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petak, 9. veljače 2018.

And The Croatian City To Be A European Capital of Culture In 2020 Will Be...(Drum Roll).....Rijeka

Yep, I know it's still 2 years away and I already covered this topic last year when it was announced, but I added a few extra images and informational tidbits since then, for those readers who might be considering checking out the city of Rijeka in 2020, so here's an updated re-post of things that are good to know so I don't have to type much...

The coastal city of Rijeka was officially designated to represent Croatia as a European Capital of Culture in Europe for 2020. This will give the country and city and region especially a chance to showcase Croatian culture and its local history and culture also to the rest of the continent for a full calendar year.

I might as well quickly do this topic and bring to a conclusion a previous post HERE, plus some extra information and images for the benefit of the reader in case they're not familiar with or have never heard of the city of Rijeka. It's good timing too, because this news happened on the same day that the Serb hero and Serb church saint Radovan Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years for genocide and war crimes. (He won't be showing up to celebrate in Rijeka in 2020 I'm pretty sure, him and his pals will be shoving buttered plastic utensils up their butts instead, which if fine by me and as it should be). Anyway, last year it came down to 9 Croatian cities from which a winner would be chosen from to represent Croatia as a European Capital of Culture in 2020, those nominated cities being Dubrovnik, Đakovo, Osijek, Pula, Rijeka, Split, Varaždin, Zadar and Zagreb. Then shortlisted to Rijeka, Dubrovnik, Osijek and Pula.

I've been to some of the other mentioned cities before during my last few stays in Croatia and it was an awesome ambiance and very enjoyable, and I have a special affinity for Rijeka also because it's a city that I spent most of my time in for 2 whole summers when I was 11 and 12 years old, visiting relatives, eating fresh market shrimp, lobster, crab and making riblji paprikaš for the first time, my first taste of authentic Croatian salamis, paštéta (pates) & sausages (yes there is a difference), my first Karlovačko pivo, my first taste of real authentic homemade Croatian rakija (fruit brandy) and paški sir (Pag cheese), my first Croatian style pizza including šunka pršut, my first time cliff diving and jumping, plenty of beach time, my first time picking and shucking corn, milking a cow and beheading a chicken during some farm time (then watching the cat run out snatching up the chicken head snack and taking off to the barn which was pretty cool) for an authentic yummy farm style fried chicken dinner, first time seeing Trsat Castle, the various historical and other sights (a few other personal pics here). I will just add that I'm sort of glad that Dubrovnik didn't get the candidate city honour, because that city gets enough mention and exposure lately I think. Over the past few years the HBO series "Game of Thrones" has been filming around there, even Bollywood films, a number of other films also and now even Star Wars has been filming there for a few weeks, that's on top of other regular Croatian and local Dubrovnik annual festivals and events (example). That's all fine, but introducing Dubrovnik to the continent as something completely new to experience and learn about is not a high priority I think, the same goes for similar reasons about the capital city Zagreb and Split, I'm pretty sure most of Europe know where Zagreb and Split are also and at least some of their history and current goings on scenes. There's so much more to Croatia than just Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik, a lot more, so I definitely think less well known cities like Rijeka is a better choice for those reasons. Although any of the others would have been ok too, maybe next time.

