Poreč/Parenzo (Latin: Parens or Parentium; Italian: Parenzo; Ancient Greek: Πάρενθος Pàrenthos) is a town and municipality on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula, in Istria County, Croatia. Its major landmark is the 6th century Euphrasian Basilica, which in 1997 was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The town of Poreč/Parenzo is almost 2,000 years old, and is set around a harbor protected from the sea by the small island of Sveti Nikola/San Nicola (Saint Nicholas). The town's population of approximately 12,000 resides mostly on the outskirts, while the wider Poreč/Parenzo area has a population of approximately 17,000 inhabitants. The municipal area covers 142 square kilometres (55 sq mi), with the 37 kilometres (23 miles) long shoreline stretching from the Mirna River near Novigrad/Cittanova to Funtana and Vrsar/Orsera in the south. Ever since the 1970s, the coast of Poreč/Parenzo and neighboring Rovinj has been the most visited tourist destination in Croatia.
In 1844, the Austrian Lloyd steamship company opened a tourist line which called at Parenzo. The first tourist guide describing and depicting the town was printed as early as 1845. The oldest hotel is the Riviera, constructed in 1910. Later came the Parentino and others.
Today, tourist infrastructure is intentionally dispersed along the 37 km (23 mi) long coastline, between the Mirna River and the deep Lim valley. The south hosts self-contained centres like Plava Laguna (Blue Lagoon), Zelena Laguna (Green Lagoon), Bijela Uvala (White Cove) and Brulo. To the north, mirroring centres are Materada, Červar Porat, Ulika and Lanterna. In the high season, the area's temporary population can exceed 120,000.
Poreč/Parenzo's heritage can be seen in the historic town centre, in museums and galleries hosted in houses and palaces, many of them still private homes as they have been for centuries. In the off season, weekend visitors from Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Italy visit the area. Sports complexes are developed and used year-round.
This area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. During the 2nd century BC, Roman Castrum was built on a tiny peninsula with approximate dimensions of 400 m × 200 m (1,312.34 ft × 656.17 ft) where the town centre is now. During the reign of Emperor Augustus in the 1st century, it officially became a city and was part of the Roman colony of Colonia Iulia Parentium. In the 3rd century the settlement had an organized Christian community with an early-Christian complex of sacral buildings. The earliest basilica contained the remains of and was dedicated to Saint Maurus of Parentium and dates back to the second half of the 4th century. The floor mosaic from its oratory, originally part of a large Roman house, is still preserved in the garden of the Euphrasian Basilica.
With the fall of the Roman empire in 476, different rulers and powers governed. First, it was held by the Ostrogoths and after 539 was part of the Byzantine Empire. From 788 it was ruled by the Franks. A short independence period followed in the 12th century and later it was ruled by the Patriarchate of Aquileia. In 1267 Parenzo became the first Istrian city that chose to become part of the Republic of Venice, whose rule lasted for more than five centuries. During this period several palaces, squares and religious buildings in Venetian style were built. In 1354 the city was destroyed by the Genoese. In 1363 the town was given the City Statute. The population was decimated by plague at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century. After the fall of the Venetian Republic, Parenzo came under the sovereignty of the Habsburg Monarchy.
Between 1805 and 1814, Parenzo was part of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy and then of the Illyrian Provinces, nominally part of the First French Empire. After this period it was again annexed by the Habsburgs, with the Monarchy reorganized into the Austrian Empire. In 1844 a steamship connection was established between Parenzo and Trieste.
In 1861, Parenzo became the capital of Istria under its original Italian name Parenzo, the seat of the regional Parliament, with schools, administrative and judiciary offices, and other services. During this time, it slowly became a shipbuilding center. It also became a popular tourist resort for the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy. Between 1902 and 1935 the Parenzana (from the name 'Parenzaner Bahn'), a narrow-gauge railway line connected the town to Trieste.
After 1918, it returned to the Kingdom of Italy. After WW II, in 1947, it was occupied by Jugoslavia and the city name was changed into Poreč. The Italian population left the city and was replaced by Slavic people from different regions of Yugoslavia. In 1944, the city was bombed by the Allies 34 times, damaging 75% of the city.
From 1945 to 1991, Poreč/Parenzo was a city of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, then part of SR Croatia. In 1991 Croatia became an independent state. Today, the city's Italian name ("Parenzo") is also used in an official capacity.
Situated on the western coast of Istria and cooled by sea breezes, the local climate is relatively mild and free of oppressive summer heat. The month of July is the hottest, with a maximum air temperature of 30°C in conditions of low humidity, while January is the coldest with an average of 6 °C (43 °F). There are more than 2,400 hours of sun a year, an average of more than 10 hours of sunshine during the summer days. Sea temperatures can reach 28 °C (82 °F), higher than one might expect compared to the coast of southern Croatia where the air temperatures are higher. The average annual rainfall of 920 mm (36.2 in) is more or less equally distributed throughout the year, although July and August are very dry. Winds here are Bora, bringing the cold, clear weather from the north in the winter, and the Sirocco warm Mediterranean wind from the south bringing rain. The summer breeze that blows from the sea to the land is called the Maestral.
Traditionally, economic activities have always been connected with the land and sea. The only significant industry in the area is food processing, but Croatia's ongoing integration into the broader European economy has led to Poreč/Parenzo seeing growth in its trade, finance and communication sectors. However, the primary source of income is tourism.
Real estate prices are very high due to the city's prime location.
Transportation - Get In
- Venezia Lines sail from Venice to Poreč during the summer months (April–October).
Timetable : All departures from Venice are at 5:00pm - Arrival at Porec 7h30pm Return from Porec to Venice at 8h00 a.m. and Arrival in Venice 10h30 a.m.
Transportation - Get Around
Poreč is very small, and it's almost impossible to get lost in the town. There is a bus station, and taxi rank nearby if you are staying at one of the many hotel/apartment complexes out of town. If you enter into the old town, which is to the right from the bus station, you will see a tourist office (logo has blue i). The tourist office will give you a map of the area.