Some of the products we carry at DOMA Trading are from a medieval hilltop city called Kastav. The word “city” may give the wrong impression to an American, who might think Boston or Atlanta or LA. This city has a population of only 2,000 residents in the medieval core, and a total population of around 10,000 including surrounding villages.

Kastav embraces a hilltop which is 365 meters above the Kvarner Bay of the Adriatic Sea. There are sweeping views of the mountain of Učka, the Opatija Riviera, the city of Rijeka, out to the Kvarner islands. You can climb to one of the few remaining medieval towers to enjoy incredible 360° views, and understand the reason this hilltop was chosen long ago by the prehistoric Illyrians, the Romans, and the Greeks, all the way through medieval and modern times. To read more about Kastav, visit our page in Croatia and Its Regions.

Some portions of the medieval walls and a few of the original nine defense towers still remain. Many stones have fallen over the centuries and much is now covered in evergreen ivy. It is said the ivy is a witness of passing time. According to Slovnik Kastafskega Govora, the Dictionary of Kastav Speech, an old name for Kastav is Bršjanovac, from the Croatian word in local dialect bršjan meaning ivy. Although many places in the world have become covered in ivy over the years, not many have celebrated it in song:

Na brege je zrasal,
z bršjanon obrasal,
moj Kastav.

Situated on a hill,
overgrown with ivy,
my Kastav.

Kastav is a beautiful city with ethnographic museums, where you can wander on ancient cobblestones through winding medieval streets and pathways, to discover a treasure of photo-worthy sites. Be sure to call ahead to the tourist office if you want to visit one of the museums because they’re not always open on schedule. A visit during one of the cultural events like Karneval or Bela Nedeja will definitely draw you in to the rich history that lives here.

Visit our store to find handcrafts from Kastav, celebrating its traditions and the famed ivy-covered medieval walls.