For instance as a brief synopsis, the city of Rijeka has a long history from even before the town/city didn't exist yet, just mainly the early Trsat stronghold fort, so there are numerous interesting things to see and do and learn about. (Prononunced "Ree-ye-ka" in Croatian and having the meaning of river after the Rječina river which flows into the Adriatic sea through the city of Rijeka). Croatian Duke Višeslav fought an important historical battle at the end of the 8th century near Rijeka's Trsat Castle, (more specifically near today's Trsat neighbourhood and vicinity which is part of Rijeka and the location of ancient Trsat, hence the castle name), from which the later city of Rijeka grew and expanded around, it was a precursor battle and event that eventually directly effected a continuum and expedited soon rising better organized and independent Croatian realms as well as other Dukes, Princes and Kings after him. (Although the Croatian tribes are recorded in sources as arriving to ancient Dalmatia, Illyricum and Pannonia and where we are today from the north in the 6-7th centuries, it wasn't until the late 8th and early 9th century that more efficiently ruled early duchies and military/political organization became more pronounced and evident in historical written records by historians, (the Croats still remained Pagan up to that time), strategically situated between and bordering the Bulgarian/Byzantine empires and the Lombard kingdom/Frankish Carolingian empire, and coincidentally interesting even well before the formation of Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and others btw, ie; early duchies and then an officially recognized kingdom named specifically after our own name including our own Kings, Queens and royal dynasties...just some less well known supplementary information which is pretty interesting, ie: we didn't just pop out of nowhere in the 20th century). Through the centuries its location within the Kvarner Gulf especially made it a very strategic area to control and possess as enemy land forces or ships could be more easily spotted from the hills. Rijeka/Trsat and further Istrian peninsula areas were part of the early Croatian Duchy of Duke Branimir in 879, the Croatian Kingdom during the reign of King Tomislav in 925 and to the time of King Zvonimir in the late 11th century sources record. It was near the crossroads where Croatian culture and historical sphere bordered at first with the Lombard kingdom, then the Frankish Carolingian empire, then later the Venetian empire, later also in conjunction with Austrian and Hungarian political frameworks when the Croatian crown lands were part of the House of Habsburg empire, (even Napoleon occupied the city for a short time in the early 19th century for a few years). Trsat/Rijeka and most of the Istrian peninsula was still a part of the medieval Croatian Kingdom from 925 right up to the time that Croatia joined in a union with Hungary around the year 1100. Rijeka and much of the surrounding area was then administered by powerful Croatian Princes, Counts, Lords and Bans (Viceroys/Governors) and some of them are even buried at Trsat Castle today, most notably Vuk Krsto Frankopan of the House of Frankopan as well as the Croatian Duke, captain, soldier and Defender of Klis and Captain of Senj, Petar Kružić, who were important Croatian nobles and military leaders from medieval and renaissance times along with the House of Zrinski and House of Šubić noble family lines. A number of important defensive battles against marauding eastern invaders in 1241 and Muslim Ottoman, Saracen and Moors naval attacks and kidnapping expeditions were fought and repelled here in the middle ages also, mainly attempting to carry off women and children. (writers at the time called them "battles that saved civilization", so they were important events of not only Croatian history). In the famous medieval Croatian Law Codex of Vinodol from 1288 it was mentioned as the stronghhold of Tarsatica (ie: today's Trsat) and part of the larger Vinodol župa/county, it was in the possession of the Dukes of Krk and especially the Croatian House of Frankopan nobility, in the late 13th century Trsat started to be known in sources as Rijeka with towers, shops and streets. During the 16th and 17th centuries Rijeka came under attack from both Turkish and Venetian forces, and it became a local base for irregular Croatian Habsburg troops known as the Uskoks (in Croatian having a meaning similar to "the Jumpers"). In 1885, when the Croatian crown lands were a part of the Habsburg crown, 45% of sailors and NCOs and 10-15% of naval officers were ethnically Croatian. Between 1857 and 1918 an Austro-Hungarian naval officer academy was located in Rijeka with an NCO training school in Šibenik. As recently as the early 90's the Serb controlled Yugoslav army (which was already just strictly a Serb army by that point) was on alert and prepared to attack the city like in other parts of Croatia, but then they retreated to other areas to continue attacks with Serb church supported and armed irregulars there instead. (during the Serb shelling and attacks on Dubrovnik in 1991/92, it was actually members of Rijeka police units who arrived first greatly contributing to unblocking and the liberation of the city of Dubrovnik and surrounding area in April 1992), so the various medieval Croatian dukes and nobles actually had a large part to play in the Rijeka Carnival existing today. Even the oldest large circulation Croatian language daily newspaper Novi list (literally: "New paper") was published in the city of Rijeka in 1900 and is still publishing today. Basically, that's a very brief synopsis that there's plenty of history and historical things to satisfy anyone's interest, too much to discuss here but you get my point.

