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The Venetian-inspired streets of Rovinj with its Croatian coastal touch is definitely one of the best places to pop the question and chill out at the beach. Along with Rovinj’s stunning outward appearance, the town has its own set of stories that give it a strong inner foundation.

If you know anything about Rovinj, you’re probably already quite familiar with its main landmark–either through texts or photos like this one. I’m talking about St. Euphemia, the church on the hill that’s seen from nearly any point in Rovinj. The church is now a tourist draw and a popular place to hold weddings but it has long been an important part of the town.

In the year 800, Rovinj’s townspeople stampeded down to the sea with church bells ringing with their every step. At the edge of the shore, they looked out and saw a marble sarcophagus floating the sea. Curious by the sight, the townspeople tried using a horse and ox carriage to pull it out. This did not work. They asked the strongest men to rescue it, and this again did not work.

Then, a saint presented herself to a small boy and said, “I am Euphemia of Chalcedon and I have engaged Jesus with by blood. You will take out the stone ark with your body.”

To the amazement of the crowd, the boy used all his might and pulled the sarcophagus out of the water and up to the church at the top of the hill. There the townspeople opened the case to reveal the motionless body of a beautiful girl. A scroll of parchment paper lay next to her body with these words written on it in Latin, “This is the body of Saint Euphemia, a virgin martyr of Chalcedon born for the heaven on 16 September of the year of our Lord 304. ”

Since then, St. Euphemia has been the celebrated guardian of Rovinj and is remembered every year on September 16th.

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