In the beginning of 2006, GiovanniAbrami wrote:

"(There is )a small property left to me by my relatives in Croatia. Unfortunately most of the original houses and farmland was lost as nationalized by the old Yugoslavian regime. Now, with the willingness of the present Croatian government to join the EC, there is a hope to be in better terms and in what form ever recover at least part of this land. My family gave the name (Abrami) to the village, located near the actual town of Buzet (originally a Roman castrum, later the Venetian town of Pinguente).

Abrami is located at the foot of a large mountain within an hilly area with an almost untouched landscape characterized by the windings of a small river (Brazana) with very clean waters. There are also good agricultural land, extended hardwoods and other small villages in the surroundings. The place can be reached more than half an hour from Trieste, about two to three hours from Venezia or Ljubljana and it is not really too far from Vienna.

If things will go in the right way we can therefore work for an experiment in sustainable eco-agrotourism. It could be based on the idea of a "village-community" that we can develop step by step according with concrete achievements."

I will send later more information about. A first meeting in the area could be organized in May or June 2006 (there is plenty of space for camping, rooms in private houses, an hotel in Buzet and nearby a thermal resort with congress facilities, etc.).

FranzNahrada: I did some research immediately and found that the area is of certain charming characteristics, which mirrored in the local touristical site:

The issue was attractive and important for me so I asked Giovanni to have the meeting already at Easter. We met with Giovannis Wife Vlasta and with my dear Annerose in the spa of Istarske Toplice and we had a week full of research and treats in this wonderful area. The Oak forests in the Mirna Valley are a natural wonder and the "Green Karst" is a landscape of incredible beauty, filled with lots of abandoned small villages and some in reconstruction. Here is a visual impression so you might get a little bit of what I mean:

Our main concern, though, was to find ways to activate Abrami.

Our first finding was not so attractive: Abrami is only a few hundred meters from an industrial area and only 7 km from the mothertown Buzet. Annerose and I took this picture from the opposite mountain:

You can clearly see this proximity on the image above. Giovannis little house is at the lower left corner of the Abrami Area marked in red. Also, higher on the hill we saw some conventional houses of well-off families and thought they would not really care about Global Village development. The situation and impression changed completely when we visited the village.

  • First, you cannot see the industries from Abrami because they are hidden well behind the hills. In fact, they do not belong to the tiny Bracana "valley in the valley" - and also the road to the Slovenian Border makes a long respectful curve far away from the village.

  • Second, the lower part of the village is still in a very original condition, so some fantasies could arise about a "creative space of village revitalisation". A little creek comes from a spring that could be well the center of a village plaza. The cristal clear water of the river forms natural swimming ponds. The grass is green and lavish. Thoughts and imaginations begin to spin.

  • Third, we find out that there is a very active farmer in the village and there is still lot of competence and productivity in this village. On Easter Sunday, we were invited with Giovanni and Vlasta to the house of Carlo and Maria, who together with their daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren fill the village with life. In the aftermath of the fantastic and delicious lunch (wine, vegetables and meat from own production) we have a talk with the young generation about the future of the village. The tell us that they very much regret the stopping of school activities in Abrami, so they must bring and fetch their children to Buzet for schooling.
  • The fourth reason has less to do with Abrami itself although also Abrami is a case of this circumstance, but with the region in general. There is hardly another region in the world where on one side there are so many beautiful villages, on the other side so many deserted ones, deserted since long time. This is not a region of sudden village decay, but a region where the decay has started long ago, after the second world war, when borders were drawn in a new way and people had the alternative to submit to new political conditions or leave. An estimate of 350.000 Italians has left the region of northern Istria, and many of their houses are sitting empty, protected by property laws that are based on definite ownership, especially after the undoing of some nationalisations. Many of these people and previous owners will never come back, so many of the houses are emptied and plundered, but basically unused. Issues that are difficult to sort out, and impossible to solve under nationalist conditions of any kind. The region of northern Istria in particular is a bilingual zone, heavily depending on the cooperation of cultures. Could it be a region of Global Villages, filled with people from Croatia and abroad that cooperate in a new ways to protect their unspoilt natural environment? What role does the advent of the European Community play in this context? An exciting case that could attract our community to investigate.
A fifth and very special reason is that there are similar examples in the region that show what can be done with the beauty of those villages. Maybe the best and most compelling example is the "Namaste-Zentrum" built up by Gisela Fot from Switzerland and here colleague Helga from Vienna in the very remote village of Kuberton. Among dense shrubs and ruins, in a completely dead village, Gisela has managed to bring a very beautiful and almost aristocratic house back to life. She wants to sell this estate now for a price that is definetely not too high, but who will be as artful and as hospitable as she was and who will continue the difficult task of bringing the whole village to life again? Our meeting in the beautiful Namasté Center was a little bit overshaddowed by the fact that Gisela needs to leave her masterpiece.

See more images from Kuberton in Annerose Mühlmanns Report (German)

So this is some of the reasons we consider organizing the first worldwide community meeting of Global Villagers and all our other friends from Our Culture in Abrami. We wrote up a first Brainstorming paper and we would like to have many people join the preparation and working community!

Related issues

The permaculture convention in Motovun points at more possible local links:

"Second day did the Zmack Group from Zagreb present there urban/land project Voukumeric, Bio Istra presented their work with organic farmers and the attempts to convert into Permaculture, Kneja group with the spiritual project at Eia in the middle of Istria, a group from the Permaculture Course on Cres presented the design from the village of Lubenice into a gradual transformation into Permaculture and at last a special presentation of spiritual elements in design plus a bio-fuel project and its implication into more integrated energy strategies."

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