(Just one interesting and more recent trivia fact...Did you know that the Rijeka Maritime and History Museum has 1 of only 5 life jackets that survived the sinking of the Titanic and it's the only one found in Europe? Yep, that's practically the making for a star studded and mega-budget Oscar winning blockbuster movie....(enter symphonic piano music intro, sound of a foghorn and ship's bell and seagulls and scene of a floating life jacket on the rolling waves)..."The Life Jacket'... starring Tom Hardy as Percival Stafford the alcoholic anarchist poet and ship's captain, Kate Beckinsale as Monique Flanders the jilted former scat porn actress/florist who's ex-husband left and eloped with the travelling circus trapeze girl, she snuck onto the ship.....looking for love, Keanu Reeves as the martini drinking hitman with a strange accent and scar that he always says is an old army injury from the Spanish-American war, but he doesn't speak or understand a word of Spanish which adds to the suspense, Julie Delpy as Rhonda Lindeman the former school teacher who is now a bar maid and part-time astrologer/palm reader, Matthew McConaughey is the broody and contemplative soccer player who didn't make the cut for Liverpool, he's off to America now instead to try his luck at the baseballing and playing the cards, also co-starring Susan Boyle as Molly the sultry 3rd deck floozy who always makes her patrons feel like a man, and Richard Simmons as the happy go lucky always jovial and dancing cabin boy with a horribly dark secret past. There will be lots of explosions, intrigue, drama, romance, action, mystery, chase scenes, splashing waves and more. Coming soon to theatres near you, check your local listings. Wow, where can I reserve my ticket?)

Sketch of the walled fort town of Rijeka and Trsat Castle overlooking from above in 1689. The local Croatian dialect and official Croatian language name is Rijeka, other versions used through the centuries are Rika and Reka, (as well as in Slovene: Reka, Italian and Hungarian: Fiume, German: Pflaumb. Historically it was also called in other sources and maps: German: Sankt Veit am Flaum or Pflaum, Tarsatica, Vitopolis, or Flumen in Latin. Pliny the Elder writing his Natural History in the 1st century CE mentioned a small hill-fort he called Tarsatica). From the 5th century onwards the town was ruled successively for periods of time by the Ostrogoths, the Lombards, the Carolingian Franks and then the Croats.

Here's an interesting map of the Croatian lands dedicated to Petar Zrinski, Ban (Viceroy/Prince & Governor) of Croatia during the 17th century, and showing the location of Rijeka. The map was created at the workshop of Joannes Blaeu in Amsterdam as an addition to the work by Croatian historian Ivan Lučić, (Latin: Johannes Lucius) "De Regno Dalmatiae et Croatiae libri sex", Amsterdam, 1666. (On the Kingdom of Dalmatia and Croatia in six books) Blaeu had included the map in Atlas Maior in 1667, and dedicated it to the Croatian Ban Petar Zrinski. At the bottom of the map in the middle it reads..."To the most illustrious and noble Lord, Prince Peter of Zrin, the Ban of the united Kingdom of Dalmatia, Croatia and Slavonia, (Triune Kingdom) hereditary Ban of the Littoral, hereditary captain of the Legrad fortress and Medimurje peninsula, master and hereditary Prince of Lika, Odorje, Krbava, Omis, Klis, Skradin, Ostrovica, Bribir etc.., Master of Kostajnica and the sliver mine at Gvozdansko, councillor and chamberlain to his anointed imperial majesty, master Ioannes Blaeu dedicates this map." The map highlights the Croatian lands including its regional divisions and the location of the fort town of Rijeka and surrounding area during the time of Peter Zrinski.

Location of Trsat/Rijeka during the continental political and monarchial map of Europe circa. 9th-12th century. (You'll notice that in the Middle Ages before union with Hungary and the later bogomil and muslim jihads colonialism incursions, as well as other subversives), most of the areas corresponding to today's BiH republic were ethnically and de jure and de facto lawfully Croatian crown lands, with even a local Croatian Ban/Viceroy of the Bosnia area being a representative of and subservient to the Croatian King and monarchy dynasties, look at the absurd Serb-Muslim incursions bullshit mess it became over the last few centuries and especially now).

