Premantura old tower “Turanj”

The Premantura old tower (Turanj) compared to other towers in Istria is atypical. It seems that from the beginning of construction were known that the tower will not only serve the needs of the church – ringing. Floor plan of the tower is square and the outer wall of the east – west and the outer wall of the north – south lengths were 5.06 meters. Interior dimensions of the bottom are not the same and are as follows: 2.91m east-west and north – south 2.8m. Wall thickness at the bottom is  1.13 m. The height of the tower to the last cornice (without the upgraded cabin) is 27m. At fist glance is possible to notest that the tower was built in at least four stages, from stone blocks, but processing quality rock is significantly different. The first layer was handled very easily. The stone blocks are smaller and unequal in size. At each stage of construction, in addition to processing fineness stone surfaces and edges remodeled into a larger stones.

From the third, last wreath, a tower has an octagonal shape. This part of the tower is made of large, uniform blocks of stone: stone is finely processed and at the edges, so as to be observable size of each block. On the upper edge of the wide octagon, were carved the lines of magnetic rose and labeled in eight directions, ie, every 45 degrees.

It is believed that a better stone processing contributed to the decision of the state to financially support the building, and it was undoubtedly influenced by the quality of treatment and coming of the professional stonemasons. They become producing stone blocks at a pre-ordered dimensions in the site of Runjačica (part of Premantura).

 

Premantura old tower “Turanj”

The church bells are situated in the area which is under the level of the second crown. It used to be more bells, but remained only one. “The Big Bell” height is 130 cm from the rim and the lower rim is 127 cm. Infact the dimesions and the size of the bell, saved itself from destruction. At the stage when Italy wanted to raise their arms, and in the absence of raw materials, they started the search for all possible metals in their area. And while the smaller bells disappeared, great Premantura´s bell remained intact – they couldt get it out through the existing openings. In the southern opening, on the south wall it can be seen carved extension that is supposed to extract thebell. Why it was not accomplished, its not know. Premantura bell was cast in the foundry “Premiata fondaria Campina – dadda Fran & Figli – pusero in crema”. In the bottom corner is printed the year of making: MCMXIX. Above the lower ring, was inprint the overflow motives of the crucified Christ, Madonna and other saintly figures. On the bell was the inscription, freely translated: “I was a bell, then I become a cannon, now I have become again the bell.”

The clock is situated beneath the floor of the room where the bell is. While the clock maintained, it was correct driven by the kinetic energy of the stone weights. The weights in the form of pear are lifted up manually to a height by winding through the gears and rollers. The clock was situated just on one side of the tower, the one from which the people entered in Premantura from the city. To prevent possible accidents, decline of heavy stone ballswas mounted at a height of 3.5m from the floor with set of sloping wooden beams. “Korda” – ropes to tow tones are passed between these beams. Today there are no beams, no weights and traction bells is powered by electricity.

From the beginning, the tower was intended for military purposes, and the ceiling above the bells was a specialized military place. It was the time of  the absence of wireless communications. From the tower it was possible to communicate with ships that sailed to the Kvarner or toward the harbor of Pula. It was used exclusively visual signaling as well as light: the sun by day, by night a petroleium lamp – using the Morse code.  A small hand-held flags were used for signaling and every hand position had a specific meaning. Each flag represented a letter or number. For this purpose, on the tower there was always mounted a binocular on a fixed pedestal.

For communicating with the a flags, there was used a high mast. In the first one it was a very tall wooden mast which in the lower part was fixed on the outer edge of the penultimate wreath. The mast was secured by a clamping ring. In order to withstand a strong gust of wind, especially the Bura, the mast was fixed using three ropes to the ground. For support, there were three large, wrought rings attached in the stone on village square. One ring is still visible on the north side of the church. The second ring is situated on the road, along the wall of the courtyard of the school. The third ring was located on the west side of the square, but it was removed later.

The wooden mast was later replaced by a steel mast  that was set on the middle the upper tower plateau. Along the bottom edge of the third wreath was plated a steel beams in U-profile: one on the east side of the tower and west side of the Premantura tower. At the top of the mast there was a round calotte and a lightning rod. The entire steel construction was removed in the 1984th year due to the poor condition which was representing a danger of collapsing.

Premantura old tower Turanj

Premantura old tower Turanj

Photo credits: Bojan Širola, Travelpremantura

Address

Address:

Centar, 52203 Premantura

GPS:

44.801582, 13.909678

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