Old Savudrija: in search of the ancient harbour

The largest and most important ancient harbour on the Croatian Adriatic coast is located in Savudrija, in the far northwest of Istria. This harbour was deep enough for large boats, and its position made it the last safe harbour on the sailing route towards the former Roman military colony of Aquileia.

In Roman times, the harbour was protected by two symmetrically built breakwaters at the western end of the bay. The northern breakwater, on which a lighthouse now stands, was renovated in 1996.

In the Gulf of Piran today, there are few terraced house buildings. The Parish Church of St. John the Evangelist (10th-11th century), renovated in 1826, is also located here. An especially interesting urban element is the monumental, early 20th century town drinking fountain located at the entrance to the village.

The secret behind the name Salvore

According to legend, Savudrija was named after Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I's son, who attempted to hide in a cistern during a sea battle near Savudrija against the united fleet of Pope Alexander III in the year 1177. The Italian expression Salvo re, which translates roughly as the king's salvation, was turned into the toponym Salvore – Savudrija.

Grande Estate or Villa Cesare

Near Savudrija harbour, you will find Grande Estate, also known as Villa Cesare, a true gem of 19th century Istrian summer estate architecture. Built as a silkworm farm for Angelo Fabris, a noble from Piran, the estate was renovated and expanded after 1877 for its second owner, Trieste industrialist Carlo Cesare. The estate consists of a large palace with a tower and farm buildings, most of which are in ruins today. The summer palace complex has been entered into the List of Protected Cultural Goods within the Croatian Register of Cultural Goods.

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