Raša - Arsia
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St. Barbara's Church facade

Church of St. Barbara

The small town of Raša (then Arsia) was inaugurated in 1937 to serve the miners working in the nearby mines which it had recently been decided to exploit, and the parish church of St. Barbara was erected at the same time in the town's central square where the municipal building was also built.

The newest church in the Labin area, St. Barbara is shaped like an upturned mine trolley, its belltower resembles a traditional miner's lamp, and even its corridors bear a resemblance to galleries in the mine. The architect responsible for the design was Gustavo Pulitzer Finali of Trieste. The facade contains a relief statue by the Triestin sculptor Ugo Carà. Also worthy of note is a statue of clearly "Mussolinian" character of a miner, the work of another Triestin, Marcello Mascherini.

The interior has a single nave and a sacristy. The marble altar is decorated with wooden statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Madonna and Child and St Barbara.

The interior of St Barbara's Church resembling an upside down turned tipper.

The steeple (25m) is in reinforced concrete and slightly tapered. and is said to represent the hoist of the mine. The south and north walls are wider than the others, as are the square windows of the belfry. There ìs a clockface on three sides of the tower. A mining museum has been set up inside to commemorate the town's 55th anniversary.

St. Barbara, the patroness of miners and gunners, of lightning and fire, was worshipped from olden times among the "black gold" diggers in the Labin area. During the last half century her day, December 4, was celebrated only a few times in this miners' region, and then the tradition was abandoned until 1989. Since then, St. Barbara's Day has been solemnly celebrated in the parish church of Rasa.

The church of St. Barbara by day... ...and by night.      

Sources:

  • Daniela Milotti Bertoni, Istria - Duecento campanili storici / Two Hundred Historic Steeples, Bruno Fachin Editore (Trieste, 1997).
  • Text and photos: Marijan Milevoj & Eduard Strenja. Od crkve do ckrve/Da chiesa a chiesa/From Church to Church - Labin, Raša, Sv. Nedelja, Kršan, Pican, Matthias Flacius Illyricus (Labin, uoci Bozica, 1994)

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This page compliments of Marisa Ciceran

Created: Wednesday, August 2, 2006; Last updated: Tuesday March 06, 2007
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