Barban - Barbana
Churches and Cemeteries


Views of the steeple

St. Nicholas
alt. 245 m

The parish goes back to the year 740 and the Church of St. Nicholas was built in the 15th century on the remains of the northern wing of the old castle. It was enlarged and consecrated in 1701 by Giuseppe Maria Bottari, the Bishop of Pola. It was restored in 1843, 1959 and 1982. 

The church spire was erected on the medieval tower of the castle, while the palace (dating from 1606) of the Loredan family incorporates the eastern wing of the castle. In the street leading from the square to Mala Vrata (the Small Gate, dating from 1720) stands the well-preserved city hall from 1555, with a Loggia and clock tower (destroyed by fire in 1944 and reconstructed after the war).





These photos taken by Marisa Ciceran Aug. 8, 2000

The church has a single nave, with a raised presbytery, and contains, among other fine works, a striking altarpiece on the high altar, attributed to A. Varatori, called Il Padovanino, various paintings by followers of Titian, a wooden statue of St. Nicholas and a glorious Gothic stone tabernacle, datable to around the mid-15th century. The altars were acquired in Venice by the Loredan family. The Via Crucis, of 1762, is the work of Antonio Barbieri and Petar Gleiser, while the chorus stalls are by Giovanni Napolachi (1641-1642).

St. Sebastian’s martyrdom, 16th cent. altar painting, Titian School

Interior, left side

The steeple was built over the medieval tower of 1595 and is today incorporated in the lefthand side of the facade, following the rebuilding in the Baroque period of the pre-existing small church. In spite of being 25 metres tall, the trees around hide almost half of it. 

The steeple has undergone restoration along with the church but two braces are still required to strengthen the walls. The lower part has only two windows to lighten the structure, which is plastered all over, except for the belfry, which is in bare stone ashlars. Beneath it is a simple cordon, while above a projecting cornice is supported by eight corbels on each side. The double lights in the tall mullioned windows are divided by pillars with barely suggested capitals, blending into a cornice of the same thickness running right around the steeple. At the top is an octagonal drum with a pitched, tiled roof with eight faces.

Photo source:

St. Anthony, the Abbot

Alongside the Great Door, on the exterior of the walls, recessed a meter below street level, is the chapel of St. Anthony, the Abbot which, built in the 14th century, is one of the most ancient churches in Istria. In popular gothic style, it has a rectangular plan, with the roof in sheets of stone. The small edifice has walls of large limestone blocks laid out in regular courses; its belltower [a vela, monoforo], still carries its small bell. 

The interior of the chapel, accessed through a rectangular door flanked by two small windows, has an ogival look, with 14th century frescoes. These were discovered, studied, and restored in 1902. The altar's [table] surface is recent, but in totality, the church shows signs of abandonment.

Photograph taken by Marisa Ciceran Aug. 8, 2000. 

St. Jacob, the Apostle

To the north of the church of St. Nicholas and to the left of [chi si supera della cittadina] the Great Gate, there is a road about 100 metres in length alongside the lower houses. At the end of this road, surrounded by small gardens, is the ancient church of San Jacob, the Apostle.

Constructed of regular courses of limestone blocks, the rustic facade is delineated by a small belltower [campaniletto a vela monoforo] which has no bell. The entry facade has two low small square windows. The portal of the church has a rectangular cornice in a gothic shape. On the left wall is an interesting window shaped as a "transenna" curve and having a double dentil cornice in stone shaped like a star with eight points. On the right wall there is a small window [ad ogiva] which confirms the predominance of the 18th century style. The interior of the church was covered in frescoes, as evidenced by some fragments of paint, already noted by Tamaro at the start of this century.

Photo source:

The church of St. Jacob was created, as reveal the architectural details, in the XV century. Today, this small monument of medieval art is abandoned, shut with boards, destined to become a ruin.

Church of St. Jacob, the Apostle, with Church of St. Nicholas is in the background 


  • Text (S. Nicolò) and 3 photographs - Daniela Milotti Bertoni, Istria - Duecento campanili storici / Two Hundred Historic Steeples, Bruno Fachin Editore (Trieste, 1997)
  • Text (S. Giacomo) and drawings: Dario Alberi, Istria - storia, arte, cultura, LINT (Trieste, 1997)
  • Photographs (6) - Marisa Ciceran
  • Other photographs, as indicated.

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This page compliments of Marisa Ciceran

Created: Friday, July 26, 2002; Last updated: Wednesday April 30, 2014
Copyright © 1998, USA