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Općina Grožnjan – Comune di Grisignana
View of Grožnjan/Grisignana
|• Mayor||Claudio Stocovaz|
|• Total||68 km2 (26 sq mi)|
|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.
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In Grisignana are found ancient roman artifacts and near Grisignana is the remains of a roman house, but the first mention of Grisignana dates from 1102, when Margrave of Istria Ulric II and his wife Adelaida granted their land to Patriarch of Aquileia. In this document the fort is called Castrum Grisiniana. In 1238 Grisignana was the property of Vicardo I. Pietrapalosa. In 1286 Grožnjan fort was lent to the Aquileian patriarch during war with Venice but changed sides in 1287 and Grisignana was given to Venice.
Vicard’s son Pietro inherited Grisignana after his father’s death in 1329, and when he died in 1339 it again became the patriarch’s property. The patriarch rented it to a 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 Grisignana, strongly resisted the Hungarian army. Yet it seems that at the same time Volrich negotiated the surrendering of Grisignana in Venice.
Venice took Grisignana over in 1358 and ruled until its demise in 1797. In 1359 the Umag captain Pietro Dolfin moved to his new residence in Grisignana, and in 1360 and 1367 he fortified the town walls and renovated the palace.
Captain’s Office moved from Grisignana to Raspo in 1394, when a central rule was established for the whole area. Since then Grisignana was governed by Venetian noblemen who were given the title of "Mayor". From the early 16th century Grisignana'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 Grisignana 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 Grisignana. 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 Grisignana, became part of the Austrian Empire. In 1816 the Austrian Emperor Francis II visited Grisignana on his tour through Istria and met with the local clergy and population.
During Austrian rule the Grisignana area flourished. Building of the Parenzana Railway 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 Grisignana 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
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 Grisignana 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 2011 census in Croatia, the whole of Grožnjan/Grisignana Municipality has 736 inhabitants, while the Settlement of Grožnjan/Grisignana itself has 164 inhabitants. The ethnic composition of the Municipality is 39.40% Italians, 29.62% Croats, 18.21% regionally declared ("Istrians"), and 2.17% Slovenes, which makes Grožnjan/Grisignana the only Croatian municipality (općina) with a majority share of ethnic Italians. The native language in the Municipality is 56.52% Italian, 37.36% Croatian, and 2.72% Slovene.
Grožnjan/Grisignana has an annual jazz festival, that was started by Boško Petrović, attracting international musicians, such as Georgie Fame in 2007, Mike Sponza. In 2008 it won the European award for best small jazz festival. It is held for two or three weeks, in the second half of July. Also Grožnjan/Grisignana has an annual painting festival, The extempore.
Villages in the municipality
- "Population by Age and Sex, by Settlements, 2011 Census: Grožnjan". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012.
- The Statute of Grožnjan art. 3
- "Population by Ethnicity, by Towns/Municipalities, 2011 Census: County of Istria". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012.
- "Population by Mother Tongue, by Towns/Municipalities, 2011 Census: County of Istria". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012.
- "U nedjelju u Grožnjanu kreće festival Jazz is Back!BP". Glas Istre (in Croatian). Retrieved 19 October 2015.
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