Upgrading sustainable energy communities in mayor adapt initiative by planning climate change adaptation strategies
  • Urbino
  • Ancona
  • Jesi
  • Macerata
  • Rovinj

Istrian Development Agency

General Informations

  • Position and climate

LOCATION - The Istrian Region includes a large part of Istria - the largest Adriatic peninsula. The most extreme west point of the Republic of Croatia is in the Istrian Region (Bašanija, promontory Lako) at the 45° of the northern latitude. Situated in the north-west of the Adriatic Sea, Istria is surrounded by the sea from three sides, while the northern border towards the continent is made up by a line between the Miljski Bay (Muggia) in the direct vicinity of Trieste and the Preluk Bay, right next to Rijeka.

Such favourable geographic position, almost at the heart of Europe, half way between the Equator and the North Pole, Istria has always represented a bridge connecting the Middle European continental area with the Mediterranean.

CLIMATE - The basic characteristic of the climate of the Istrian peninsula is given by the Mediterranean climate. Along the coast, it gradually changes towards the continent and it passes into continental, due to cold air circulating from the mountains and due to the vicinity of the Alps.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS - The main characteristics of the Mediterranean climate are dry and warm summers, with the average number if approximately 2.400 sunny hours a year. Winters are mild and pleasant, while it snows very rarely. The annual average of air temperatures along the northern part of the coast is about 14°C, while it is 16°C in the southern area and the islands. January is the coldest month with the average temperature mainly of about 6°C, and July and August are the warmest, with the average temperature of about 24°C. The period when the daytime middle of the air temperature is higher than 10°C approximately lasts for 260 days a year, while hot weather, with a daily maximum above 30°C, lasts for maximally twenty days.

The quantity of rainfall increases from the west coast towards the interior. Characteristic winds are bura, jugo and maestral. Bura blows northwards-southwards and it brings dry and clear skies. The warm wind jugo brings rain, while the mild maestral blows in the summer, from the sea to the continent.

Sea temperature is the lowest in March when it ranges between 9 and 11 °C, while it is the highest in August with 24 °C.  Freezing of the coastal border in small and shallow bays is very rare.

  • History and culture

Situated in the direct proximity of the Western European civilization on one side and on the border of a different cultural milieu on the other, Istria has an enviable history, written at the crossroads of three large European cultures- Slavic, Roman, and German. Millennial political claims, incessant tensions, and the division of this small area among various states and political influences of dominant European powers decisively influenced the specificity of life and variety of cultural influences on the Istrian peninsula. Through the peninsula, since the ancient times, roads went from the Mediterranean to mid-Europe, or the area of Pannonia and the other way round. Through the tumultuous Istrian history, we mark frequent changes of rulers - from the Roman Empire and Byzantium, through the Frank State, the Aquileian Patriarchy, Venetian Republic, the Pazin County, Illyric Provinces, Austria, Italy, to Yugoslavia.  On this turbulent area, historic events were caused by frequent migrations and refugees, which also causes the changes of population, traditions, and cultures. Numerous nations left their traces in this area: the Liburni, the Histri (after whom the peninsula was named), the Greeks, the Celts, the Romans, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines, the Langobards, the Croats, the Franks, the Venetians, the Austrians, the Italians... 

Despite numerous historic difficulties, three nations survived until present times: the Croats, the Slovenes, and the Italians. Living in the area, together, and often against each other, their common destiny influenced the mutual tolerance, thus developing a harmonious co-existence.

Istria was able to successfully reconcile millennial confrontations of opposing cultural influences, thus confirming its own maturity, which is the best entrance ticket into the united Europe.

  • Economy

Istrian economy is very diverse. Istria is traditionally the most visited tourist region, so that it realized 27 % of all arrivals and 35 % of all nights in the Republic of Croatia in 2003. It has a well-developed processing industry, construction industry, trade, sea fishing and fish growing, agriculture, and transportation. According to the number of economic subjects and according to financial indicators, the leading activities are processing industry, tourism, and trade.

In the field of industry, the most developed branches are shipbuilding, production of construction material (lime, cement, brick, stone), tobacco products, furniture, electric machines and appliances, parts for the automobile industry, glass, processing metals, plastic, wood, textile, and the production of food.

Great attention has been given to the revitalisation of agriculture in the previous few years, which marked a big improvement in wine- and olive- growing, and in the system of ecologic food production.

In the last decade, unemployment rate in Istria has been moving between 10 and 14 %; while it amounted to about 8 % in 2003. In the merchandise exchange of the Istrian Region, processing industry has the largest share-almost 90 %; and half of it is made up by shipbuilding. A positive trend of the economy business of the Istrian County was also recorded according to the consolidated financial result for the period between 1999 and 2002, which shows a significantly faster growth of incomes in relation to expenses.

The Istrian Region is carrying out a systematic construction of entrepreneuring infrastructure through programmes of co-financing, motivational crediting, establishment of supportive institutions, construction and equipment of business zones, promotion and education. The Region is the winner of the acknowledgement of the Croatian Employers' Association for 2000 and 2002 for the largest contribution to the encouragement of the development of entrepreneurship.

