Rijeka, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Croatia

Geography | Ancient and Medieval times | Under Habsburg rule | Hungarian Crown | Rijeka's International Carnival | Tourist Industry | Transport | Bus connections | Sport

🇭🇷 Rijeka is the principal seaport and the third-largest city in Croatia (after Zagreb and Split). It is located in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea . Historically, because of its strategic position and its excellent deep-water port, the city was fiercely contested, especially between the Holy Roman Empire, Italy and Croatia, changing rulers and demographics many times over centuries. According to the 2011 census data, the majority of its citizens are Croats, along with small numbers of Serbs, Bosniaks and Italians.

Rijeka is the main city and county seat of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. The city's economy largely depends on shipbuilding (shipyards "3. Maj" and "Viktor Lenac Shipyard") and maritime transport. Rijeka hosts the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc, first built in 1765, as well as the University of Rijeka, founded in 1973 but with roots dating back to 1632 and the local Jesuit School of Theology.

Apart from Croatian and Italian, linguistically the city is home to its own unique dialect of the Venetian language, Fiuman, with an estimated 20,000 speakers among the autochthonous Italians, Croats and other minorities. Historically Fiuman served as the main lingua franca among the many ethnicities inhabiting the multi-ethnic port city. In certain suburbs of the modern extended municipality the autochthonous population still speaks Chakavian, a dialect of Croatian.

In 2016, Rijeka was selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2020, alongside Galway, Ireland.


Geography Rijeka is located in western Croatia, 131 km (81 miles) south-west of the capital, Zagreb, on the coast of Kvarner Gulf, in the northern part of the Adriatic Sea. Geographically, Rijeka is roughly equidistant from Milan (485 km), Budapest (502 km, Munich (516 km), Vienna (516 km) and Belgrade (550 km). Other major regional centres such as Trieste (76 km), Venice (240 km) and Ljubljana (115 km) are all relatively close and easily accessible. The Bay of Rijeka, which is bordered by Vela Vrata (between Istria and the island of Cres), Srednja Vrata (between Cres and Krk Island) and Mala Vrata (between Krk and the mainland) is connected to the Kvarner Gulf and is deep enough (about fifty metres or 160 feet) to accommodate large commercial ships. The City of Rijeka lies at the mouth of the river Rječina and in the Vinodol micro-region of the Croatian coast. From three sides Rijeka is surrounded by mountains. To the west, the 1,396-metre (4,580 ft) Učka range is prominent. To the north/north-east there are the Snežnik plateau and the 1,528 m (5,013 ft) Risnjak massif with the national park. To the east/south-east there is the 1,533-metre (5,030 ft) Velika Kapela range. This type of terrain configuration prevented Rijeka from developing further inland (to the north) and the city mostly lies on a long and relatively narrow strip along the coast. Two important inland transport routes start in Rijeka. The first route runs north-east to the Pannonian Basin. This route takes advantage of Rijeka's location close to the point where the Dinaric Alps are the narrowest (about fifty km or 31 miles) and easiest to traverse, making it the optimal route from the Hungarian plain to the sea. It also makes Rijeka the natural harbour for the Pannonian Basin (especially Hungary). The other route runs north-west across the Postojna Gate connecting Rijeka with Slovenia and further through the Ljubljana Gap with Austria and beyond. A third more coastal route runs east-west connecting Rijeka (and—by extension—the Adriatic coastal cities to the south) with Trieste and northern Italy.


Ancient and Medieval times Though traces of Neolithic settlements can be found in the region, the earliest modern settlements on the site were Celtic Tharsatica (modern Trsat, now part of Rijeka) on the hill, and the tribe of mariners, the Liburni, in the natural harbour below. The city long retained its dual character. Rijeka was first mentioned in the 1st century AD by Pliny the Elder as Tarsatica in his Natural History (iii.140). Rijeka (Tarsatica) is again mentioned around AD 150 by the Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy in his Geography when describing the "Location of Illyria or Liburnia, and of Dalmatia" (Fifth Map of Europe). In the time of Augustus, the Romans rebuilt Tarsatica as a municipium Flumen (MacMullen 2000), situated on the right bank of the small river Rječina (whose name means "the big river"). It became a city within the Roman Province of Dalmatia until the 6th century. In this period the city is part of the Liburnia limes (system of walls and fortifications against raiding Barbarians). Remains of these walls are still visible in some places today.

