Draguć is located on a flysch ridge that streches over the valley called Dragućska vala. The small town was rebuilt from its foundations after the settlement completely burned down in a fire at the time of the War of Uskoks (1615 – 1618). After the fire, Draguć was build symmetrically with the intention to lead a chance guest along the central street, surrounded with the best looking facades, towards the main square.
Two side streets behind the central blocks of buildings connect farm buildings, stables and barns.
The original pre-historic settlement was on a 504-meter high hill, called Stari Draguć, which is at the same time, the highest hill in central Istria. They say that in today’s non-existant town on top of the hill, ploughs used to throw out the remains of an ancient human settlement. This, as well as the surrounding area was inhabited in Roman times, but poorly Romanized. In the middle Ages there was a castle Dravuie that was in 1102 listed as a gift from Ulricha II. Weimer – Orlamünde to the Patriarchs of Acquileia. The castle was given to the Shire of Pazin in 1350, and after the Venetian-Hungarian War in 1523, it came under the rule of Venice until its end in 1797.
The local parish was mentioned in 1421 and was visited in 1580 by the apostle Valier who wrote in his notes that the priests of Draguć are keeping the Registry of births and deaths in Glagolitic script. These valuable documents, together with the notary protocol of the priest Matković, are nowadays in Zagreb, in the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts. Other sacred monuments testify of even older religious life.
The Church of St. Elisha
Surrounded by the cemetery, in the entrance to the town, there is a church dedicated to a saint from the Old Testament, St. Elisha. It is a Romanesque church built at the end of the 12th century and made out of bichrome stone blocks, which is not particular just in Istria, but spread even further. It was decorated by an unknown artist at he beginning of the 13th century. He painted in a quick and passionate way, spraying paint around the building. The dried droops are still visible on the frescos. When he was painting The Last Supper, it seems that he has made a mistake because he put John in the opposite position and apparently later changed his mind and added a profile. In such a way, 800 years before Picasso, he made the first cubist painting. The characters of our unknown artist are deprived of every portrait trait. They represent the event in a schematic way, and as such, are unique in the Istrian Region.
Under the render of these unique paintings, there is an earlier painting. Its stone altar is in fact an antique tombstone from the 2nd or 3rd century. It is turned upside down in order to symbolically show the victory of Christianity over polytheism. On its walls, you can also notice Glagolitic graffiti of students that were studying reading and writing with the local Glagolitic priests in the 15th and 16th century.
In front of the cemetery, the eternal rest of generations, there is a lapidarium that testifies to the past times. There is a tombstone of a priest from Draguć, Giovanni Grozich (died in 1833). He lived in the time of the French rule of Istria. He was awarded the great Austrian medal of honour. The mayor Giovanni Grossich (1796 – 1833) was his nephew.
The church of the Lady of Rosary
In front of the entrance to the town, at the beginning of the main street there is a Church of the Lady of Rosary made in 1641, at the time of construction of the new town. It has been renovated several times through the centuries and, out of the preserved inventory from the local churches, the local priests have made a sort of a museum of sacred art. On the main altarpiece, there is the Blessed Virgin Mary, with St. Catherine and St. Dominic. Next to the main altar, there is another altar with a late gothic statue of Our Lady of Carmel from the 15th century. It was brought there from an older church and is decorated with the paintings of St. Lucy and St. Catherine.
The Church is a sanctuary for an altar with a statue of St. Silvestre and two other saints from the demolished church of St. Silvestre from Stari Draguć. It also has a recreation of the altar of St. Elisha with statues of St. Elisha, St. Eliah and St. Michael the Archangel, and a recreation of the altar of St. Rocco with statues of St. Francisco, St.Antun of Padova and 2 other saints.
