Roč, Istria: A Serene Village Steeped in Croatian History and Culture

Like with the Buje and Hum I already wrote about, I visited Roč during my visit to Istria in 2016. It was on my list then, and since I liked it – I had to put it again this time. Since I came early, the place was empty, but I liked that because I had the entire town for myself.

Roč, a charming village in northern Istria, Croatia, is located at an elevation of 348 meters above sea level, where the limestone of the Ćićarija and Učka mountains converges with the clay of the valleys and ridges below.

Dating back to at least 1064, Roč is rich in history. The village is home to the local church of St. Anthony, which houses the ‘Glagolitic Alphabet’ from the 1200s. Remarkably, Roč played a role in the preparation for printing of the first Croatian printed book, ‘Misal po zakonu rimskog dvora’, in 1483 by Juri Žakan.

Throughout its history, Roč has experienced various phases of rule, from the Venetian era to being part of the Illyrian Provinces, then Austria, and even the impacts of fascism in the early 20th century. After Italy’s capitulation in 1943, it became part of Yugoslavia, and since 1991, Roč has been a part of Croatia.

Beyond its historical significance, Roč is a cultural epicenter. It hosts the ‘Z armoniku v Roč’ festival, a celebration of music, particularly the harmonica, and is the seat of the Čakavian Parliament. The Cultural Artistic Society ‘Istarski željezničar’ is also based here. The village is adorned with unique sculptures of violins, accordions, and cellos, adding to its artistic charm.

A standout feature of Roč is the ‘Alley of Glagolitics’, a path that extends all the way to Hum, lined with monuments dedicated to the Glagolitic script and its historical figures. As of the 2011 census, Roč had a small population of just 153 residents, offering a serene and tranquil environment. This picturesque village, steeped in history and culture, and surrounded by natural beauty, is a unique and peaceful destination in Croatia.

Check the Showcase page of Roč by clicking HERE.

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