Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A Dousing in Porec Pixie Dust

The town of Porec (pronounced 'Por-etch') cloaks centuries of human drama in a pleasant Mediterranean robe.  A settlement that became a Roman colony in the first century AD, there are a variety of sights and experiences to be had here.  Hugging the Adriatic, it is an interesting blend of post-Communism contemporary and pre-Roman romantic, with a smattering of almost everything in between!

Architectural pieces of note range from the Basilica dating to the 6th century, to Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, Renaissance, and Roman.  A stroll through the old town is fascinating for its dizzying array of architectural styles and origins.

The Euphrasian Basilica was built over an even older church on its present site in 586 AD.  The Basilica complex has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site, and deserves to stand alone (I will dig deeper into its details in an up-coming post).  It is a sobering walk indeed through those cobbled halls with the echoes of the ages dogging your footsteps. I loved its solitude, its venerable air, its contemplative mood.

This tower dates from 1475 and now contains a cafe bar.  It sits not far off the marina, and commands a view of the sparkling blue Adriatic.

'Our Lady of the Angel' church strikes a militant pose majestically on one side of the main square.  Built in 1770 over a much older Romanesque church, it contains several artifacts of significance.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to gain entrance.

Romanesque house
My magical Library
A Romanesque house from the mid 13th century stands casually across from the ancient remains of a temple ruin likely dedicated to the god Neptune, dating from the 1st century.  This was my favourite street.  Flanked by Venetian palaces and quaint shops hugging the lower floors of Gothic and Baroque structures, it was like a magical fairyland walk to get to the Library!  The square that the Library is built over holds many archeological secrets.  Buried beneath the street is an ancient monastery, and part of a mosaic floor is enclosed in one teasing pane of glass in the library floor itself.  By the time I arrived at the library to do my e-mailing and home-connecting, I was usually in a time-warp from ingesting the fairy dust and couldn't type straight.  (The wacky Croatian keyboards didn't help that much, either!)

Beyond the library, with a tantalising view of the sea, is a gorgeous modern villa flanked by immaculate grounds, manicured carpets of grass, and an old stone wall.  Within the wall are the 1st century remains of a Roman temple.  It struck me as the most ironic pairing of cross-wired building-codes ever.  It gave some credence to the phrase 'Something old, something new."

I loved to visit Porec.  I loved to amble its old town streets.  I loved to gawk over the plaques marking the centuries of civilisation affixed to prominent buildings.  I loved the pixie dust of the past sprinkled liberally over my senses.  I loved becoming familiar with its layout, its sounds, its heart.

That's what travel does.  It intoxicates.  It weaves spells.  It dares to dream.  It pulls things out of your soul you never knew existed.  It eats you alive and spits you out different, more flavourful, more colourful.

I can't wait to go back.

1 comment:

  1. Porec a beautiful place to explore, we had a lot of fun during my trip.