in Architecture+Design2 months ago (edited)

The name of the place is Oprtalj. I visited it a couple of weeks ago.

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It's an old town, or something like a village with a well-defined urban structure, situated in the northern part of Istra.

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From up - close, while approaching one of the medieval gates that lead to the compact center, it definitively looks like a town ...


... but from the outside, from the place where I parked my car, it looks more like a small village immersed in the surrounding landscape dominated by forests and fields.


Only the church tower suggests that there could be something more urban hidden behind the lush vegetation.

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In this photograph, I'm walking towards the town, and I'm almost there. If you take a good look, you may notice a small but interesting little temple in the lower right part of the picture. It's the
Church of St. Roch, but before saying something about it ...

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... I would like to show you the view from the hill on which I was standing and on which Oprtalj was built.

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From here you can take a good look at the landscape in the valley ...

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... and you can see some other towns and villages too.


This is Motovun. A similar but bigger old town that was built long ago on the crest of one of the neighboring hills. I had a great clear view of its urban layout from here.

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Here you can see the village of Livade ...


... in the valley between Motovun and Oprtalj. I drove through it on my way to where I'm currently standing. I mean, where I was standing back then, a couple of weeks ago. 😀 I'm in my old armchair now, in front of the PC screen.

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I can't enjoy this drone - view every day ...

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... so I spent half an hour or so observing the surrounding landscape ...

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... that looked like a nice, relaxing tapestry made of woods, fields, and small settlements scattered across those green surfaces. And now ...

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... is time to say a few more words about the small church that I mentioned before the scenic detour.

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The Church of St. Roch was built in the 14th century. The loggia in front of the main building was added three centuries later. The church is situated along the main road that leads to the gate of the old town. I will continue that way, but a bit later.


In this photograph, I'm approaching Oprtalj across the narrow belt of fields behind the town.


I'm using the word behind because the front facades of most of the buildings look in the opposite direction, so I felt a relatively strong feeling of being behind.

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The old protective stone wall is still partially visible. Is not that high anymore, but its remains are here, merged with the backyards of the current settlement.


Here you can take a look at the landscape that can be seen from this side of the hill.

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I noticed a bit of smoke ...

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... somewhere in the distance.

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This lantern was photographed across the street from The Church of St. Roch.

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It looked a bit like a simplified humanoid creature with a helmet on its head. The lantern was mounted on the pole near the wall bordering the street.


In these four shots, you can take a look at the terrace - garden on the slope of the hill, underneath that wall. The round table and some kind of psychedelic design were arranged on the edge of the small field with potato and green beans plants. It looked like a hippy living room with no constraining walls around it. An interesting piece of interior design for those who prefer to stay outdoors on a nice, sunny day like the one shown in this post.

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Soon I 'passed by these old houses that were relatively recently renovated.

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Is great to see an old stone building that is still in use. Houses like this one keep the spirit of the old medieval town still present in the atmosphere on the top of the hill.


Here you can see a row of connected buildings that form the compact urban core of the medieval town, and the gate, the passage that leads to the history encapsulated behind that wall of houses. Before entering ...


... let's take a look across the street, at one of the most iconic buildings of Oprtalj.


This is the town's Loggia. It was built in the 16th century ...

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... and, until the fall of the Venetian Republic that administrated the town from 1420 to the aforementioned fall in 1797, used as the seat of the court.

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Oprtalj was a fortified town, part of the line of similar fortifications along the Venetian border in Istra ...

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... so the Republic of San Marco left a strong mark on this town.

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Some of the artifacts from that period ...

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... are now decorating the interior of the renovated Loggia.

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Before exiting the building ...

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... I decided to photograph the town's gate through the elegant arches of the Loggia.


The three objects in this shot form a nice, decorative arrangement. You can see a stone bench. a relatively large glass bottle and the young citrus tree. The scene was photographed through the gate, before entering.

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The world outside the old town was still in the shade, while the interior was transformed by the vivid golden light provided by the rising sun. The contrast was amazing. Quite ordinary - but amazing.
With the following photograph ...


... I'm finally in.


The barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) were flying around ...

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... and resting on the cobblestone surface of the small square on this side of the passage.


Two birds were chatting on a nearby facade.

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From the outside, the gate was a single arch. Elegant and simple. On this side, there is a bit of unexpected complexity in the construction. You can see a few more arches and proportions are different.


This swallow stopped to take a rest on the rusted piece of metal that was protruding from the upper arch.

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Among the birds down on the ground ...


... I saw one with a piece of dry grass in its beak. Some swallows are still building or repairing their nests. Adding a layer of solid bird architecture to the old town.

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Soon I took one last look through the window above the gate ...


... said goodbye to the two birds on the facade, the only ones that were in the same place the whole time ...


... and continued uphill ...

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... towards the main square and the biggest church in town.


That way led me through an interesting, slightly surreal passage.

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The chairs were hanging from the ceiling.


Soon I passed through another passageway under the old buildings.


I was almost in the open when this photograph was taken.


The Parish Church of Saint George was built in the 15th century ...

