This paper explores the processes of imagining the nation and the construction of identity in the competing narratives of the Istrian history; space and culture as the key references of identities derived from the transcultural contact zone at the crossroads of the Mediterranean; Central Europe and Balkans. We will demonstrate how the intellectual elites of this liminal borderland made a use of culture for the nation- and region- building. Our research will be focused on the articulation of the regional cultural identity; narrated in the work of the Istrian polyhistor Mijo Mirkovic (1898-1963); who used the elements of traditional culture to (re)construct the local identity; seriously endangered in the period of fascism. His work also provides a model for understanding the transition from the pre-industrial oral culture into an unstable modernity which seized Istria in the most barbarous of manners employing the imperial and colonizing trespassing practice; the untypical ideological blend of a mass consumer culture and aggressive interventions of totalitarian ideologies into identity. We will also explore contemporary models of creative use of culture in creation of regional and a common European cultural identity.