Should you find yourself in Buje, walk along the old, stone-paved streets to the town’s ancient centre on the hill. On the main square, next to the resplendent Church of St. Servulus, stands a belfry dating back to the 15th century.
A view of four countries from the bell tower
In fair weather, the view from the belfry encompasses parts of four countries: Slovenia, Italy, Austria and Croatia. To the north, the view reaches across the landscape of the Slovenian Littoral up to the Italian and Austrian Alps. You can see the Slavnik and Nanos, Slovenian mountains in the hinterland of Kopar, as well as the Piran Bay. To the east is Učka, Istria’s only mountain. Using binoculars, you should be able to see Venice, the world famous Italian city built on the sea. Spreading out before you is the Adriatic Sea, and the towns of Istria’s coast and interior – Novigrad, Tar, Brtonigla, Momjan and many others.
The bell tower in Buje – one of the highest in Istria
In 2011. the belfry has been completely renovated to allow visits for a greater number of tourists. The wooden stairs leading to the top have been reconstructed. A safety railing and transparent, Plexiglas sheets protect the observatory encircling the bells, providing an unobstructed view in all four directions. A wire mesh protects the bells, which are also an attraction. The belfry is one of the highest in Istria, next only to the 63-metre belfry in Vodnjan, some 70 kilometres to the south.
Buje – “the Guard of Istria” and a city with two bell towers
What makes Buje even more interesting is the fact that its old town has two belfries. The second belfry, slightly lower but nonetheless imposing, is located next to the Mother of Mercy Church.
The bell tower was given the nickname “the guard of Istria” because it was the watchtower for the entire region, and the 13th-century city seal bore the image of the bell tower, the guard of the city.