Legends of giants loom large in the folklore of Istria, where they are said to have played a pivotal role in the creation of the region’s iconic hilltop towns. According to ancient tales passed down through generations, these towering beings were not only the architects of the towns but also their fierce protectors, dwelling within the mountains beneath each settlement.
Among the most renowned of these legendary figures is Veli Jože (Great Joseph, Big Joe), the giant credited with the construction of the picturesque town of Motovun. His larger-than-life presence is immortalized in literature and art, particularly in works from the early 20th century, where giants served as potent symbols of resistance against foreign occupiers in the Istrian region.
In these tales, the giants are depicted as guardians of the land, standing as stalwart defenders against external threats. With their immense strength and unwavering loyalty to the people of Istria, they ensured the safety and security of their hilltop towns, serving as a bulwark against invaders and aggressors.
Beyond their role as protectors, the giants also embody the spirit of resilience and defiance that characterizes Istrian identity. In the face of adversity, they stand as symbols of resistance, embodying the indomitable will of the Istrian people to safeguard their land and preserve their cultural heritage.
Today, the legend of the giants lives on as a cherished part of Istrian folklore, serving as a reminder of the region’s rich history and enduring spirit. Their towering presence continues to inspire awe and reverence, casting a long shadow over the hills and valleys of Istria, where the legacy of Veli Jože ( (Great Joseph, Big Joe) and his kin remains firmly rooted in the collective imagination of the land.