For those who are into sightseeing various historical fortresses or even just the architecture and art of castles, churches and buildings dating from Medieval Period there's still plenty of them in and around Rijeka also, (and more if travelling around the surrounding Croatian northern Adriatic littoral Kvarner Gulf region). In the 13th century Trsat Castle seen above, replaced an older smaller fort dating to the Croatian Duchy in the 8th century and it's still strategically overlooking the city of Rijeka today. More information at

But these days the modern city of Rijeka is much more than just history or just sitting around downtown cafes or drinking beers at patios reading the Coffee News newspaper about the newest hair salon, tanning salon or burger & fries joint opening up, like many may think. Rijeka is actually a very progressive, hip, artsy and edgy city also. Yes there's Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture and classicist buildings also, centuries old churches and cathedrals, castles and manors, classical arts, opera houses, theatres and museums too, but it's important to know it's also a center of modern arts and artists, musicians and a thriving music scene, modern and alternative art galleries and literary events, it's a Croatian high tech center and urban base for software engineering, information technology (IT) and multimedia, oh and there's fashion designers galore, as well as being an important Croatian port and shipbuilding center and even a Croatian Navy port. (I especially like the gastronomy and foods/drinks related events, there's plenty of good restaurants in Rijeka and a few of them I was able to try out, but there's more than enough fast food places too). Plenty of examples of the modern mixed in with the Old European charm many times side by side, which results in a very interesting and eclectic atmosphere and ambiance.

These days there's the annual Rijeka Carnivalsailing & yachting events, skiing at the nearby Platak Ski Resort, many sports and sporting venues and many other cool things to see and do throughout the year, so Rijeka is a good choice I think in regards to better known Zagreb and Dubrovnik (I also spent two whole summer in Rijeka when I was a kid as well as visited a few times since, and I also have a tattoo I got there last time so that's sort of cool too I think). Another cool thing to know is that the town of Opatija is just on the other side of the Kvarner bay, you can see it when it when looking out towards the sea and it's almost like a suburb of Rijeka. Well, it's not really an actual suburb, but it's just right there like a 10 minute ride down the coast across the bay. That way when you're fed up with the traffic, the shootings and stabbings, botched crack deals, the shit, piss, snot, puke and blood or just the creepazoids and mutants crawling around and just need some R&R, then the Croatian riviera is just right there too. That's good to know also I think.

I should note, there's been problems with televangelists and other religious mind-control gurus and subversive wackos coming to Rijeka over the last few years, even trying to set up shop and spread absurd histories and subversive literature, but luckily Croatian mind control experts and anti-subversive project efforts are making a big difference. Recently a big underground Muslim-rap cartel plan was foiled by the authorities also, there were pitched battles in the streets, explosions and even helicopters flying over the shanty town districts using infrared cameras to locate the imported books and pamphlets. (even some buses were hijacked and passengers abducted then forced to listen to their sermons). All sorts of anti-civilizational fuckos and galavanting subversives are tracked these days to keep Rijeka safe, fashionable, the beer taps flowing, hip and normal, protecting the children from them is even more important than saving the forests and animals (The current Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is from Rijeka after all). You can hit the tags at the bottom for more interesting Rijeka related posts for more information. The city now has 4 years to plan and make it a very interesting year for the city. I'm looking forward to see what kind of projects and events they have planned for down the road in 2020.

Related: one-of-nine-croatian-cities-will-be-euro-cultural-capital

When the night and moon come out is the time downtown Rijeka becomes even more alive and interesting. Everything happens at Rijeka’s main drag the Korzo which is a pleasant relaxing pedestrian stretch lined with café terraces and shops, at some point you’re bound to walk down it passing the classic façades of the Radio Rijeka building and the City Clock Tower.


ZAGREB, March 24 (Xinhua) -- The Croatian city of Rijeka, located in northern coast of the Adriatic, was chosen as one of the two European Capitals of Culture in 2020 on Thursday.

