Rovinj is a browser’s paradise, with a labyrinth of streets and cubbyholes to explore. Most of the important sites are in the Old Town, but there are a few places of note outside the center. Zlatni Rt-Punta Corrente Nature Park is a fine reason to venture out: It’s a densely forested park, on a small peninsula southeast of the Old Town and the ACI sailing marina, rimmed with rocky beaches and crisscrossed by hiking paths. The Lim Fjord is a flooded karstic canyon less than 16km (10 miles) north of Rovinj. It looks like a ribbon of clear blue-green water framed with forested walls on two sides. Local legend says that pirates used the inlet as a base for ambushing merchant ships. Mussels and oysters are farmed here and you can sample them at any of the restaurants along the road that skirts the area. Excursions to the Lim Fjord leave from Rovinj and Poreč daily, and can be booked directly on the harbor or at local travel agencies.
The Legend of St. Euphemia
St. Euphemia was probably just a teenager living in 4th-century Chalcedon near Constantinople when she fell victim to Diocletian’s campaign to purge the Roman Empire of Christianity. The daughter of a prominent Chalcedon citizen, she was imprisoned with 49 other Christians when they refused to worship the town idol and deny their faith. Because of her refusal to deny Christ, the young Euphemia was tortured with fire and snakes and then had her bones broken on a wheel before being thrown to the lions, which miraculously didn’t devour her body after they killed her. Christians recovered Euphemia’s body and buried it in Chalcedon, but in the 7th century they moved it to Constantinople because they feared the body would be defiled by Persian invaders. In Constantinople, the Christian emperor Constantine ordered that a church be built in Euphemia’s honor. Her sarcophagus remained there until a.d. 800, when the faithful again relocated it because they feared that the Emperor Nicephorus I might remove it to parts unknown.
No one knows for sure how the coffin and its contents got to Rovinj, but one legend says that Christian fishermen probably put it on their boats in an attempt to get it to a safe place, and then somehow lost it at sea. The legend goes on to attribute Euphemia’s arrival on the shores of Rovinj to a miracle. One local legend further states that villagers who found the coffin couldn’t budge the heavy stone container from the surf no matter how hard they tried. In the end it was a young boy with a pair of calves who was able to get the coffin out of the water after St. Euphemia appeared to him in a dream and told him what to do. The coffin is now a symbol of Rovinj and rests behind the altar in the right aisle of the church that carries the saint’s name at the top of Rovinj’s highest hill. Worshippers come to pray at the site daily, especially on September 16, the day that St. Euphemia died in a.d. 304.
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