Belaj – Bellai: “Beautiful Barbo palace in the vineyard”
Belaj property was built by Giorgio Barbo, the lord of Kozljak, at the end of the 16th century. This property was located on a once defensive fortified line that was established in the 11th century from Rasa river till Paz village. At that time Paz and Posert were the border defensive castles. Posert Castle, near Belaj, was in ruins when Giorgio Barbo decided to built this new property.
In written documents Belaj is mentioned for the first time in 1367 as Bray when the Aquileia Patriarchs gave Bray as feud to Doimo of S. Vito from Rijeka. In the previous centuries Belaj have probably changed several rulers between the Aquileia Patriarchs and Counts of Gorizia, owners of the County of Pazin.
In 1374, Belaj, together with the County of Pazin, became part of the Hapsburg’s family properties in Istria.
In the middle of the 16th century the owner of the feud was Giorgio Barbo. It is known that his son Daniele was one of the Captains of Uskoci army. In 1614 Venetians occupied and destroyed the Posert’s Castle during that Uskoci war. Daniele Barbo died in 1624 and the feud returned to the Hapsburg family that decided to donate it to Gabriele Zinani or Ginanni.
Soon after Zinani sold the property to Barbo family again and they, in 1688, sold it to Prince Vicardo of Auersperg. In 1685 Prince Auersperg also bought the County of Pazin.
Prince Auersperg never put Belaj under County of Pazin administration but established another new dominion, named Wachsenstein, that was including several towns and villages of Auersperg’s properties in Istria.
From 1701, after the sale of County of Pazin, Castle Belaj became the administrative centre of other Auersperg’s properties in Istria. Auersperg family owned the property until 1945.
It is a beautiful place to visit. You can enjoy the nice architecture of the palace and the quite of its vineyards around the property.