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Culture

The city of Kastav has always and with every right took pride in its cultural heritage. Its cultural events are the city's most recognisable feature to this day. During the centuries, the town has preserved a substantial part of its cultural-historical monuments and traditions. Each new generation of Kastav people adds another piece to the complex mosaic of the town's culture.

Kastav can pride itself on a higly developed musical tradition as well as on other aspects of mainly amateur cultural activity. During past decades, events such as Kastafsko kulturno leto (The Kastav Summer of Culture), Kastav Blues Festival and Festival gitare (The Guitar Festival) have emerged on firm foundations of amateur cultural activities in Kastav. These festivals are ranked among the best summer events in the region. The beginnings of Kastafsko kulturno leto (The Kastav Summer of Culture) festival date back to 1992 and Festival gitare (The Guitar Festival) from 1997.
Kastav Blues Festival, the biggest music event of this type in the region, took place for the first times in 2008. Since then, Kastav has been visited by many renowned musicians and a growing number of blues fans.

Amateur music troops such as the Spinčići Music Society, Male and Female Harmony Singing Group Kastav and the Cultural-Educational Istarska Vila Society with the Kastavki pučki teatar performing arts group are known for their achievements outside the Kastav area.

Beside the abundance of cultural-historical monuments and a long tradition in education, the Kastav area has preserved its čakavian vernacular with a number of features of the ancient Croatian language. The exquisite expressiveness of the čakavian dialect has appealed to many local poets and writers in Kastav who wrote in čakavian. Berto Lučić, the most performed and the most popular comedy wrtiter is among them.

One of the oldest and best preserved Kastav legacies is the tradition of carnival, so-called Pust. From Saint Anthony’s Day on 17th January (Antonja) until Ash Wednesday (Pusna sreda) there are carnival dances every Saturday named pusni tanci. Carnival ends on Ash Wednesday with the burning of the straw effigy (Pust) who serves as the culprit blamed for all the misfortunes that had happened in the past year.

Very popular in the Kastav area are the so-called zvončari (the bellmen) that probably date back to pre-Christian times when they chased away winter and invoked spring with the noise of their bells and their scary masks.

Amongst centuries old events is Bela nedeja, the new wine (belica) festival. Today, just like the old times, Bela nedeja is celebrated on the first Sunday in October with a great fair in Kastav. This popular folk festival features various events such as old crafts presentation, wine fair, exhibitions, music shows, stage performances, book promotions and a selection of different homemade food and drinks and other goods for sale.

One can discover how highly the people of Kastav value their heritage by visiting The Museum Collection of the Kastav Region established in 1981. Archaeological finds, pottery and jewellery found at sites in the town’s nucleus and around it, different artefacts and documents that bear evidence of the town's history can all be found there.

In Pelini, the oldest part of Kastav, in a building that once housed the coopery, The Coopery Museum Collection, one of the first Kastav County Collections, was established. The museum is arranged so that it resembles a former coopery workshop. Occasionally, cooper's trade presentations are held. Cooper's tools and familiar cooperware are exhibited and tasting of Kastav wines and spirits are held. The modest workshop has cordially welcomed many world-renowned artists along with other less famous but dear guests.

After The Coopery Museum Collection, The Coppersmith Collection was established beneath the Fortica, in a place that once housed coppersmith's workshop of a well-known Kastav coppersmith Mr. Milko Osojnak. The Coppersmith Collection exhibits a blacksmith's forge, water-storage stone basin and authentic copperware that were once used in households for food preparation: kettles, pots, pans, and buckets. The museum is decorated with photographs and one can feel the spirit of past times.

Idicas Bakery is located in the old town of Kastav, in the area called Pelini. This is a part of the Local Ethnographic Museum dedicated to the bakery trade and named after Ida Bačić (Idica), the last female baker from Kastav whom local people still today remember as a skilled baker and cook. The museum is located in an authentic venue that features a renovated traditional wood-fired bread oven built of stone and bricks and an old wooden bread shovel. Visitors to the Idica's Balery can enjoy its authentic atmosphere and the aroma and taste of freshly baked bread.

The workshop of the renowned Kastav blacksmith Ivan Rubeša File is private property of the Rubeša family located in the part of Kastav called Dukići. The central part of the smithy features an open fireplace with leather bellows for fire, anvil, stone vessel with water for hardening metals and approximately forty different hammers and twenty types of pliers. In the past, various items for everyday use were produced in this smithy, from keys, locks and hinges to fences, doors and stove parts.

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