About 100 metres below the walls of Pazin Castle lies a treat for adventurers. Fasten your backpack and lace up your joggers and make your journey into the centre of earth or, more accurately, into the Pazin Chasm.
Istria’s longest river, the Pazincica makes its way into the chasm and down into further murky depths creating three underground lakes which renowned French adventure and science fiction writer Jules Verne (1828-1905) made the inspiration for his 1885 novel Mathias Sandorf.
Verne never visited Pazin, Istria or the Chasm, but the author is revered in these parts which has seen the foundation of The Jules Verne Club, organising Jules Verne Days in June, the Science Fiction Literature Festival in August, and a whole series of other activities that draw on Verne’s work and promote Pazin as ‘The town of Jules Verne.’
There are two entrances to the chasm, one at Hotel Lovac and the other at the footbridge that spans the chasm. Inside there’s a marked trial of about 1.3 kilometres that takes you down into the canyon.
Not enough? You can also zipline across the chasm. Too much? There’s a viewing platform just outside the castle.
Known as the best preserved medieval structure in Istria, the Pazin Castle sits perched over the chasm and houses two museums. The one ticket gets you into both, of which the Town Museum has some interesting torture instruments in the dungeon. The other is the Ethnographic Museum.