Today, the medieval city of Labin, whose former name Albona was first mentioned in 285 AD, is the cultural and administrative centre of the Istrian peninsula Labinština. The old town of this picturesque little city is situated on a 300 m high hill, under which sits the other part of the town Podlabin that was built as a mining community in the 1930s. The old town is rich with cultural heritage buildings, with numerous Renaissance and baroque noble palaces standing out in particular. The most noted of those is the palace Battiala-Lazzarini from the 18th century, which is one of the most preserved and the most representative baroque palaces in Istria, which was transformed into the National Museum. The Museum also houses a replica of Labin mines, which is unique in Croatia. The old town also boasts a few churches and chapels, whereby the little chapel from the 18th century, dedicated to St. Stephen, holds one of the most beautiful and the most luxurious baroque church façades in Istria. Mining holds a special position in the history of Labin, as evidenced by numerous industrial heritage monuments, making now Labin the most important destination of its kind in Croatia.


Today, Rabac is a well-known tourist resort. By the middle of the 19th century, it was a small fishermen village with hardly ten houses. Due to the beautiful bay and splendid, tame surroundings, it soon attracted first visitors. ‘Quarnaro’, the first hotel in Rabac, was opened on 11th June, 1889 in the house of the Viskovic family situated close to the present ‘Orlando’ atelier. The hotel had only a few rooms and a pub on the ground floor. Kaiser, the Austrian officer, who was a regular client of that first hotel, later bought Dubrova, an estate close to Labin. Today, Dubrova is hosting the Mediterranean Sculptors Symposium and is becoming ever more famous for its magnificent park of sculptures. The chronicle writers would point out yet another curiosity – at the beginning of this century in 1907, Prince Ferdinand, the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne, visited Rabac and was saluted by people who had gathered in the harbor. The inhabitants of Rabac were skilled fishermen, seamen and owners of some ten sailboats which were either destroyed in the maelstrom of the Second World War or pushed back by modern ships. The first larger hotel was built in the period of the Italian government in 1925 in the very center of Rabac and was called ‘Trieste’ -its name today is ‘Primorje’. The capacity of the hotel could not meet the ever growing demand of tourists, mainly from the northern parts of Italy. Hence the more intensive development of private accommodation took place. Ten years after ‘Trieste’, the ‘Dopolavoro’ hotel was built – presently the ‘Jadran’ restaurant. Tourism in Istria, as well as in Rabac, began to develop during the sixties, when this small resort, due to its natural beauty , got the flattering name of ‘The Pearl of the Kvarner Bay’. Since then, all existing hotels, apartments, camping sites and the majority of the private houses have been built. Among the visitors, for years now, the most numerous have been Germans and Austrians followed by English and Italians. Rabac can accommodate in one day even 11.000 visitors, mainly foreign, and several thousand bathers from Labin and its surroundings.

Town loggia

Labin gradska loža

The town loggia was built in the mid-16th century, around the year 1550, and paved in 1662. Even though there have been claims that it was built by several families solely for their purposes, it was actually built with contributions of the entire community. The loggia has always been a public facility with multiple purposes and a place of many events. A fresco of a Venetian lion was once painted on the wall of the loggia, but it deteriorated in time. In 1932, the loggia was restored, gaining a new roof, and a lapidarium. The lapidarium was put up under the loggia, exhibiting Roman and Medieval inscriptions and crests of renowned Labin families. Upon the subsequent restoration of the loggia in the 1960s, due to rock bursts, the Roman inscriptions were transferred to the National Museum, and the Medieval ones were moved to the atrium of the Franković palace. Portion of the stone reliefs (crests) was subsequently returned to the old town.

