Jure Grando – first Istrian Vampire, Strigun
The saga of Europe’s oldest vampire begins in 17th century Istria, when local resident Jure Grando was buried at the local cemetery in a small town called Kringa. Not long after the burial, the deceased began to appear to the locals, many saw his ghost wandering around the village with a ghostly smile on his face. The first person he appeared to was Father Georgio, who came to a spooky discovery – Grando brought bad luck by knocking on the door, because the householder on whose door he knocked would die within a few days.
It took years for the villagers to pluck up the courage and do something – and finally in 1672 they decided to dig up Jure’s grave. It turns out that a preserved body was still lying in the grave and its ruddy face even reflected a smile! The locals then tried to pierce the ghost with a pointed hawthorn stake, but without any success because the stake was constantly bouncing off the body. In the end, they solved the matter by beheading the creepy creature, which finally put an end to many years of terror in Kringa. Locals testify that after that peace finally returned to the village and that the apparition of Jure Grand did not appear again. The legend was later written down by the Slovenian general Johann Weichard Valvasor, and that is considered to be the first recorded mention of vampires in Europe, two centuries before Bram Stoker wrote the famous novel about Dracula.
The legend of Glavat Islet
Did you know that the Croatian islands are not just beautiful, but their sheer beauty actually managed to stir up the Greek gods themselves? In the ancient times, the Greek gods engaged in a heated debate over which island was the most breathtaking: Mljet, Korčula, or Lastovo. The argument raged on endlessly, until Zeus (or Poseidon, depending on the version of the legend) decided to intervene and settle the matter once and for all.
Imagine this: the emissary of the mighty gods emerged from the depths of the sea, right in the midst of Lastovo, Korčula, and Mljet. His mission? To determine the winner of this epic beauty contest. But alas, despite his best efforts, the emissary found himself unable to make a decision. He pondered, he weighed, he judged, but the choice eluded him. Little did he know that his indecisiveness would enrage the Greek gods to such an extent that they decided to punish him on the spot by petrifying him amid the beautiful islands, turning him into the tiny island of Glavat, nestled between the islands of Mljet, Korčula and Lastovo. So which of the three islands is the prettiest – a million dollar question. It’s best to visit all three (just in case) and see for yourself!