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... in the place where once stood an older church mentioned in the 12th century.

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The church was enlarged in the 17th century and the front facade was changed, but the building still has some older elements on display.


The church tower across the square was added in the 16th century.

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Here you can take a more up-close look at the lovely old house near the tower and the seep, narrow street that leads downhill from there.


After a quick exploration of the area in front of the church ...

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... I continued in the direction opposite from where I came from.

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In that part of Oprtalj ...

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... quite a few buildings were abandoned.

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The decay looked pretty good because the old ruins were abundantly decorated with fresh vegetation.

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This little tree looks like a local inhabitant, busy watching the street in hope that something exciting will happen before the end of the summer.


Here you can see a simple but effective radial design ...

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... on the gate to the yard of the decaying building shown in the previous photographs.

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After photographing this lantern mounted on the ivy-covered facade of that same building ...

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... I walked toward another abandoned corner of that neighborhood.


I entered another sotoportego ...

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... and photographed the building's interior. The decay created an interesting mess of architectural elements. Non-functional but nicely weird and kinda poetic place.

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In front of the half-open, half-broken wooden door, an intricate mess made of old, torn, and unraveled ropes, was laying on the ground. The thing looked like a wig fallen from the head of a clown. Or an aging hair metal fan that has lost his natural mane.

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After exiting the place, I continued rambling around that neighborhood ...

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... where I found some more ruins ...

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... and a cat. I always photograph at least one cat in each small town that I visit. That is never planned. I mean, I never plan it, but it could be a part of a wider plan. 😀 The Universe or some Divinity may have planned all those feline encounters.

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Some of the nearby houses are still inhabited.

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The laundry was hanging on the line ...


... and some lovely, cultivated plants that I never saw before were blooming in the yards.


This is the Clematis viticella, a species commonly known as Purple clematis or the Italian leather flower.

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Some plants found their place under the sun among the stones in front of one of the abandoned ruins.

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Here you can take an up-close look at the Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum flower.


After photographing one more house in that part of Oprtalj ...

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... I felt that walking back to the church and then continuing out of the old town, could be a good idea.

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As I was approaching the tower ...

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... the arrangements around the tower were changing. Here you can see a bunch of beautiful white roses in the foreground. With the following photograph ...


... I'm in the central square again.

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This time I photographed some stuff that I didn't notice before.

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A line of stylized cypress trees, drawn on one of the facades ...

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... the graceful yellow Calla lily in the vase on the window sill ...

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... and these mysterious sculptures that somehow got unnoticed the first time that I passed this way. There is nothing I can say about them because I found no information on the Internet.


This photograph was taken near one of the passages that I visited before. You saw the other side of it earlier in the post.


The focus is on different details now. Here you can see some nice old kitchen pots and simple kettles turned into outdoor flower pots.

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I'll show you two more details before continuing through the sotoportego. This old door with a lock on it ...


... and this stairway with some nice, intricate decorations on the rusted metal railing.

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Here I'm about to reach the other side.

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Another old building, this one still in function ...

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... and the simple, vintage garden furniture on the street in front of it.

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I passed this relaxing little corner ...


... and took a look from the opposite direction.

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Here I stopped to photograph this yellow door (or a window, I'm not sure) decorated with a handwritten quote ( or a variation of something written in the original story) from a fairy tale of a Croatian author that lived in the last decades of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th. Her name is Ivana Brlich Mazuranich and she created, among other things, some great imaginative stories with elements of Slavic mythology. The pebbles represent the minuscule beings that appear in one of her stories and live like sparks among the flames in the bonfire.

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In one of the parallel streets, I found a studio that deals with architecture, interior design, and stuff like that. How appropriate for this post that will be soon published in the Architecture + Design community.

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These old barrels were laying near the town's gate. With the following photograph ...

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... I'm out, directed towards the place where I parked the car.


On the way there I noticed these shoes that grew on the tree.

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On one of the trees along the only road that leads in and out of Oprtalj.


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The mystery of the shoes, will it be some kind of witchcraft or someone lost them there, maybe it's a joke, I think we'll never know, the photos are wonderful, I really transported myself to that beautiful place with you, thanks for these beautiful photos of these beautiful infrastructures .

Thanks. 🙂 Glad you like the post.

The landscape around Oprtalj is just awesome! Thanks for your beautiful post, @borjan.

Thanks. 🙂Glad you like the post. 🙂

Beautiful valley and characteristic old town.

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You show so many very beautiful pictures of nature and buildings.
I am amused to see it.

Thank you for taking us on a virtual tour of nature's beautiful landscape and historic old buildings.

The city is clean and very charming, my friend. You are lucky to have a clean city

such a good picture, you have taken a lot of pictures both in terms of the building or the conditions there And also the agricultural fields that have provided entertainment for us.

Telling stories from historical old cities, which are complemented by photos of old buildings and also artifacts or abandoned objects, is very interesting for me. I also really enjoy virtual tours of the content you share like this my friend @borjan. thanks for sharing with us 👍

Great post 👍👍👍

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