One of the most picturesque archaeological sites on the western coast of Istria – Sipar – is located on the point of the same name just 4km north of Umag . According to archaeological sources, the area surrounding Sipar was inhabited in the early iron age. During Roman times, it developed into a civitas, a settlement with the characteristics of a well-organised Roman town. Sipar is believed to have been destroyed around 876 CE in fierce battles between Duke Domagoj of Croatia and the Venetians. After the destruction of Sipar, the nearby town of Umag began to develop.
What is left of Sipar?
Today, at low tide, it is possible to see the remains of the sunken town in the sea. Recent archaeological research underwater and on land has uncovered 17 spaces in the settlement with a long hall, which was built throughout many centuries. Numerous objects were found, such as amphorae from Gaza, fine ceramics, bone tools, and various lids dating from the 1st century BCE to the 2nd century CE. A pentagonal tower likely dating to the 5th century was also cleared. Two hundred metres of sea-facing walls, a large warehouse with support pylons, an oven for metalworking, a stone with openings for pressing olives (3rd/4th century CE), and around 5,000 other items have also been discovered.
From sunken town to archaeological park
The Umag Town Museum’s “From Sunken Town to Archaeological Park” project foresees further research in the area of the ancient town of Sipar until 2020. The museum organises an archaeology school, workshops, and professionally guided tours around the archaeological site.