Bičići – Barban – Prodol


St. Anthony

Barban is a town in South Istria, on the eastern border of the one-time ager of the Roman colony Pula.  Its location on a plateau overlooking the valley of the Raša River increased its strategic importance over the centuries. Driving along the road Labin – Pula we can hardly imagine all the attractions this town by the road has to offer. Unfortunately, many people never stop to discover and admire its beauties.

The town is renowned for its chivalrous game - tilting at the ring, but also as the center of the earliest Slav colonization in this part of Istria. It is also important for its social system and the role of the district-prefect, which has survived in these parts. In terms of town-planning Barban is a settlement of dependent farmers that developed around the castle, just like Boljun or Svetvinčenat. The preserved heritage monuments include the Church of St. Nicholas, Municipal Loggia, and Loredan Palace. They all stand at the site of an older castle of which only the semi-circular tower is visible and incorporated into the church. South-west of the parish church is the defensive tower connected with a wall to the town gate. In addition to the mentioned attractions, the most valuable sights are the two churches in Barban decorated with frescoes: St. Anthony and St. James.

St. Anthony's Church is situated in front of the main town gate. The preserved medieval mural paintings, dating from the beginning of the 15th c., are covered with Glagolitic graffiti. In art-historical terms the interpretation of these mural paintings was given by Branko Fučić claiming that the style suggests painting of the early Quattrocento still under the Trecento influence of North-Italian painting. The southern and northern walls depict scenes from the life of St. Anthony, while on the eastern wall is the Virgin Enthroned and in the lower part a row of saints: St. Ursula, St. Blaise, St. Dionysius... The characteristic system of bordures and ornamental repertoire link this cycle to the one in St. Catherine's Church in Svetvinčenat. It is the work of a workshop under the strong influence of South Tyrolean mural painting of that time.

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