Few people live in old Gračišće. Most young people here prefer to build their own houses and don’t see much value in the old stone houses which make up the village. Many newer houses have cropped up in ‘New Gračišće’, on the other side of the main road. There are also many smaller villages and hamlets scattered around the countryside which make up the larger municipality of Gračišće.
(Left: the main entrance gate to Gračišće. Below: the last remaining tower.)
Above: The spectacular view from behind the main church.
Gračišće has been going through a slow transformation over the past 20 years. Like many other towns and villages across Istria, Gračišće’s population dwindled after most of its inhabitants started leaving after the Second World War and throughout the 50s and 60s, many migrating to other European countries like Italy and Germany or much further afield, to South America, North America and Australia. Many of the village’s dwellings stood abandoned and derelict, and many still are. But slowly its houses have been reclaimed, sold and bought, and renovated. Some have been converted into tourist accommodation. Gradually the village has been given a makeover and thanks to its cultural heritage status, the character of its houses and buildings cannot be altered and must be preserved (though there are a few aberrations here and there). Then more recently, the fine gravel which covered the squares, roads and lanes has been replaced with paving stones, giving the village an elegant finishing touch. As for the population, this seems to continue to decline as its residents get older and few young people want to invest in the renovation of an old house in an old village. Some of those who do, decide to rent their property out to tourists during the summer months and capitalise on Gračišće’s rustic charm.
Discover it for yourself. Take a walk through Gračišće: