The Brijuni islands are an archipelago off the west coast of Istria near Pula. The 14 small islands were still part of the main land about 10,000 years ago. Archeological finds prove that the islands were already inhabited in prehistoric times. Like Pula, the Brijuni islands became part of the Roman Empire in 177 AD.
The popularity of the
Brijuni islands in modern times started when the Austrian factory owner
Paul Kupelwieser bought the islands in 1893 for 75,000 guilders and initiated
the development to a sea resort. Hotels were built, grapes were planted, much
of the land was remodelled by gardners, and water and electricity supplies were
set up. The German bacteriologist Robert Koch was called into Brijuni to drain
the swamps in order to eradicate Malaria. By this, the resort became famous
throughout Europe. Probably the most well-known guests from this era were the
German Emperor Wilhelm II and the Austrian successor to the throne Archduke
Franz Ferdinand who met here in 1912. After World War II, the Yugoslav president
Tito made the islands his personal summer residence. During that time, no public
access was possible. Today, the main island of Veli Brijun is open to the public.