Dvigrad, which name can also be spelled as Dvograd or Dvagrad is a unique archaeological site in the region of Istria, but also in the whole country. Locals call it a “Croatian Pompeii.” And certainly, there are very rare ruins of the hill town, surrounded by ramparts, dating back to the early Middle Ages. It must be mentioned that the first settlement in these areas has been established already in the ancient times, but only in Roman times, the settlement gained in importance. Dvigrad is located in the western part of the Istrian inland, in the county called Limska draga, about 3 km west of Kanfanar and 18 km west of Rovinj. The roads are leading here from Rovinj and Porec.
Photo by Rolf F. published with his kind permission.
According to archaeological excavations the town consisted of two forts, called Parentino and Moncastello. In Parentino, which ruins can still be seen, life ended in the early Middle Ages, but neighboring Moncastello called Duecastelli (Dvigrad) was further developing as a strategic place of Venetian Istria and was inhabited until 1631, when it was abandoned due to plague.
Dvigrad is unique also due to the fact that it is a location ‘in situ’, which means that you can see here how people lived in this city up to the time when it was suddenly abandoned. Based on the historical remains of buildings and objects it is possible to reconstruct everything down to the smallest detail. This makes Dvigrad a Croatian location without competitors.
Closest location that has similar features are ancient Pompeii at Napoli. Remains of Dvigrad clearly show what was the typical appearance of a medieval town: it was surrounded by walls and towers that stood right at the entrance gates. You can find here well preserved perimetral walls of 220 buildings, so you can see the line of streets and passages between the houses. At the central square are the ruins of the Church of St. Sofia from the 11th century. In the vicinity of the church are several religious sites. In the church at the cemetery you will find many frescoes from the 15th century made by the local painter.