After the 4th century Rijeka was rededicated to St. Vitus, the city's patron saint, as Terra Fluminis sancti Sancti Viti or in German Sankt Veit am Pflaum. From the 5th century onwards, the town was ruled successively by the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines, the Lombards, and the Avars. The city was burned down in 452 by the troops of Attila the Hun as part of their Aquileia campaign. Croats settled the city starting in the 7th century giving it the Croatian name, Rika svetoga Vida ("the river of Saint Vitus"). At the time, Rijeka was a feudal stronghold surrounded by a wall. At the centre of the city, its highest point, was a fortress.

In 799 Rijeka was attacked by the Frankish troops of Charlemagne. Their Siege of Trsat was at first repulsed, during which the Frankish commander Duke Eric of Friuli was killed. However, the Frankish forces finally occupied and devastated the castle, while the Duchy of Croatia passed under the overlordship of the Carolingian Empire. From about 925, the town was part of the Kingdom of Croatia, from 1102 in personal union with Hungary. Trsat Castle and the town was rebuilt under the rule of the House of Frankopan. In 1288 the Rijeka citizens signed the Law codex of Vinodol, one of the oldest codes of law in Europe.

In the period from about 1300 to 1466 Rijeka was ruled by a number of noble families, the most prominent of which was the German Walsee family. Rijeka even rivalled Venice when in it was sold by Rambert II Walsee to the Habsburg emperor Frederick III, Archduke of Austria in 1466. It would remain under Austrian Habsburg rule for over 450 years (except for a brief period of French rule between 1809 and 1813) until the end of World War I in 1918 when it was occupied by Croatian and subsequently by Italian irregulars.


Under Habsburg rule Austrian presence on the Adriatic Sea was seen as a threat by the Republic of Venice and during the War of the League of Cambrai the Venetians raided and devastated the city with great loss of life in 1508 and again in 1509. The city did however recover and remain under Austrian rule. For its fierce resistance to the Venetians it will receive the title of the "most loyal city" ("fidelissimum oppidium") as well as commercial privileges from the Austrian emperor Maximilian I in 1515. While Ottoman forces attacked the town several times, they never occupied it. From the 16th century onwards, Rijeka's present Renaissance and Baroque style started to take shape. Emperor Charles VI declared the Port of Rijeka a free port (together with the Port of Trieste) in 1719 and had the trade route to Vienna expanded in 1725.

On November 28, 1750 Rijeka was hit by a large earthquake. The devastation was so widespread that the city had to be almost completely rebuilt. In 1753, the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa approved the funding for rebuilding Rijeka as a "new city" ("Civitas nova"). The rebuilt Rijeka was significantly different - it was transformed from a small medieval walled town into a larger commercial and maritime city centered around its port.

By order of Maria Theresa in 1779, the city was annexed to the Kingdom of Hungary and governed as corpus separatum directly from Budapest by an appointed governor, as Hungary's only international port. From 1804, Rijeka was part of the Austrian Empire (Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia after the Compromise of 1867), in the Croatia-Slavonia province.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Rijeka was briefly captured by the French Empire and included in the Illyrian Provinces. During the French rule, between 1809 and 1813, the critically important Louisiana road was completed (named after Napoleon's wife Marie Louise). The road was the shortest route from Rijeka to the interior (Karlovac) and gave a strong impulse to the development of Rijeka's port. In 1813 the French rule came to an end when Rijeka was first bombarded by the Royal Navy and later re-captured by the Austrians under the command of the Irish general Laval Nugent von Westmeath. The British bombardment has an interesting side story. The city was apparently saved from annihilation by a young lady named Karolina Belinić who - amid the chaos and destruction of the bombardment - went to the English fleet commander and convinced him that further bombardment of the city was unnecessary (the small French garrison was quickly defeated and left the city). The legend of Karolina is warmly remembered by the population even today. She became a folk hero Karolina Riječka (Caroline of Rijeka) and has been celebrated in plays, movies and even in a rock opera.