An international panel of cultural experts, including officials from EU institutions and Croatia made the decision after Rijeka and other three Croatian cities, Dubrovnik, Osijek, Pula, presenting their respective programs in this competition.

Trsat Castle overlooking part of downtown Rijeka today, After the political union of the Kingdom of Croatia with Hungary and the Habsburg Monarchy since 1102, the Counts of Krk and one of the leading 12th-17th century Croatian aristocratic high noble families and future Croatian Bans (Viceroys) of Croatia the Frankopans, possessed and expanded the small hilltop fort into Trsat Castle. Among some notable important people buried at Trsat are the Viceroys and Nobles Nikola IV Frankopan, Vuk II Krsto Frankopan Tržački and the Duke Captain and Prince of Klis Petar Kružić. In 1531 Petar Kružić ordered the construction of the locally familiar "Trsat steps", (Croatian: Stube Petra Kružića, ie: Petar Kružić staircase), the stone staircase that leads from the Rijeka street level to the Trsat Castle plateau. (Personal pic)

Rijeka will share the European Capital of Culture 2020 title with an Irish city which will be selected in July 2016. Shortlisted Irish cities are Galway, Limerick and Waterford.

During 2020, as the European Capital of Culture, Rijeka will host a series of cultural events with a strong European dimension.

Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc, a theatre/opera and ballet house built in 1885. More information later.

In 2016, the culture capitals are San Sebastian in Spain and Wroclaw in Poland.

The idea of selecting capitals of culture was proposed in 1985 by former actress Melina Mercouri, who was then Greece’s Minister of Culture, and her French counterpart Jack Lang. They came up with the idea of designating an annual Capital of Culture to bring Europeans closer together by highlighting the richness of European cultures and raising awareness of their common history and values, but also highlighting their diversity and distinct personal histories and cultures.

A scene from one of the many events that take place annually in the summer at Trsat Castle (More images HERE & HERE). It's cool that the Trsat Castle doesn't just sit there as a place to only take pictures, there's patio restaurants and bar and many concerts, reenactments, festivals and events that take place annually.

Trsat Castle again, what better place for a medieval themed puppet show than that? More images HERE.

 A view from Trsat Castle. For those not in the know, today's Trsat Castle is the catalyst and foundation upon which the later city of Rijeka was built upon and expanded around, actually having its roots from the Early Middle Ages when it was a strategic wooden fortification. The Croatian Duke Višeslav in the year 799 defeated Eric of Friuli and his Carolingian army near Trsat which included this area of the modern day city of Rijeka, and the old abandoned fort and surrounding area dating from the former Liburnian Illyrian period and later Roman times was known in written sources as Tarsatica. During the administrative-territorial unit of the Gothic state (Ostrogothic Kingdom circa. 493-553 CE) it was known in sources as "Liburnia Tarsatica", and again still known as Tarsatica during the Croatian Kingdom centuries (925-1102 CE), and later this was to become the newer expanded stone walled castle fortress of Trsat. From the 13th century the Frankopan Princes of Krk erected higher stronger walls and expanded Trsat Castle as part of their Vinodol estates, so that through the following centuries it became part of the holdings of Croatian nobles and dukes especially from the House of Frankopan and House of Zrinski. In the period from the 13th to the 15th century, Trsat and the then growing town of Rijeka below developed into a commercial and maritime center, with manufacturing and shipbuilding especially. In 1438 Rijeka had its first hospital, the first pharmacy in 1440, in 1457 the first school in the Croatian language, up until 1613 the Croatian language is in official and public use, and then as in other Habsburg Monarchy crown territories (and most of the continent at the time) Latin started to increasingly be used for official administrative purposes.

Some cool views of Rijeka using that interesting timelapse perspective. (It looks even better in full screen view)

Rijeka - City in Motion from Goran Razic on Vimeo.

Interesting comments from 2014 about whether the city should even put forward a candidate city bid for 2020, it's a good thing they did.

Waterfront evening scene in March with the Platak ski resort in the background.

Aerial view of bridges over the old canal leading to the city center.

