The most visited town in Croatia, what makes it so special? Many call Rovinj the most romantic place in the Mediterranean. For those who are seeking a sentimental atmosphere of the times that have gone by this is the right place. Its restricted area resulted in many small and crowded houses, narrow stone paved streets and small squares, today untouched by modern urbanism. St. Euphemia’s Church is situated at the top of the Rovinj as you can see in the picture.
The church is big and impressive and it was built in the honor of St. Euphemia, the patron saint of Rovinj. The legend says Euphemia was fifteen years old when she was arrested by Diocletian’s soldiers, after she refused to give up Christianity she was tortured. She still remained loyal to Christ, and was thrown to the lions who eventually killed her but did not devour her body. Christians from Chalcedon preserved the body of the martyr until 620 when the town was captured by the Persians. The sarcophagus with the body of St. Euphemia was then transferred to Constantinople, and placed in a magnificent church which was built in her honour by Tsar Constantine. In 800 the Iconoclasts (icon-slashers) came to power, and the Christians were forced to remove the relics of St. Euphemia. It is hard to say what happened next. People say that a marble sarcophagus came floating in the sea to the coast of Rovinj after a big storm at dawn of July 13, 800. It is said that many people of Rovinj tried to haul the sarcophagus to the Church of Saint George, but no one succeded. Finally, answering to St. Euphemia’s call, a small boy with two little cows managed to haul the sarcophagus up the hill. The people of Rovinj considered it a miracle, and they proclaimed St. Euphemia the patron-saint of the town. St. Euphemia’s Day is celebrated on September 16. Many visitors come to Rovinj to participate in the grandious celebration with rich program which takes place on the main square in Rovinj. Traditionally, on St. Euphemia’s Day people eat mutton with sauerkraut (‘ovca z kapuzom’) and ‘fritule’ an Istrian delicacy.