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Rakotule

History

Rakotule is the common name for a number of small villages and hamlets situated in the present-day north of the road which connects Karojba and Višnjan: Konobari, Kramari, Kuzmi, Martineli, Milići, Močitad, Nadalini, Pahovići, Pupičići, Radoslavi, Rapki and Špinovci. Špinovci is the only hamlet which does not belong to the Parish of St. Roch but to the Parish of St. Vitalis. The centre of Parish is the St. Vitalis` Church, whose harmonious stone tower can be seen from the road as soon as we turn on the road to Rakotule.

Rakotule is mentioned for the first time in the 13th century. The Italian name Racotole di Montona reveals the close relationship with the nearby Motovun, which can be seen from many points as though in the palm of your hand. The links goes far back into the past, when the aristocratic families of Motovun had their estates at Rakotule: Dolzan, Pramperga (or Pamperga), Polesini and Barbo. The Motovun Chapter also had their estates at Rakotule and the majority of the income was obtained from the woods on the slopes above the Krvar brook. Timber was transported on the Mirna River to the sea and from there to Venice where it was used to build ships of the mighty Venetian fleet which dominated the Adriatic Sea.

The Parish church of St. Roch

The Parish of Rakotule is mentioned for the first time in 1580 and the church was most probably built during that period. It was a period of frequent epidemics of plague and cholera in Istria and there is no wonder that the inhabitants of Rakotule chose St. Roch, invoked to protect from plague, as their patron saint. From that time the church was extended and annexed on a number of occasions and the new façade, built from stone from Močitad, was applied in 1934.

On the wall of the old Sacristy there is a niche decorated in relief and carrying the year 1560, which implies that the church is even older. Another confirmation of the old age is the still visible vault of the Romanesque apse. This original church was painted with frescoes, whose fragment was discovered during works in the church interior in 1958. It was detached together with a layer of plaster, transferred onto canvas and fixed. It is today kept in the Diocesan Museum in Poreč. Next to the church stands a 22-meter tall bell tower.

The Church of St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas` Church is situated in the local graveyard, about a kilometre away from the

Parish Church in the northwest direction. The location of this ancient church among cypresses and surrounded by a stone wall, with the view extending over the wide Mirna Valley, will surely stir your emotions. The church was built in the 14th century with its front side extended in the 15th century.  Both construction phases were marked by a coat of arms of the aristocratic Barbo family featuring a lion rampant and a bend. This widely branched aristocratic family had numerous estates in Istria and provided many church dignitaries, a captain and a Pope – Paul II (1446). It is no wonder that this small village could afford to hire excellent artists to paint the interior of the churches.

Based on the few preserved fragments, the experts have concluded that the authors were most probably two Italian painters influenced by Giotto. The preserved frescoes represent Maiestas domini (Lord-in-Majesty) and scenes from the legend about St. Nicolas: Saint`s Birth, St. Nicholas uproots Artemis` Tree and The Golden Legend. The latter describes the benefaction of the Saint who tossed a bag of gold through an open window into the house of an impoverished man to provide his daughters with a dowry. An unknown person inscribed over the painted plaster in glagolithic script the following text: Give me a few coins, Nick, for God`s sake! (Daj meni niki so (l) din, Miko, tako ti Boga!).

To visit the church, please refer to Mrs Olga Močibob in the village of Kramari, house no. 15 (tel. +385 (0) 52 683 153).

The church of St. Magdalene (St. Blaise)

The church can be found at Pahovići (Konobari). It was built in the 12th century and extended various times over the later centuries. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The rich estate owner Raguzzi from the neighbouring Vižinada (originating in Dubrovnik), who owned estates all around the church, had the church completely refurbished in 1770 and defined a new saint protector - Saint Blaise. With time, the celebration of the Saint grew into the most important annual festivity of Rakotule and is now celebrated in February, on the feast day of Blaise, when an exhibition of wine, honey and homemade bread is organised.

 

Don Luka Kirac

(Medulin, 1860 – Rakotule, 1931) Priest, amateur historian, relentless researcher of Istrian history and fighter for the rights of the small man, Don Luka Kirac, a thorn in the flesh of the Austrian and then Italian fascist authorities, was forced to abandon his native parish Medulin and after many years of exile was transferred (confined) to Rakotule where he spent the last years of his life as local parish priest.

Here he completed his work Sketches from Istrian History (1928) where he confronts the tendentious irredentist interpretation of the history of Istria which elides and ignores the facts which point to the deep rooted Slavicism of the region. Don Luka discovered mural paintings in the St. Nicholas` Church in 1925. Stories about his bond with the local people are still retold among the inhabitants. The best preserved is the episode which happened in 1921, when the inhabitants, called by the agreed sound of the bells of the St. Roch`s Church, opposed the attempt of the fascists to capture their parish priest and burn his books.

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