This and that downtown. Image: Alamy

Although some people may have already known about the duchies and Croatian Kingdom from the Middle Ages, some people may be surprised to know that since 1102 the Croatian crown lands were then afterwards also autonomous and politically united with Hungary and the Habsburg empire for over 800 years before the 21st century came around and official independence again. Interestingly, Rijeka never submitted to Venetian occupation except for briefly being governed in 1508, and in 1851 it was still almost entirely a Croatian city with 11,908 Croats from 12,599 inhabitants. Below a view from downtown rooftops.

View from near the main bus station. (Personal pic)

Decorated during the Advent and New Year season every November 27-January 7th.

It's not always sports, art galleries and museums like I said. Rijeka is a hip and edgy progressive modern city also with an eclectic ambiance including various festivities that take place in the city every Lent season, and even in other locations in Croatia. (see also Rijeka Karneval post for more). From late January to early March the city has numerous entertainment and food events, concerts, parades, children's parades, floats, charity masked balls harkening back to local 18th and 19th century aristocratic times, various cultural themed festivals, pageants of all sorts, fireworks, the choosing of the official "Carnival Queen", the Hanging of the Ghastly Ghoul and all culminating in a main grand finale parade with balloons closing out the season and the Rijeka Karneval. The City of Rijeka carnival festivities have origins from the Middle Ages and are a particular blend of European middle-class carnivals with elements of old Croatian folklore and mythology. Official website:

Also besides all the concerts entertainment and parades, every year the Baroque to 19th century era themed Carnival charity ball is held in the former Governor's palace in Rijeka. It is attended by politicians, people from sport and media life, as well as a number of ambassadors. Interestingly the first official evidence of a carnival tradition in this region is in a prohibition document from 1449 – a provision of the City Council that prohibits the covering of the face with a mask (with the exception of guests of the masked ball in Kaštel Trsat), which at that time was severely punished. Over the later centuries the masquerade balls became more popular and frequently attended by Croatian aristocrats, princesses, barons, earls and countesses and even nobles from other parts of the Habsburg Monarchy and of Central Europe, Polish and even Russian aristocracy were known to have attended also. The weeks of colorful showcases, refined taste and dazzling creativity revive the spirit of traditional medieval carnivals which were celebrated both in the streets and in noble palaces. It recalls the historical and allegorical spectacle of the festivities, which were held in Rijeka and the Croatian crown lands during the Middle Ages, similar to the Czech Carnevale Praha/Prague Carnival masked balls and events and some other ones in Europe. But today they also have those knave fools, drummers, magicians and jugglers, just like in the movies. (more pics at the above previous post link)

Behind the scenes views from the 2013 Rijeka Karneval.

Likewise as in the case of other Central European countries today that were formerly part of the Habsburg monarchy and empire for centuries, there are still numerous reminders in buildings and architecture, and because the Croatian crown lands were also the city of Rijeka became particularly important and strategic as Rijeka was the most important major sea port of the empire's navy, nearby Pula was also an important port to a lesser extent. After Napoleon briefly occupied the city between 1809-1813 (including Dalmatian Croatia all the way to Dubrovnik) as part of a new French autonomous province. Created a free port in 1723, Rijeka during the 18th and 19th centuries was passed among the Habsburgs' Austrian, Croatian, and Hungarian possessions. Although Croatia had constitutional autonomy within Hungary, the important and strategic City of Rijeka was independent, governed by an appointed governor as it was Hungary's only accessible international port and main port of the Croatian-Hungarian navy. There was competition between Austria's controlled port of Trieste and the port of Rijeka within the monarchy. In 1885 approximately 45% of sailors and NCOs and 15% of naval officers were ethnically Croatian. Between 1857 and 1918 an Austro-Hungarian naval officer academy was located in Rijeka with an NCO training school in Šibenik. And being a main maritime outlet into the Adriatic sea Rijeka became an important top 5 major port along with Marseilles, Genoa, Naples and Trieste.

Personal pic.