The house of Antonio Grossich
In the main street that leads to the main square, surrounded by buildings with baroque and classicist facades, there is a house of Antonio Grossich, born on June 7, 1849. He was a medical doctor, a surgeon and a politician. He graduated medicine in Vienna in 1875, after which he got a job as a doctor in Kastav. He moved to Rijeka in 1879, where in 1886 he became the chief surgeon. Grossich is also a well known scientist who published several scientific works, and in 1908 he implemented a new method of skin disinfection of the opratic field that is still used today. In his later years, he was more dedicated to politics and from October 28, 1918 until September 8, 1920, he was the president of an Italian Council in Rijeka that supported the joining of Rijeka to Italy. Between the expulsion of D’Annunzi from the city, at Christmas time in 1920, and the first elections in the Free Country of Rijeka, the city was in a political vacuum. In the period between December 13, 1920 and April 27, 1921, Grossich was the president of the temporary government. After Rijeka became a part of Italy, Grossich left surgery and became completely involved in politics, and consequently, in 1923, he became a senator of the Kingdom of Italy.
The house of Josip Šestan
On the square, there is a house of another well-known person from Draguć. Josip Šestan was born on March 18, 1892. He graduated from the teacher’s college in Kastav, where he was thaught by a famous Croatian writer, Vladimir Nazor. He worked in Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia and Zagreb. He returned to Istria in 1944, and participated in the War for national freedom by organizing schools in Buzet and Poreč. After the Second World War, he was one of the most prominent politicians in Istria, and he was the president of the Regional committee of Istria. He participated in the Peace Convention in Paris in 1946, and in 1947, he became the vice-president of the Parliament of the Independent Republic of Croatia.
Fountain in Draguć
In the middle of the square is fountain of the public water supply, which was put up by marni Pauletich in 1888. The water comes to the fountain from the foot of Stari Draguć by gravity. The square divides the old part of Draguć, i.e. the castle, from the rest of the city built in the 17th century. The remains of the oldest part of Draguć, from the 11th or the 12th century are visible in the fortification in the northwestern part of the square. The Castle was probably expanded in the 14th century towards the east or today’s parish Church, when the government of the area was taken over by the Counts of Gorizia from the Patriarchs of Acquileia. Venice conquered Draguć in 1508 and in 1523 Draguć was included in the system of border forts together with Hum, Vrh, Sovinjak, Roč and Buzet. At the time of the War of Uskoks, this was fought between Austria and Venice, between 1615 and 1618, Draguć lost a suburb in a fire, and the Castle was not spared either. In 1628, it was renovated by the philanthrophist Francisco Basadona.
The Church of the Holy Cross
Next to the edge of the square is the Church of the Holy Cross mentioned in the 15th century. It has been upgraded several times and received today’s appearance in the 19th century. The Church has an altar painting of the Holy Family, St. Valentine and St. Anton the monk from an earlier church from the 17th century and tombs and an organ from the 18th century. After the renovation of the church, the parishioners were donated the inventory to the church, and among the gifts, there was a painting of St. Fabian and St. Sebastian, which was painted in 1846 by Venerio Tervisan, a famous painter from Vodnjan.
The Church of Saint Rocco
The Church of St. Rocco, saint patron against plague, is on the northern side, behind the buildings gathered into a castle, in front of the old entrance into the town, in a clearing that overlooks Dragućska vala and the hillsides of central Istria.
The Church is built at the beginning of the 16th century. It was painted in 1529 by Antun from Padova, i.e. Kašćerga, which, at the time, was the name of the village on a hill west from Draguć. In 1537, the artist Anton painted a painting of Saint Rocco, Fabian and Sebastian on the wall above the altar. The arch is decorated by 28 scenes of Christ’s life, from the Annunciation to Eucharist. On its walls, Anton painted over 100 pictures of saints, church fathers, popes, bishops and ordinary people. Just like many other churches in Istria, this one also has Glagolitic graffiti, but from the 16th century.
Because of its remarkable beauty, Draguć was often used in film scenes. In some films, it was used as a place of action while in others they just borrowed views and landscapes. Many film crews and actors passed through Draguć, between which we can mention some of them: Karl Malden, Michael York, Nastassja Kinski, Demian Nash, Ena Begović, Mira Banjac, Pavle Vujisić, Milan Štrljić, Boris Dvornik, Zvonimir Lepetić…. Films that were filmed in Draguć are Mary, The Flyers of the Great Sky, Mandrin, Sunset, Melita, Libertas, La Femme Musketeer and many others.
Z bajson u Draguć
The most important event nowadays is the International Reunion of Players of Bajs – Z Bajson u Draguć that takes place on the third Sunday in June.