Kažuns and Drystone Walls
Vodnjan’s region is known for its largest concentration of "kažuns" and dry-stone walls.
What is "kažun"?
"Kažuns" are traditional dry-stone shelters used as safe havens in the fields during storms or remarkably hot weather in times when people were actively engaged in agriculture. Even though these structures lost their function, they are of great importance for the people of Vodnjan and their identity. This type of drywall buildings belongs to a larger group of similar vernacular architecture across Europe and can be found all over the Mediterranean coast.
To preserve these archaic examples of traditional architecture, a project "Moj kažun – La mia casita" was launched in May 2007 and it takes place every year during May. During that period, more than 200 "kažuns" were rebuilt.
What about the dry-stone walls? They were created not only for agricultural purposes but to protect the sheep from wandering too far and also to divide the territory.
Building dry-stone walls is an ancient practice. Though it might look manageable because of the use of a single material for the entire structure, we assure you it is not. Unprocessed stones have to be selected and placed properly for the wall or structure to be stable.
The art of creating dry-stone walls dates back thousands of years but was globally recognised in 2018 when it was added to the Representative List of Intangible UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
You can find our "kažuns" all around Vodnjan’s area, usually hidden in corners of the fields, olive groves or wine yards, often near macadam roads, surrounded by dry-stone walls. The best way to reach them is by bike or on foot, taking one of our bike trails or hiking trails. If you are in a hurry but still can’t miss the chance to admire them, visit our Kažun Theme Park – a dry-stone wall heritage park where you can see the four stages of erecting a "kažun", situated just outside Vodnjan on the main road to Bale/Rovinj.