Kažuni, komarde, bunje, cemeri, hiske, koca or trullo - Traditional stone-built field huts, Kažuni are found in Istria, and were once used as a storehouse for tools, to provide shelter in bad weather or for a rest when working in the fields planting or harvesting. Its miniature model makes a charming souvenir.
Kažun (pronounced: kazhoon) is a little stone shelter (or house) found in many Istrian fields. People used it for keeping water, food and tools, while they were working in the fields. It was also a shelter in case of a sudden rainstorm, or from the fierce heat of the day and even just for afternoon siestas. If workers hadn't finished what they wanted to do by the end of the day, they often slept the night in the kažun. It is usually a rounded shape with a conical roof and is constructed from local stone without the need for mortar. A real skill. The Kazun’s simplicity and aesthetic proportions are remarkable and well worth seeing. Today you can take home a model to decorate your house or garden.
The kažun and similar structures are stone shelters. They provide temporary protection for men and animals and storage space for tools. Thus the kažun is both a utility outbuilding and a place of refuge.
The name of the structure is kažun in Istria/Croatia; kutja in Karst/Slovenia; crot, scele, gaziere, nevere or eishaus in the Alps/Switzerland; trullo in the south of Italy; girna in Malta, la borie in Provence/France; la cabanne in Languedoc/France, barraque de vinyes in Catalunya/Spain; clochan, beehive hut in Ireland; beehive huts in England and in Scotland/GB.
The history of its development shows that such structures were originally dwelling places of the earliest peoples; only later would they become temporary shelters, and generally they have remained such until today.
The structures, as physical objects, are not of great age. It is the idea that goes back to earliest times. The kažuns are built according to traditional methods, i.e. with the help of a circle, a square and its diagonal; these are the most frequently occurring elements. In proportioning, the square root of 2 is used for the ground plan, and sections of a circle for the cross section.
The form, i.e. the ground plan, of the kažun varies from circular to rectangular. Its roof is domed, built of small stones and large stone blocks, and sometimes scattered with sand.
The aesthetics of a building depend on the combination of structure and function, i.e. the simplest principle of landscape planning (landscape planning, in fact, is architecture).
The method of building: They can be free standing, but usually they are built to adjoin existing stone walls, where one or even two of these walls can function as a roof.
The kažun is certainly the most elaborate type of stone shelter. There are no strict rules for building, or constant proportions, but the use of a square, its diagonal, and its side fractioned by the square root of 2 are the key, and constant, traditional elements on which the kažun is built.
The kažun in Europe represents the most advanced level of landscape planning with its precise construction and the consistency of the building method employed. This combination results in a harmonious and aesthetically outstanding building, which fits perfectly into the surroundings.