In the early 19th century, the most prominent economical and cultural leader of the city was Andrija Ljudevit Adamić. Fiume also had a significant naval base, and in the mid 19th century it became the site of the Austro-Hungarian Naval Academy (K.u.K. Marine-Akademie), where the Austro-Hungarian Navy trained its officers.


Hungarian Crown During the Hungarian revolution of 1848, when Hungary tried to gain independence from Austria, Rijeka was captured by the Croatian troops (loyal to Austria) commanded by Ban Josip Jelačić. The city was then annexed directly to Croatia, although it did keep a degree of autonomy.


Rijeka's International Carnival The Rijeka Carnival (Croatian: Riječki karneval) is held each year before Lent (between late January and early March) in Rijeka, Croatia. Established in 1982, it has become the biggest carnival in Croatia. Every year there are numerous events preceding the carnival itself. First the mayor of Rijeka gives the symbolic key of the city to Meštar Toni, who is "the maestro" of the carnival, and he becomes the mayor of the city during the carnival, although this is only figuratively. Same day, there is an election of the carnival queen. As all the cities around Rijeka have their own events during the carnival time, Queen and Meštar Toni are attending most of them.

Also, every year the Carnival charity ball is held in the Governor's palace in Rijeka. It is attended by politicians, people from sport and media life, as well as a number of ambassadors.

The weekend before the main event there are two other events held. One is Rally Paris–Bakar (after the Dakar Rally). The start is a part of Rijeka called Paris after the restaurant located there, and the end is in city of Bakar, located about 20 km (12 miles) south-east. All of the participants of the rally wear masks, and the cars are mostly modified old cars. The other event is the children's carnival, held, like the main one, on Rijeka's main walkway Korzo. The groups that participate are mostly from kindergartens and elementary schools, including groups from other parts of Croatia and neighboring countries. In 1982 there were only three masked groups on Rijeka's main walkway Korzo. In recent years, the international carnival has attracted around 15,000 participants from all over the world organized in over 200 carnival groups, with crowds of over 100,000.


Tourist Industry • Tvornica "Torpedo" (the Torpedo factory). The first European prototypes of a self-propelled torpedo, created by Giovanni Luppis, a retired naval engineer from Rijeka. The remains of this factory still exist, including a well-preserved launch ramp used for testing self-propelled torpedoes on which in 1866 the first torpedo was tested. • The Croatian National Theatre building. Officially opened in October 1885, the grand theatre building includes work by the famous Venetian sculptor August Benvenuti and ceiling artist Franz Matsch, who collaborated with Ernst and Gustav Klimt. • Svetište Majke Božje Trsatske – the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Trsat. Built 135 m (443 ft) above sea level on the Trsat hill during the late Middle Ages, it represents the Guardian of Travellers, especially seamen, who bring offerings to her so she will guard them or help them in time of trouble or illness. It is home to the Gothic sculpture of the Madonna of Slunj and to works by the Baroque painter C. Tasce. • Trsat Castle, a 13th-century fortress, which offers magnificent vistas from its bastions and ramparts, looking down the Rječina river valley to the docks and the Kvarner Gulf. • Petar Kružić staircase (or Trsat stairway), which links downtown Rijeka to Trsat. The stairway consists of 561 stone steps and was built for the pilgrims as the way to reach the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Trsat. • Old gate or Roman arch. At first it was thought that this was a Roman Triumphal Arch built by the Roman Emperor Claudius Gothicus but later it was discovered to be just a portal to the pretorium, the army command in late antiquity. • Rijeka Cathedral, dedicated to St. Vitus. • Palace Modello designed by Buro Fellner & Helmer and built in 1885. • Stadion Kantrida, was included on CNN's list of the world's most iconic and unusual football stadiums in 2011. • Art installation "Masters", a site-specific art installation by Czech artist Pavel Mrkus was permanently placed beneath the high ceiling vault on the inner balconies of Rijeka's fish market. The installation consists of a video segment - a projection of Mrkus's video recorded on the DIMI fishing trawler while fishing in the Kvarnerić waters – and it is accompanied by an audio segment of the sounds of the sea and a fishing boat that can only be heard in the fish market gallery. It is a story that pays homage to those who are never seen here, but without whom there would be no fish on the tables. • Art installation "Balthazartown Beach", a site-specific art installation found its place on the Grčevo beach, more commonly known as Pajol or Šestica, located at the very end of Pećine near the Viktor Lenac Shipyard. Under the mentorship of artist Igor Eškinja, students of the Academy of Applied Arts of the University of Rijeka designed a steel sculpture that changes the observer's experience of the environment and they created 15 inscriptions on a concrete plateau that encourage everyone to play and are visible only when in contact with water. The artistic process is inspired by the theme of Professor Balthazar, the world-famous and award-winning animated series, in which the scenographer used Rijeka as the primary inspiration in the creation of Balthazartown.


