Oprtalj – Čirkoti – Rakotule


SS. Primus and Felician

Čirkoti is a village north of Završje, in the municipality of Grožnjan. We recommend you come to Završje from the Mirna River valley by unpaved road and from there after passing the transformer station, by the narrow paved road toward Čirkoti. The Church of SS. Primus and Felician at the cemetery is close to the village. The road that descends toward the cemetery offers a nice view of Kostanjevica and the Mirna Valley towards Antenal.

The church architecture is modest, single-naved with an inscribed apse and a bell gable on the facade. Ancient spolia can be seen in the walls of the church, while the plaster of the southern wall, to the right of the window, bears a Gothic script graffito inscribed in fresh plaster, a unique example in Istria. The church has two layers of recently discovered frescoes. The younger one from the end of the 14th c., preserved in the apse, was painted by the aforesaid workshop of St. Helen’s in Oprtalj. They depict Christ Enthroned in the mandorla surrounded by symbols of evangelists, while the lower zone bears the representations of a row of Apostles under arches. The older frescoes, on the northern wall, were painted at least one century earlier and depict the Kiss of Judas, Prayer on the Mount of Olives and Christ before Pontius Pilate. The painter’s palette is restricted: the dominating color is black used for the drawing, as well as red and rosy ochres. Beneath this layer of frescoes is another layer of plaster bearing remains of paint which testifies to yet another, even older layer of frescoes transferring the dating of the church to at least the beginning of the 13th c.

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