The lush Motovun forest will tickle your imagination mainly because of the soil in which an unusual connection of truffles is created. But not only because of that.
One of the most famous Istrian legends in the Motovun region is the one about Veli Joža, a giant who, according to legend, lived to be three hundred years old, and today, if you look a little closer, he still lives on the slopes of the gentle Istrian hills, in the forests along the Mirna, resting in the shade under Učka, enjoying the freedom he had gained… He did not resent the people who were afraid of him, taking shelter in the houses before him and closing the windows after he dug and planted for them. The furrows he ploughed deep across the peninsula in three directions are still the riverbeds through which the Raša, Mirna and Dragonja flow.
The legend of Veli Joža is just one of a series of stories that can be heard and experienced in Motovun at the Velo Joža festival, which is traditionally held in mid-summer.
Also, Veli Joža was included in the literary work by the famous Croatian writer Vladimir Nazor in 1908. The period in which the story of Joža is set is the period when the Republic of Venice ruled Istria, and exploited its goods for centuries, so long that Istria and Istrians forgot the meaning of freedom and what it is like to be free. The story describes the priceless importance of freedom in the life of every human being, including the giant Jože.
If you are interested in the story of Veli Joža, visit Motovun during the Veli Joža festival and enjoy the staging of the Middle Ages and the presentation of local products and souvenirs. A special feature of the festival is its entry into the GUINNESS book of records! Their plan is to break one record from the Guinness Book of Records in the “largest” category every year. We can’t wait to find out what it will be this year.
Photo source: TZ Motovun