Battiala-Lazzarini palace - national museum

One of the most beautiful buildings in the Medieval core is most certainly the Baroque palace Battiala Lazzarini, located alongside the parish Church of Blessed Virgin Mary’s Birth. The building immediately attracts attention with its grandeur and lavishly decorated red façade with blue windows. The palace was built by the family Battiala, partly in the 17th century, and partly in the 18th century, actually, the old part was built around 1630, and the façade was made in 1727. The building underwent a thorough renovation and reconstruction in the period between 1982 to 1994. The palace covers an area of nearly 1000 square meters, the elongated rectangular wing which extends in the east-west direction, with the central body in the north-south direction. The palace was nationalised after World War II. At first, it was a boarding school, later it was turned into apartments, and from 1960 it has been the site of the Labin National Museum. The family crest that can still be seen inside the palace contained symbols of immortality, phoenix and the password “Moriendo renascitur” (With death one is reborn).

Memorial setting of Matthias Flacius Illyricus

The memorial setting of the reformer Matthias Flacius Illyricus was opened on 22 December 1975 in the old town core of Labin, in the Francovich palace, in the organisation of the Labin National Museum and the council of the Labin municipality. The museum setting includes photos and texts that serve as a timeline of the life of Matthias Flacius Illyricus and his theological, scientific and many other activities. There are also copies of his most important works, such as Clavis scripturae sacrae, Centuriae Magdeburgenses, Catalogus testium veritatis, Catalogue of the Witnesses of the Truth and Gloss. Further valuable items are a copy of the Vlačić’s portrait, created on the basis of the original in Jena by the Labin painter Eugen Kokot, his wall painting – geographical map of Istria from around 1525 based on the template by the cartographer Pietro Coppo, plaster bust of Vlačić, which is work by the academic sculptor Mate Čvrljek, and Flacius’s relief portrait in bronze, work of the medalmaker Želimir Janeš.

Headgear (Šoht)


Not far from the compressors, across the winding engine building, there is the headgear, a tall steel tower. It started to operate in 1940, when the production in Labin’s shaft commenced. At its top it has two very large wheels, the movements of which were synchronised, one would move forward, the other one backwards, thus lifting and lowering the lift cages. The latter, each having three levels, transported miners (16 in each cage at each level), full or empty coal wagons and many other materials. Vertical shaft guide rails were made of a special type of wood, that is of larch, which proved to be the safest in the event of stopping the lift. The lift rope, made of interwoven steel threads, was inspected and lubricated on a daily basis. The headgear height is 32.50 metres and the depth of the vertical shaft is 570 metres.

The Park of sculptures Dubrova

Park Dubrova

The Park of sculptures Dubrova is the favourite place for the citizens and visitors of Labin to take a walk, hang out with friends, for children to play, or to have an outdoor picnic. The park is located near Stancija Dubrova, next to the main road Pula – Rijeka inside where also is located the Franković-Lazzarini baroque palace. As one of the most beautiful Croatian sculpture parks, it offers unique moments of art and nature in an open-air gallery, extending over more than 33 hectares of land, partly surrounded by drywall, with natural valleys and highlands, and a rich and varied Mediterranean flora. The park is well-known for the International Sculpture Symposium, an event that since 1970, year after year, enriches the impressive collection of sculptures made in Istrian stone. The stone, as one of the most durable materials and the omnipresent element of the Mediterranean Sculpture Symposium, has become one of the symbols of Labin and the surrounding municipalities. Inside the park, you can take a walk along the Bijela cesta (White Road), a trail that consists of 16 sections (each is 25 meters long), which were designed by renowned Croatian artists, such as Edo Murtić, Julije Knifer and Dušan Džamonja. The Park is also home to the Amfiteatar “Dolac” (“Dolac” Amphitheatre), designed by sculptor Josip Diminić, who alongside Quintin Bassani, is one of the founders of The Mediterranean Sculpture Symposium. The Amphitheater represents a venue for art performances, concerts, theatre, and various events for visitors. The Park of sculptures Dubrova is open to visitors all year round. The entrance is free and there are organized guided tours for groups with prior appointment.

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