Općina Grožnjan - Comune di Grisignana
|• Mayor||Rino Duniš|
|• Total||68 km2 (26 sq mi)|
|Population (2001 census)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Website||Grožnjan Municipality Official Website|
Grožnjan (Italian: Grisignana) is a settlement and municipality in Croatia. It is part of Croatia's Istria County, which takes up most of the Istria peninsula. It is the only Croatian settlement to have an ethnic Italian majority.
The first mention of Grožnjan dates from 1102. when istrian Marquess Ulrich II and his wife Adelaida granted their land to Patriarch of Aquileia. In this document the fort is called Castrum Grisiniana. In 1238 Grožnjan was in property of Vicardo I. Pietrapalosa. In 1286 Grožnjan fort was lent to the Aquileian patriarch during war with Venice but changes sides in 1287 and gives Grožnjan to Venice.
Vicard’s son Pietro inherited Grožnjan after his father’s death in 1329, and when he died in 1339 it again became patriarch’s property. The patriarch rented it to Friulian noble family de Castello. In 1354 Grožnjan's new owner became Volrich, or Ulrich, Reifenberg, who in 1358 sold it to Venice for 4,000 ducats in order to pay his debts. Volrich was a son of Deitalm, a descendant of Aquileian patriarch Volcher, and in 1356, during the war between Venice and Hungary, his army, entrenched in Grožnjan, strongly resisted the Hungarian army. Yet it seems that at the same time Volrich negotiated the surrendering of Grožnjan in Venice.
Venice took Grožnjan over in 1358 and ruled until its demise in 1797. In 1359 the Umag captain Pietro Dolfin moved to his new residence in Grožnjan, and in 1360 and 1367 he fortified the town walls and renovated the palace.
Captain’s Office moved from Grožnjan to Raspo in 1394, when a central rule was established for the whole area. Since then Grožnjan was governed by Venetian noblemen who were given the title of "Mayor". From the early 16th century Grožnjan's mayors were chosen among Koper noblemen. In the 15th century judicial duties were performed by the Pietrapelosas, and in 1446 the town walls were fortified in order to protect it from possible Turkish attacks. After the terrible plague in 1630 the Grožnjan area became almost completely deserted. In order to revitalize the area the St. Mark’s Republic brought Italian families from Veneto and Friuli; these were mostly tradesmen who settled in towns. Settlers were invited by the Venetian Republic to cultivate the abandoned land in some hamlets around Grožnjan. Most of the settlers were Morlaks from Dalmatia, but also Slavic people, Albanians and Greeks, all refugees of the Ottoman Empire.
All settlers in Istria were given free land and were exempt from fiscal duties and work obligations for twenty years; the only condition was to cultivate the land within five years. Economic success of colonization of villages reflected on the towns as well: trade and transportation developed and demographics improved.
After the fall of Napoleon’s Empire in 1813, his Illyrian provinces, including Grožnjan, became part of the Austrian Empire. In 1816 the Austrian Emperor Francis II visited Grožnjan on his tour through Istria and met with the local clergy and population.
During Austrian rule the Grožnjan area flourished. Building of the Parenzaner Bahn railroad in 1902 enhanced development of trade and agriculture. Wine, olive oil, eggs and other produce were sold in Koper and Trieste. According to the 1910 census, the town of Grožnjan had 1,658, and the municipal area 4,028 inhabitants. The town had a doctor, a post office, a school, a lawyer, notary public, oil- processing plant, bakery, groceries and clothing stores, two butcher’s, several inns and various trade shops (shoemakers, blacksmiths, tailors, carpenters, etc.).
Kingdom of Italy 1918-1945
The dissolution of the Austrian Empire, the subsequent Italian rule and the Great Depression had its consequences. In the 1920s people started to emigrate, looking for work in Trieste and overseas. During the rule of the Kingdom of Italy Grožnjan attained waterworks, the area was electrified, and the Mirna river valley was reclaimed.
After the Second World War, Istria was divided into two parts, the Yugoslav one and the Free Territory of Trieste, which was divided into Zone A, controlled by the US Army, and Zone B, controlled by the Yugoslav Army. Grožnjan become a part of Zone B. On October 5, 1954 the London Memorandum was signed and Zone A was assigned to Italy, and Zone B to the People’s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1975 the Treaty of Osimo divided the Free Territory of Trieste and Grožnjan became part of Yugoslavia.
The London Memorandum provided the population with the option of emigration to Italy. The new Yugoslavia's emergent communist system and its application, along with lingering hostilities between Italians and Yugoslavs (like the murder of priest Francesco Bonifacio), contributed to a large wave of emigration (part of the Istrian exodus). By April 1956, 2/3 of the population emigrated from the area to Italy.
In 1955 Grožnjan lost its municipality status and became part of Buje municipality. In 1965, when the Town of Arts was founded, some of the housing was given to artists from Croatia, Slovenia and Vojvodina, and some were assigned to the Cultural Centre of the International Music Youth Federation in 1969. In 1993. Grožnjan got its municipality status again.
According to the 2001 census in Croatia, the whole of Grožnjan Municipality has 785 inhabitants, while the Settlement of Grožnjan itself has 185 inhabitants. The ethnic composition of the Municipality is 51.21% Italians, 26.24% Croats, 18.6% regionally declared ("Istrians"), and 2.42% Slovenes, which makes Grožnjan the only Croatian municipality (općina) with a majority share of ethnic Italians. The native language in the Municipality is 66.11% Italian, 29.17% Croatian, and 3.57% Slovene.
Today Grožnjan is the meeting point of young musicians from all over the world because the International Cultural Centre of Young Musicians has its seat here. Every year Grožnjan organizes music courses (violin, cello, viola, piano, organ, etc.), orchestra courses, ballet courses, recital, directing, video and sound recording and reproduction courses, seminars for architects, panel discussions about environmental protection and yoga courses. The area offers good opportunities for walking, cycling, hunting and speleology. A restaurant in Grožnjan offers Istrian specialities. During summer months concerts and music events are held almost every day. At the end of summer, the international art ex tempore is held.
Grožnjan is also the location of an annual jazz festival, attracting international musicians, such as Georgie Fame in 2007. In 2008 it won the European award for best small jazz festival. It is normally held for two weeks at the end of July and early August. From 2009 it will last for three weeks.
Villages in the municipality
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