The famous Hun leader Attila, who overthrew Aquileia in 453, invaded northern Italy, and clashed with the Roman Empire, is the subject of numerous legends in Istria too. The Hunnic empire stretched from the Ural River to the Rhine River and from the Danube River to the Baltic Sea, but Attila the Hun had even more ambitious plans for his empire.
In traditional tales, Attila represents each conqueror and army that tormented Istria. Attila is said to be the offspring of a dog and the daughter of a monarch with an eye on his forehead. Each time he wanted to say something, he would first bark three times like a dog.
Attila had demolished numerous castles and palaces, none of which can be seen today, as well as the Istrian cities Dvigrad, St. Lovrec, Mutvoran, and Starigrad, in place of which Novigrad was eventually constructed.
However, it appears that he did not always succeed in his conquests in Istria. He began his attack on Groznjan by barking three times beneath the city walls. He was forced to leave this location forever when the church bells started to ring.
Attila reportedly took his own life close to Vizinada when a shepherd shot him in the third eye with a slingshot. It’s remarkable how a crowned stone head with canine ears and a tongue is frequently seen throughout Istria as a warning to conquerors about what can befall.
Photo credit: arne-mueseler.com