In the northern part of Istria, overlooking the beautiful valley of the fast river Mirna, is situated the most famous Istrian medieval town Motovun. Namely, the reigns over Motovun were constantly changing over many centuries, from Venice, through Austria and finally to Croatia. This magnificent town, built on a hill at a height of 277 meters, is surrounded by vineyards and the Motovun forest known for its numerous truffle sites. Motovun is a place of many legends and old stories, and one of the most famous is the story of a giant named Veli Joža whose character was embodied by the famous Croatian writer Vladimir Nazor in one of his fairy tales. According to old beliefs, in the past, in addition to dwarves, Istria also had many giants, who cultivated fields, tamed wild beasts and did other hard work. Veli Jože belonged to the Motovun people, and every time he felt bad, he would shake the Motovun bell tower. One day Veli Jozhe was sent by a dwarf in a galley to Venice, where he met Elijah, who told him about freedom. In a big storm, the galley ran aground, and Veli Jozhe managed to save himself and swim to the Istrian coast. At that point, he decided to look for all the other giants to free them. The dwarves, however, bought the giants wine and gold and persuaded them to return as servants to their cities. Everyone agreed except Veli Jozhe who decided to enjoy his freedom and never returned to Motovun. In response to all the suffering, the good giant did nothing wrong to the residents of Motovun. And although people have not seen him anymore, some still believe that Veli Jože still sleeps near Motovun and protects its inhabitants. Veli Jozhe thus got its own street in the heart of Motovun, and at the beginning of August 2008, as part of the Festival of Fantastic Literature, a memorial plaque was erected to Nazor and his giant.
№25 in Cities of Croatia