Transport The Port of Rijeka is the largest port in Croatia, with a cargo throughput in 2017 of 12.6 million tonnes, mostly crude oil and refined petroleum products, general cargo and bulk cargo, and 260,337 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). The port is managed by the Port of Rijeka Authority. The first record of a port in Rijeka date back to 1281, and in 1719, the Port of Rijeka was granted a charter as a free port. There are ferry connections between Rijeka and the surrounding islands and cities, but no direct international passenger ship connections. There are coastal lines to Split and onward to Dubrovnik, which operate twice weekly and have international connections.

The city is difficult to get to by air outside of the tourist season. The city's own international airport, Rijeka Airport is located on the nearby island of Krk across the tolled Krk Bridge. Buses, with a journey time of approximately 45 minutes, operate from Rijeka city centre and nearby Opatija, with a schedule based on the planned arrival and departure times of flights. Handling 200,841 passengers in 2019, the facility is more of a charter airport than a serious transport hub, although various scheduled airlines have begun to service it with a comparatively large number of flights coming from airports in Germany. Most of these flights only operate during the tourist season between approximately May and October. Alternative nearby airports include Pula (around 90 minutes drive from Rijeka), Trieste (around 90 minutes), Ljubljana (around 2 hours), Zagreb (around 2 hours) and Venice (around 3 hours).

Rijeka has efficient road connections to other parts of Croatia and neighbouring countries. The A6 motorway connects Rijeka to Zagreb via the A1, while the A7 motorway, completed in 2004, links Rijeka with Ljubljana, Slovenia, via Ilirska Bistrica and with Trieste, Italy. The A7 acts as the Rijeka bypass motorway and facilitates access to the A8 motorway of the Istrian Y network starting with the Učka Tunnel, and linking Rijeka with Istria. As of August 2011, the bypass is being extended eastwards to the Krk Bridge area and new feeder roads are under construction.

Rijeka is integrated into the Croatian railway network and international rail lines. A fully electrified railway connects Rijeka to Zagreb and beyond towards Koprivnica and the Hungarian border as part of Pan-European corridor Vb. Rijeka is also connected to Trieste and Ljubljana by a separate electrified line that extends northwards from the city. Rijeka has direct connections by daily/night trains to Prague, München, Salzburg, Ljubljana, Bratislava and Brno. Construction of a new high performance railway between Rijeka and Zagreb, extending to Budapest is planned, as well as rail links connecting Rijeka to the island of Krk and between Rijeka and Pula.


Bus connections Rijeka Bus Station is connected by regular bus lines with all major Croatian cities such as Zagreb, Osijek, Slavonski Brod, Đakovo, Nova Gradiška, Požega, Vukovar, Gospić, Karlovac, Zadar, Šibenik, Split, Makarska and Dubrovnik. Departures are frequent in the direction of Istria, the islands of Cres, Lošinj, Krk, Rab and Pag and the towns around Crikvenica, Novi Vinodolski and Senj. From international lines, there are regular departures in the direction of Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

KD Autotrolej d.o.o. is a carrier of passengers in the area of the City of Rijeka and cities / towns in the suburbs (the so-called Rijeka ring).


Sport The history of Rijeka's organised sports started between 1885 and 1888 with the foundation of the Club Alpino Fiumano in 1885, the Young American Cycle Club in 1887 (the first club of this American league to be founded in a foreign land), and the Nautico Sport Club Quarnero in 1888 by the Hungarian minority of the city. Even earlier, in 1873, following the initiative by Robert Whitehead, the first football match to be disputed in today's Republic of Croatia territory was played in Rijeka: the Hungarian Railways team and the English engineers-led team of the Stabilimento Tecnico di Fiume (later Torpedo Factory of Fiume). The first football club in Fiume was founded under the name of Fiumei Atletikai Club.

