Labin, a picturesque town situated on a 320 meters high hill and only three kilometers from the seaside, was inhabited already two thousand years B.G. The remnants of Kunci, one of the settlements called the ‘castellums’, dating from the Bronze Age, can be found in the vicinity of Labin. Its old Illyrian-Celtic name is Albona or Alvona and it was probably founded by Celts in the 4th century B.C. on the ruins of the ancient city. Some historians say it was fortified by the Illyrians in the 11th century B.C. They also say that Albona in the Celtic language means ‘a town on the hill’ or ‘an elevated settlement’.
Titus Livius said that Labin inhabitants were pirates. After the conflicts between the local inhabitants and Romans, which had started in the 3rd century B.C., Istra came under the Romans in 177 B.C. The borderline was the river Rasa. Labin and its surroundings thus became an integral part of Illyrian, the Roman province with a high degree of independence and authority over the nearby settlements. The oldest written document about Labin is a relief from the 3rd century with the insertion ‘RES PUBLICA ALBONESSIUM’.Villas in Labin - Rabac
– Porta Sanfior – main town doors of St. Flor dating from 1589 with Labin coat of arms and the Serenissima lion above. Canon dating from Austrian times was put up for the second time on the bastion (torjon) in 1995.
– Baroque palace of Battiala-Lazzarini family is now a town museum. Counts Lazzarini, who had several properties in the Labin area, left after World War Two
– Three-nave church of Blessed Virgin Mary’s Birth built in 1336 on the foundations of the small church from the 11th century. It was reconstructed several times. The last reconstruction was in 1993. A Venetian lion with a sphere in his mouth – a symbol of Labin recognizing the Venetian government – was put on the front facade in 1604. By the end of that century, in 1688, a baroque statue of senator Antonio Bollani, a combatant against Turks, was put on the same facade. The bust is one of the most beautiful examples of the secular sculptural art of Istria in the 17th century. On the right from the church, there is a palace which belonged to the Schampicchio family.
– Church of the B. V.Mary’s Birth decorated with six marble altars. One of them has St.Justin’s relics brought here from Rome in 1664. Main altar and altarpiece with six figures of B.V.M., St.Pauline and Saints : Justin, Sergio, Julian, Tom and Jacob. The author is Natale Schiacione from Dalmatia, the much more valuable altarpiece by the altar of the Madonna of Carmel from the l7th century is believed to be done by the famous painter Jacopo Negriti, better known as Palma the Younger. Valentin Lukas, a young Labin painter from the 19th century; is the author of the painting featuring the Stages of the Cross.
– Rabac – St. Andrea’s Church, from 15th century, is the oldest building heritage in the resort.
– Pican – Town doors are today the best preserved part of the medieval walls.
– Krsan – Bastion and walls of the medieval castle.Town loggia – center of life in the past where news and court verdicts were read out. Peasants danced there every Sunday and on fair days. Built in 1550, it later got a collection of stone monuments. Pillar of shame in front of the loggia.
The Istrian peninsula ‘terra magica’ lies on the Adriatic sea which is the closest warm sea to the heart of Europe. Rabac, ‘The Pearl of the Kvarner Bay’, is situated on the eastern part of the peninsula where the green of the pines and the Mediterranean vegetation flow into the whiteness’ of the sea. Rabac is one of the most frequented summer resorts of Istra and Croatia.
Just above Rabac, nestling on the top of the hill, there is old town of Labin – a stage to thousand years long history. The area of Labin, including Rabac is 128,6 km2 and has about 13.000 inhabitants.
The medieval town of Labin is situated on the hill above Rabac. Its old name of Albona was first mentioned in 285 AD. The birthplace of Matthias Flacius Illyricus, the reformer and collaborator of Martin Luther, it is a cultural and administrative center today. The rich cultural and architectural heritage of Labin is enlivened by number of art ateliers and by the bustling youth gathering in the coffee bars scattered around the old town.
The Sculpture Park in nearby Dubrova features over 70 forma viva stone sculptures. After a walk through the narrow streets of the Old Town, pay a visit to the Town Museum with its archaeological and unique in this part of Europe, a miniature coal mine.
Have a loot at the Memorial collection of Matthias Flacius Illyricus, peek into the art ateliers, enjoy the view of Rabac and Cres island from the Fortica or pop into the small, elegant shops and take refreshments on one of the terraces of the local coffee bars. Whether to do business or just to have a chat, these are the places where everyone meets