Istria is a region moving upwards on the scale of development cycle. Strategic geographic position and good traffic connections between Europe and the Mediterranean, preservation of natural resources, stability of regional politics and the collaboration with numerous regions abroad make Istria an attractive destination for foreign investments.

  • Tourism

Arts and culture

All historic cores of Istrian towns in the interior show a distinct continuity of population since they developed on the sites of earlier prehistoric settlements, hill-forts. This is not surprising because sites that were more difficult to conquer on elevations were sought after as permanent settlements. More than four hundred traces of hill-forts on the Istrian Peninsula dating from the Bronze and Iron Age speak in favor of this fact. Urbanized landscape underwent changes under the Roman rule. Enjoying the fruits of peace (Pax Romana), the Latin and Romanized native Histrian population from the second half of the 1st c. BC started settling in the surroundings of hill-forts,

erecting residential-economic complexes on the fertile farming area. Such countryside villas were built along the entire coast, but only few of them were fortified in the insecure times of Late Antiquity, hoping to provide shelter to the inhabitants of the nearby villas and settlements. It is supposed that not even hill-forts were completely deserted in Antiquity: some served as control points of main maritime or land routes, while others survived as centers of autochthonous rural communities.There are only few planned ancient towns in Istria. With certainty this can only apply to Poreč, designed following the rules of Roman town planning, while other

towns maintained the prehistoric scheme, both in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Before the incursions of barbarians (Huns, Lombards, Slavs and Avars) in Late Antiquity, the one-time flourishing towns became shelters to refugees from the ager, and those from more distant continental areas as well. The Late Roman castrum

in the coastal area and refuges on the sites of the one-time hill-forts in the interior, developed into fortified towns in the Middle Ages. The configuration of the land was decisive again. Along with elevations, small peninsulas and isles close to the coast were particularly suitable defensive positions.

Coast and beaches

Whether you choose hidden coves with white pebbles, small or larger bays, or rocky sun drenched fragrant reefs, the pure and intact Istrian beaches are true wonders of nature. Though it has always been easier to capture them in paintings than describe them in words, you just have to think about them and the sight will emerge before your eyes.

While the sun is at its zenith, and the maestral wind (landward breeze) blows lightly over the pine-trees crowns whose branches yearn for the azure of the high seas, you can leisurely sprawl on a warm white rock in a hidden cove enjoying the sound of cicadas. Run your fingers through the pebbles sparkling under the crystalclear waters of the Adriatic, while your lungs fill with fragrances of the Mediterranean. Here, time is irrelevant. Enjoy the peacefulness of infinity that can only be interrupted by a sea gull or some small boat just spreadingits sails somewhere in the distance.

Surrounded by the fullness of scent, flavor and summer noises, you will jump from a rock deep into the blue sea and rise to the surface among the fireworks of the flaming red sunset... Sounds unreal? This is only the beginning…

Food and wine

Discover the enchantments of flavor and scent of this wonderful country in which, as Cassiodorus wrote in 537, “patricians lead the lives of Gods”. A table filled with seafood brought to the surface from the turquoise depths of Poseidon, here is as cultivated as the humble asparagus and legendary truffle, the underground treasure taken right from the plates of Hades. Crust of home-made bread is dipped into the golden liquid of the best olive oil in the world, while the palates are ennobled by the finest of wines.

As you string up delicious bites on the necklace of pleasure, you will be overwhelmed by the polyphony of flavour and scent. Food taken from the sea and soil simmer in the cauldron of happiness over the fire of passion made of olives and grapevine. Rosemary, laurel, basil and thyme that sprout up on the footpath, crown the bites that you bring to your mouth. Do not hesitate, if you pick a sprig, it will carry the memory of the warm Mediterranean scent for a long time to come.

Whether you chose delicacies of the sea or a delicious truffle, the golden drops of the autochthonous Malmsey, the fragrant Momjan Muscat or ruby-coloured Teran that Casanova used to refresh himself with, these superb pleasures will stay in your memory forever.

Activity in the project

To increase the climate resilience capacity of the involved municipalities, through the adhesion and active participation to mayor adapt initiative and the mainstreaming and integrating of EU climate objectives into local policies and plans. to adopt and upgrade the model of sec (sustainable energy communities) in supporting climate governance as best practice for the development of virtuous climate change adaption process in local authorities.

Upgrading, development and implementation of an innovative governance model involving and supporting municipalities of Istrian Region SEC (6). Support to the municipalities to take part in the THE NEW INTEGRATED COVENANT OF MAYORS FOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY initiative, also integrating existing local strategies (SEAPs) with concrete actions to tackle climate change impacts. IDA and Istrian Region responsible for SECs coordination.


Life Sec Adapt - With the contribution of the Life Programme of the European Union.
The document reflects only the author’s view and the Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains..
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