Dvigrad history

Double-town is an abandoned medieval town in central Istria, Croatia. Dvigrad is situated in Draga - a deep valley that stretches from Pazin to the sea, ending in the Lim sea cannel, that marked the border between the Pula and Porec territories.

In prehistoric times and in the classical period a way ran through the Limska Draga valley connecting the coast with the inland of Istria. Already inhabited by the Illyrians, two fortifed villages gradually prospered. According to the archeological finds, as long as the Roman Empire prospered, Dvigrad/Docastei thrived as well. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Aquileian patriarchs fought fiercely against Venice that had already gained considerable influence on the west coast of Istria. The well known aristocratic family from Pula/Pola, the Castropols/Castropola, got involved in this battle siding with Goricians dukes who fought as patriarchs' lawyers. During the heavy clashes between Genoa and Venice, Dvigrad was besieged by the Genoese admiral Paganin Doria who sacked it in 1345. In the year 1383 in the battles that followed, Dvigrad was reconquered, but this time by the Venetians, who burnt it, slaughtered its population and took the relics from the basilica of St. Sophia to Sveti Lovrec Pazenatički/ San Lorenzo del Pasenatico. In spite of that, Dvigrad did not become their possession. Systematically enlarging their dominion in Istria, the Venetians tried to bring under their influence all of the bigger and stronger Istrian towns, either by promises or by violence.


Dvigrad came under the rule of Venice in 1413. The Venetians nominated a nobleman chosen among the aristocracy of Koper, who reigned over the town. The town was obliged to pay him an annual tax of 390 liras. Dvigrad prospered during the first century under the Venetian rule. After that, this region was frequently afflicted by plague, and almost incessantly by malaria, which caused an increase in the mortality rate, and a considerable reduction of the population of Dvigrad.

After the Venetian-Austrian war in 1615, Dvigrad went through some very difficult times. It was besieged by the fierce Uskoks who, being unable to capture it, revenged themselves on neighboring villages burning, plundering and devastating them.

About the year 1630 the town was completely deserted. Only a few very poor families remained, awaiting their town's dissolution. In 1650 bishop Tommasini visited Dvigrad, finding only three families there. When the church of St. Sophia got abandoned in 1714, the town was left to its inexorable fate. The house walls crumpled, the town walls collapsed, the well was polluted. It has remained so until today.