get it as a gift from you.
Wells (cisterns) were a part of all Istrian houses. Some of them are still there and are being used. Since wells were the only source of drinking, cooking and washing water, the owners took good care of them. Wells were regularly cleaned and embellished. They are mostly used today as decorations to the traditional Istrian stone house, and you’ll find them as souvenirs, too.
Istrian folk musical instrument resembling an hautboy is known as roženice and sopele. They are made out of various types of wood (olive, maple, cherry, walnut, rowan etc), have a cutting sound and are mostly used in celebrations accompanying dances – balun (traditional Istrian dance) or polka. For all musical enthusiasts, roženice can be a great gift as well as their replicas as souvenirs, of course.
Every visitor to Istria and Istrian taverns will surely be introduced to bukaleta. Istrians are very proud of this unusual jug which is used to serve wine, i.e. supa in special occasions. To make supa, you’ll need to toast a piece of bread on the grill and put sugar and pepper with oil in the bukaleta. Then, you add heated wine to the mixture and stir while dipping the bread into the jug.
Bukaleta’s shape didn’t change through time; they were first used in noble families and, thus, decorated particularly. The usage was later expanded for special occasions such as weddings, births etc.
Before leaving Istria, make sure you get a bukaleta as a souvenir. When you get home, try making the Istrian supa.