The Šterne Water Wells – A Source of Life

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The karst relief with its permeable limestone rocks has unfavourable conditions for life due to its inability to retain water. The River Rječina, the only stream of water in this area, which marks the north-eastern border between the Municipality of Viškovo and the Grobnik area, has always been an important source of water. However, before the construction of the water supply system, the Rječina was generally inaccessible to people from Viškovo, which is why water wells – locally known as šterne – were a source of life for them.

For a long time, there were only a handful of wells, which were dug in the ground and covered with a stone. It was not until the 19th century that the construction of communal water wells in the centre of the village began. The water was transported by pipes from the nearby roofs. Every village in Viškovo received one such well; the oldest dates back to 1857 and is located in Saršoni.

Since people needed water on a daily basis, the well became the main meeting place for both young and old. People would go there to meet, exchange information and have a good time together. However, the local legend of Malik warned children against falling into the deep, cold water. All this made the well a source of life in both a physical and spiritual sense.

Over time, tap water was introduced into every household. As a result, the wells became neglected and forgotten, and their social role was taken over by other locations.

Because of the cultural and historical importance of these wells, Viškovo Tourist Board started renovating them in 2007. A total of 28 public water wells have been cleaned and renovated: four in Marčelji, five in Marinići, two in Mladenići, eight in Saršoni, four in Sroki, and five in Viškovo. They now play host to various cultural and entertainment programmes in the summertime, during which time 

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