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Buje


Buje (Italian: Buie) is a town situated in Istria, Croatia's westernmost peninsula, population 2,979 (2001).
Buje is a town only 13 kilometers from Umag that lies on the hilltop, which was settled as early as the Roman times. Owing to its impor¬tant strategic position during the past centuries the town was known as the "Watchman of Istria". The main town square is completely surrounded by Venetian palaces.
Aside from the Baroque Parish Church of St. Servulus dating from the 16th century there is the interesting St. Mary's Church from the 15th century situated outside the town walls. Legend has it that the church was built on such an unusual place because the Gothic statue of the Holy Virgin, which the locals had acquired for the new church, disappeared overnight from the original site chosen for the church and appeared at the present location.
The Town Museum houses a rich ethnographic collection and exhibition of traditional crafts. Today the town of Buje is an interesting tourist destination espe¬cially because it lies 222 meters above sea level, so the hilltop offers a magnificent view of the sur rounding terraced fields and arable land, vineyards and olive groves.
This entire region is the most famous wine-growing part of Istria with
numerous wine cellars (24 wine trails) and farmhouses. A special offer are gastronomic excursions to catering facilities where "at the same table" one finds both highly-prized truffles, game, top-quality Istrian prosciutto, cheese, and seafood specialties. An interesting event held in Buje since the beginning of the 20th century is the traditional "Grapes Days". Local agencies organize visits to Leopoldina, the most famous cave of Gornja Bujstina, guided horseback rides on scenic trails, mountain biking and hiking tours. Buje was known as the "sentinel of Istria" for its hilltop site located 10 km inland from the Adriatic sea. It still commands an excellent panorama. Buje has a rich history; traces of life in the region date back to prehistoric times.
The town developed from a Roman and Venetian settlement into a medieval town.
Buje has been part of the Venetian republic from 1358 untill 1797 and has been an italian city from 1918 to 1945. Today it is a modern regional center.
Despite its development Buje has retained many features typical of various historical periods. With its narrow streets and a central square, the old town is a fine example of medieval architecture with strong Venetian influences as the rest of the region.
A baroque church from the 16th century, built on the foundations of a Roman temple dominates the square.
The old city was protected with stone fortifications, part of which have been preserved to modern times.
Being situated on a hill, the old town offers exquisite views on the surrounding scenery, dominated by Mediterranean vegetation, vineyards and olive groves. Outside of the old town a modern city has sprung.
After World War II Buje developed into an industrial, cultural and economic center of the region. To its visitors today Buje offers a blend of gentle Mediterranean climate, good food and a quiet setting, away from the hustle and bustle of the more touristic Istrian coastal resorts. It still has a high number of Italians, 39,66% of the population, making it the Croatian town with the highest percentage of Italian speakers although some Istrian villages have even higher percentages. There is an Italian school, the "Leonardo da Vinci".

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