Just a few other interesting historical points of interest I should mention for those unfamiliar, located just steps from the various shops and cafe/bar patios downtown one can also come across late antiquity Roman empire remains here and there. Below is the remains of a wall commonly known in older literature as a "Roman Arch" or "Gate". In Croatian known simply as the "Stara Vrata" (Old Gateway/Door), it is believed to have been built during the reign of Emperor Claudius around 46 CE after defeating local barbarians that were a threat to reach Italy. Roman Empire remains can still be found in various parts of Croatia and in Europe, and likewise not surprisingly in Rijeka also. (this would be when this area was named at times Liburnia or Histria and centuries before the arrival into the area of the Ostrogoths, Lombards, and finally the Croats taking control in the 6th-7th century). This particular arch is believed by archaeologists to have been one of several entrance gates leading into the old imperial Castrum, an entrance doorway used by the Roman Pretorian Guard soldiers into the local garrison camp barracks. A number of historians and archaeologists agree that the Roman Arch and especially other nearby discovered now ruins of this imperial Castrum were probably also used during the time of the early Croatian Prince Višeslav, who after defeating Eric of Friuli in 799 would have then controlled and most likely also camped with his soldiers at the old town Castrum Tarsatica, as well as other later Croatian Princes & Dukes Borna, Vojnomir, Vladislav, Trpimir etc, ie: at today's Trsat-Rijeka, soon after Croatian Kingdom forces would also most probably have used the military camp. And to add even more interesting zany suspense and uniqueness, the archway today is partly attached to the grounds of an old church from the 13th century and a building that's part department store and part Habsburg era town house (a few other views), and this all just steps from the downtown core, good to know.

And another common sight in downtown Rijeka I should highlight is of the old "City Tower" or "Clock Tower", which is also a popular easy to reach local meeting point and seen in many photos of the downtown core. Built originally in the Middle Ages probably on the foundations of the Late Antiquity littoral town gates, the baroque phases of its construction can be seen on the lower part of the front of the Tower, including an imperial coat of arms carved out of stone and a relief of the Holy Roman empire and Habsburg emperors Leopold I and Charles VI. Rijeka paid them special respect due to the maritime orientation they introduced into the state policies of the Imperial court, and because of their absolute abhorrence to the cult of Mohamudanism and the crimes perpetrated by the attacking Islamic Ottomans Serbs empire. (this would be from the Habsburg Croatia centuries, ie: the Kingdom of Croatia (in Kingdom of Hungary-Croatia and in Habsburg Monarchy) and the contemporaneous Croatian–Ottoman wars which were part of the overall Habsburg-Ottoman wars, and even simultaneous Venetian-Ottoman wars, see previous shown map and 1689 Rijeka sketch showing the double-headed eagle coat of arms). The city clock has been situated here since the 17th century and the Rijeka City Coat of Arms is sculptured in high relief below the City Tower’s clock. The Habsburg emperor Leopold I granted the double-headed eagle coat of arms to Rijeka in 1659, which was also similar to the Habsburg Monarchy Imperial double-headed eagle coat of arms design. However interestingly the heads of Rijeka’s double-headed eagle are stylized in a way very unique in heraldic terms and rare as they both look in the same direction. The Rijeka eagle holds an urn in its claws from which an inexhaustible supply of water is running and is supposed to symbolize the infinite loyalty of the city in defending against any eastern intruders or invasions from the sea, as well as symbolizing the very Rječina river that flows into the Adriatic sea at Rijeka and from which the city of Rijeka gets its name. (This “inexhaustibility" is bolstered by the motto INDEFICIENTER (inexhaustible, unfailing) carved out in Latin). The sculpture of Rijeka’s double-headed eagle was situated on top of the tower’s turret for 247 years until the late 19th century, but an exact replica was placed atop the dome of the City Tower again on 19th April 2017. Classically trained sculptor Hrvoje Uremović modelled it in accordance with the guidelines of the Conservation Department in Rijeka and the existing archive materials and it is a carbon copy replica of the historic sculpture. It was made at the Art Foundry of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and is made of aluminium and weighs approximately 270 kg. It is 255 cm tall and has a wingspan of 3 meters positioned at a height of 30 meters). Along the sides of the tower, early classical palaces were built as annexes, construction commencing at the end of the 18th century. In the passage by the tower that leads to Rijeka’s Old Town, the passage once represented the main door of the fortified town and was locked at night with guards, there are memorial inscriptions and a medieval gothic master-stonemason’s complete signature has been preserved. (I told you that Rijeka and Croatia have a very interesting history, and I didn't even get into the ghosts, haunted places and the unexplained paranormal phenomena)

