Istrian mines had a great architectural, economic and cultural impact on the Region of Istria. They built Podlabin (Pozzo Littorio / Labin Downtown) and Rasa (Arsia), and strongly affected the structure and characteristic of the (today’s) population.

After closing the last of the six mining pits in the region (Tupljak, 1999), the archives of the Istrian coalmines remained mainly disordered and inaccessible. In 1993, at the request of the NGO “Labin Art Express” (L.A.E), a part of the former Mine infrastructure in Podlabin was protected as the national cultural heritage by the Regional Office for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Rijeka (with amendments in 1999 and 2006).

In 1998 L.A.E. initiated the project “Underground City XXI” - since 2009 supported by the EU (Culture Programme 2007-2013), Region of Istria, Town of Labin, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Tourism – whose integral part is the virtual “Museum of Mining and Industry of Istria” with digitalized museum and archival materials on history of mining in the region that will be continuously upgraded, so that over time virtual museum becomes a model for the realization of the Museum “in situ” – 150m below ground level, in one part of the 8th horizon of the former coal mine, as one of the most attractive contents of the future Underground City XXI.