On top of the hill in the interior of Istria lies the largest town of its northwestern part. The architecture of the Buje hill-fort has not been preserved, but many fragments of vessels and utensils have been found.  Several residential-economic complexes were built around the hill-fort settlement in the Roman times, of which Sveti Elizej near Buje, is the largest.
The plateau of the hill-fort was again densely settled in Antiquity when it provided shelter for the local population. In the Middle Ages this refuge developed into a fortified settlement.

The settlement was first mentioned in written documents in 981 as Castrum Bugle. There is no material evidence to prove the appearance of the medieval town, but the central church must have been beneath today’s Parish Church of St. Servul in the main historic square.

Venice conquered the town in 1412. The beginning of its administration was marked by pulling down the walls and the old belfry. However, the walls were soon reconstructed; a loggia and a new belfry were built in front of the town. Palaces were built on the square of which the one with a painted facade from 1485 was preserved. Another church that was built was the Church of St. Mary of Mercy near the town loggia. The northern wall of this church still has the original, Renaissance main portal from 1497 with an inscription mentioning donor Pavle Račica. It is attributed to mason Matej from Pula. Along with these prominent examples of the construction boom in the 15th c., worth mentioning is the tower of St. Martin in the western part of the historic core, a rare preserved part of the Venetian walls.

Within them are preserved rows of Renaissance and Baroque houses. The Church of St. Mary of Mercy was restored, and a belfry was built next to it. The environment is arranged, the medieval Church of St. John the Evangelist assumed Baroque traits. The greatest intervention was the construction of the new parish church.
After the earlier, regularly oriented three-aisled church was pulled down, the construction of the new one began in 1754. The change of orientation imposed greater demolishment of public buildings on the square. The detached belfry begun in the Late Gothic and completed in the Baroque period, has survived. The stone pedestal for flags from the 17th c. and the noblemen’s house on the western side of the square were preserved. The entire project was however worth the effort and the Parish Church of St. Servul, by its grandeur, ground plan disposition and inventory, became one of the most significant monuments of the Late Baroque period in Istria.

Defense became an issue again in the New Era. The southern part of lower town with the Church of St. Mary of Mercy is fortified by a new defensive ring, while the entrance to the outer wall has been preserved beneath the building that houses the ethnographic collection. Rows of houses in the lower town developed in the 19th and beginning of the 20th cc. with a few earlier Classicist palaces among them.

Buje maintained the image of a fortified town on a hilltop with the features of a medieval defensive ring, walls and towers, still visible in the old part. Unfortunately, the town palaces of the wealthy, the pride of old Buje, are mostly ruins today.


The villages and small towns of the Buje area; at least Momjan if you do not have enough time.

Interesting facts:

After visiting the tower of St. Martin, the remains of the Venetian fortification system in the western part of town, you do not have to turn back to the center immediately. If you take a walk among the block of houses behind it, not only will you enjoy the ambiance, but very easily find remains of the old cemetery with St. Martin’s Church.

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