History buffs will love exploring this region, as even the landscape has stories to tell. Since the 9th century BC, inhabitants of Istria-Kvarner have included the Illyrians, the Celts, and the seafaring Liburni. The region of Istria and the Istrian Peninsula are named for the ancient tribe of Illyrians, the Histri, who occupied the peninsula and were credited with building the first hilltop fortresses there. Over the centuries, Istria has changed hands many times. Today, monuments and architecture testify of Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Austro-Hungarian influence, among others.
The rich history of this area is evidenced by archaeological finds that include important ancient Glagolitic writings. Bašćanska ploča (the Baška tablet), c. 1100 AD, was discovered on the island of Krk and contains the first written mention of the name of Croatia, referring to Zvonimir the King of the Croats, who reigned from 1075 to 1089. The 1288 Vinodolski zakonik (the Vindol Statute) was also from this region and is one of the oldest Slavic and European codes. Statut Grada Kastva (the Kastav Statute) from 1400 confirms the status of the city of Kastav as an administrative and political center.