Istria

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Istria County (Croatian: Istarska županija; Italian: Regione istriana) is the westernmost county of Croatia which includes the biggest part of the Istrian peninsula (2,820 km2 (1,089 sq mi) out of 3,160 km2 (1,220 sq mi), 89%). The area of the county is called Istra in Croatian and Slovene. The county administrative center is Pazin and the regional anthem is "Krasna zemljo".

Its coastline is 445 km (277 mi) long with islands making up 539.9 km (335 mi). A smaller part of Istria also belongs to the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County of Croatia. Mirroring the bay of Venice across the Adriatic and the Gulf of Kvarner, the region is not far from the Julian Alps. The westernmost point is at Savudrija while the southern most is near Premantura, on the local promontory Kamenjak.

The terrain consists of a limestone plateau, much of which lacks water owing to its karst topography. The northeastern section is an extension of the Dinaric Alps. The highest point is Vojak on Učka mountain 1,401 m (4,596.46 ft) above sea level while another range of mountains is Ćićarija.

There are so called "bijela", "siva", "crvena" Istra, (white, grey and red Istria). White Istria is around the mountain peaks, Grey Istria is the fertile inner lands while Red Istria is the blood-red painted lands of terra rossa or "crljenica" near the coastline.
Sites such as the Grotto of Baredine near Poreč, the underground river Pazinčica and the karst Pazin pit (Pazinska jama) near Pazin are popular geologic attractions. The Limski Kanal is the only fjord resembling structure in continental Europe outside of Scandinavia (actually it's not a fjord, but a ria). The quarry near Rovinj is specifically designed for studying geology. The longest river, the Mirna, is only 32 km (20 mi) long with its mouth near Novigrad. Other rivers that pass through Istria include the Dragonja River and Raša River.

The continental plains and valleys, are primarily utilized for agriculture, such as growing cereals and vegetables. Closer to the sea, red lands are used for cultivation of grapes, vine, olives and figs. Agriculture and the production of ecological food, the olive gardens, and the production of quality wines, is the focus of Istria's agriculture sector. The coastline and nearby islands are rich in the maquis shrubland (mostly holm oak and strawberry tree). Woods, mostly oak and pine trees, cover a third of the territory.

The well-known natural reservations national park Brijuni and nature park Učka are legally protected landscapes. Other interesting localities are Lim Kanal, wood near Motovun, park woods Zlatni Rt and Šijana near Pula, protected landscape Kamenjak in the extreme south of Istria, the reservation Palud, (ornithology), near Rovinj. Brijuni archipelago is interesting as the habitat of about 680 plant species, also decorated by the most diverse vegetation and olive groves.
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