Today, HNK Rijeka are the city's main football team. They compete in the Croatian First Football League and were the champions of Croatia in 2016–17. Until July 2015, HNK Rijeka were based at the iconic Stadion Kantrida. With Kantrida awaiting reconstruction, they are based at the newly built Stadion Rujevica, their temporary home ground located in the club's new training camp. Additionally, HNK Orijent 1919 are based in Sušak and play in the Croatian Second Football League.

Rijeka's other notable sports clubs include RK Zamet and ŽRK Zamet (handball), VK Primorje EB (water polo), KK Kvarner (basketball) and ŽOK Rijeka (women's volleyball).

Rijeka hosted the 2008 European Short Course Swimming Championships. In its more than 80 years of history, LEN had never seen so many records set as the number of them set at Bazeni Kantrida (Kantrida Swimming Complex). A total of 14 European records were set of which 10 world records and even 7 world-best times. This championship also presented a record in the number of participating countries. There were more than 600 top athletes, from some 50 European countries. Swimmers from 21 nations won medals and 40 of the 51 national member Federations of LEN were present in Rijeka.

Image: Adobe Stock xbrchx #167475217

Rijeka was ranked #177 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Rijeka has a population of over 128,624 people. Rijeka also forms the centre of the wider Primorje-Gorski Kotar County which has a population of over 296,195 people. Rijeka is ranked #438 for startups with a score of 0.462.

To set up a UBI Lab for Rijeka see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Rijeka has links with:

🇲🇰 Bitola, North Macedonia 🇧🇬 Burgas, Bulgaria 🇮🇹 Caltagirone, Italy 🇲🇪 Cetinje, Montenegro 🇭🇺 Csepel, Hungary 🇨🇳 Dalian, China 🇮🇹 Este, Italy 🇮🇹 Faenza, Italy 🇮🇹 Genoa, Italy 🇩🇪 Hamburg, Germany 🇮🇹 Imola, Italy 🇷🇺 Irkutsk, Russia 🇩🇪 Karlsruhe, Germany 🇯🇵 Kawasaki, Japan 🇸🇮 Ljubljana, Slovenia 🇩🇪 Neuss, Germany 🇨🇳 Ningbo, China 🇷🇸 Novi Sad, Serbia 🇨🇳 Qingdao, China 🇮🇹 Rome, Italy 🇩🇪 Rostock, Germany 🇮🇹 Trieste, Italy 🇺🇦 Yalta, Ukraine
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license | Nomad | StartupBlink

Antipodal to Rijeka is: -165.559,-45.327

Locations Near: Rijeka 14.441,45.3269

🇸🇮 Postojna 14.214,45.776 d: 53  

🇭🇷 Pazin 13.914,45.229 d: 42.6  

🇸🇮 Koper 13.733,45.55 d: 60.5  

🇮🇹 Trieste 13.767,45.651 d: 63.7  

🇸🇮 Ljubljana 14.523,46.07 d: 82.9  

🇭🇷 Pula 13.841,44.87 d: 69.3  

🇸🇮 Novo Mesto 15.166,45.8 d: 77.1  

🇸🇮 Kranj 14.367,46.233 d: 101  

🇸🇮 Nova Gorica 13.633,45.95 d: 93.5  

🇮🇹 Gorizia 13.617,45.933 d: 93  

Antipodal to: Rijeka -165.559,-45.327

🇹🇴 Nuku'alofa -175.216,-21.136 d: 17184.2  

🇦🇸 Pago Pago -170.701,-14.279 d: 16529  

🇵🇫 Papeete -149.566,-17.537 d: 16587.3  

🇼🇸 Apia -171.76,-13.833 d: 16464.7  

🇺🇸 Hilo -155.089,19.725 d: 12704.4  

🇺🇸 Maui -156.446,20.72 d: 12613.2  

🇺🇸 Maui County -156.617,20.868 d: 12599.1  

🇺🇸 Wailuku -156.505,20.894 d: 12594.8  

🇺🇸 Kahului -156.466,20.891 d: 12594.6  

🇺🇸 Honolulu -157.85,21.3 d: 12565.5  

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