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MY ISTRIA GUIDE

The observatory in Visnjan, Istria - little but meaningful and worth visiting

The observatory in Visnjan, Istria - little but meaningful and worth visiting

Celebrate the sun and get closer to the stars

Have you ever dreamed, as a child, looking up to the stars from an attic? Well, this is how everything started with the atypical astronomy observatory located on the attic of a charming little town on the western part of the Istrian peninsula - Visnjan, not far from Porec. Although the observatory officially opened in 1992, it dates back to 1970s due to many astronautical discoveries during this period and the inspired amateurs of Visnjans astronomy society. An observatory is a place with scientific instruments for researching the starry skies as well as celestial bodies or solar systems. We will lead you through the history of this little but very significant observatory, which is also an astronomical institute (since 2005). Find out more about this in our article!

This little observatory has quite of memorable historical moments which made it so important today. For example the first telescope built in Visnjan (mirror diameter of 140 mm) started to be functional in 1977, when the dome was finished. Unfortunately in 1986 a fire destroyed the footage archive and some scientific books from their library.

In 1995 the local scientists start their first experimental recordings which resulted by finding a little planet (asteroid) by the end of the year. One of the scientists was Korado Korlevic who discovered thousands of asteroids and a few comets, 2 were named by him. With all this information it doesn't surprise that he is the 18th on the list of the most productive astronomers in the world. This was a good starting point in Visnjan being named one of the most productive observatorys in the world. Important note to keep in mind is also that most of the people included in making this happen are just enthusiasts and volunteers and just a few scientists exploring the sky since the early days. With a lot of work and love towards this profession this little observatory became the first in the world (even before NASA!) in 2019 for tracking the most amount of Earth’s asteroids, almost 55% of all near the earth.

beautiful-nebula-orion-seen-from-the-observatory-in-Visnjan-in-central-Istria

Let´s get back on the history of this observatory. Due to light pollution of the nearby touristy cities, the observatory had to move in 2001 to the village Tican, where it is located at the moment, just 3 km away from Visnjan. Since Visnjan got more crowded, the stars and other celestial objects were not so visible anymore, but luckily they managed to move and continue the researching as well as maintain the touristic offer for visitors. In 2002 the new observatory already got a new telescope named Dagor.
Since then the observatory is still really active not only in the science domain but also organizing numerous events, summer schools and Youth Science camps. This is a great way to motivate young people with interest in astronomy and space science and to wake up their critical thinking!

visitors-standing-in-front-of-the-observatory-in-Istria-in-the-spring-time

One of the most important events for this little observatory is definitely the AstroFest. Each year, on the summer solstice, celebrating the shortest night of the year, you can visit the AstroFest in Visnjan (21. June - 22. June). The program is rich and interesting and includes different activities from lectures on astronomy topics and observation of sky telescopes to entertainment (music program, bonfire) and also wine tasting, characteristically for this area of Istria. Here you can also learn a lot about mystical beliefs and legends of the Visnjan area. Although the main goal of the festival is to attend it from sunrise to sunset in order to celebrate the sun like the ancient civilizations who believed it was the symbol of life, you can also just check out the magnificent locations and enjoy the starry night.

When staying in one of our beautiful villas in central Istria or near Porec be sure to visit this amazing place and find out more about the interesting place on earth among the stars - Visnjans observatory in village Tican!

Photos by: Visnjan Observatory

Marta Lucic

01.12.2019
+385 1 222 70 50