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Dvigrad and Kanfanar, Istria

Dvigrad, the ruins of a medieval town in the valley of the Draga, 3 km by road from Kanfanar. Dvigrad (Dvagrada, two towns or Duecastelli) as its name suggests consists of two fortresses, or two settlements. Both places, which are in a strategically good location overlooking a stream flowing from Beram to the Lim fjord, date from pre-historic times and were important in the Roman era. In the early Middle Ages the northwestern fortress was known as Castel Parentin, and the one on the southwest as Moncastello.

Castel Parentin became deserted early on, but Moncastello, with its new name Duecastelli, or Dvigrad, Dvagrada as it is called in the Istarski razvod (the Istrian law book) continued to flourish (right up until 1631), despite being emptied and destroyed several times, by plague, epidemics and an unhealthy climate, as an Important strategic point in Venetian Istria. In that year Dvigrad was finally deserted because of its unhealthy climate and the plague which was sweeping across Istria, and the inhabitants moved to local villages and especially to Kanfanar. What are now ruins formed the defensive walls and towers and within the town there are many medieval architectural remains. The oldest is the early medieval Basilica of St. Sophia (Sveta Sofija) whose walls contain fragments of carved braiding from an early Gothic church.

Not far from Dvigrad, by the Kanfanar - Margani road, there is a cemetery with a single-naved Romanesque church, St. Mary of Lakuc (Sveta Marija od Lakuca), which has an enclosed apse. Inside the church are frescoes by a late-Gothic Istrian master (end of the 15th century). The same artist also painted a Madonna on the facade of the church, below the semi-circular canopy, as protector of the people, but this picture has been washed away 'by rain. He also painted pictures in the Church of St. Anthony on a hill opposite Dvigrad. He is known in literature as the "colourful master".

Kanfanar, a settlement at the crossroads of the routes for Pula and Rovinj, Trieste and Pazin, and the railway station for Rovinj. This settlement originates from the time when people moved here from Dvigrad, especially after the plague which swept across Istria in 1630. A pulpit from Dvigrad with a painting of St. Sophia (Sveta Sofija) holding a town in each hand was moved into the new church, St. Silvester's in 1696, along with painted doors from the 16th century, two wooden statues and an illuminated 15th century Year Book (Liber Anniversariorum). The Church of St. Agatha is two kilometres from Kanfanar towards Barat. It is a pre-Romanesque single-naved church with a semi-circular apse, which is three-sided from the outside. The church contains early 11th and 12th century Romanesque frescoes, which show Byzantine influence.
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