Evening reverse view through the gate entrance. Image:

Another interesting tidbit I should mention is the location for the discovery of the historic Baška tablet, as well as an early carved in stone representation of the Croatian Coat of Arms. (this will interest history and Croatian history buffs especially, and because there's lots of hot women archaeologists who are into this kind of stuff when not digging up bones, corpses, swords and artifacts, not all archaeologists are bow tie wearing octogenarians with thick glasses, it's true). Although not located within the city of Rijeka it's found on the easily accessible island of Krk a mere 10 km away. The now famous Baška tablet was discovered only by accident in 1851 but is quite possibly the most important early Croatian carved in stone monument. (The stone tablet is called "the jewel of the Croatian language" and "the baptismal certificate" of Croatian literary culture, this is because the Baška tablet is the oldest carved in stone instance of a dialect of the Croatian language being written in the first ever Croatian Glagolitic script, instead of the continental lingua franca of Latin being used through the centuries up to that time for official functions in western and central Europe, and just before the soon appearing early Latin script Croatian alphabet examples). The white limestone slab that is 2 meters wide by 1 meter high and weighs about 800 kilograms was discovered by total chance in 1851 in the Church of St. Lucy Jurandvor near Baška on the island of Krk, the references to Croatian King Zvonimir (reigned 1075-1089) donating some land and carved into the stone tablet are especially a permanently preserved important testament to his reign of the Croatian Kingdom and supported by other sources, the highlighted translated quoted part reads: "...concerning the land which "Zvonimir, the Croatian King", gave in his days...". The church is dated to sometime in the 1080's to 1100, and the prominent carved in stone checkered design on the outside corner of the building is a version of the Croatian CoA. (although it is believed to have been put on the corner last from the remains of an older unknown building. Historic tradition states that it was also used as the official royal arms of King Stephen Držislav in the 10th century and the Princes/Dukes Vojnomir, Višeslav, Vladislav, Ljudevit, Trpimir, Braslav, Branimir and Muncinir between 795-910, as well as the first Croatian King Tomislav in 925). King Zvonimir's reign is characterized as relatively peaceful, with no extensive war campaigns, he focused instead on Croatia's economic and cultural development, he was also the last native king who exerted full authority and power over the entire Croatian state, which he inherited at its height and ruled from the city of Knin. After his premature death and the following succession crisis amid the political turmoils on the continent in the 1090's, the remaining still powerful Croatian Dukes, Princes and Nobles in agreement after discussions eventually voted in 1102 to voluntarily join the Croatian Kingdom into a political union with the Kingdom of Hungary and the Habsburg Monarchy, while preserving their rights, privileges and the historic Croatian crown lands political autonomy and administration it lasted continuously over 800 years into the 20th century. (Rijeka at that time was still a small fort location known as Trsat/Tarsatica) *Interestingly and intriguing, over 400 years later during another succession crisis in 1527, when the most powerful Croatian Dukes and Nobles convened the historic Parliament of Cetin (Cetinski Sabor) and confirmed the Kingdom of Croatia joining the Habsburg Monarchy and the continued fight against the Ottoman Serb jihads from their eastern stronghold headquarters Belgrade in the Sanjak of Smederevo, the official Cetingrad Charter signed by them bears a seal in the middle with the exact same chequered state seal representing the entire Kingdom of Croatia as seen on this very building, (the earliest so far representation of the chequy within a shield is from a carved marble relief associated with King Peter Krešimir IV circa. 1058), the Cetingrad Charter is also among the most important historical documents confirming the continuous ancient Croatian statehood and rights and the special political status of the Croatian Kingdom, parliament and high nobility to self-regulate the major state issues freely and independently*, that's pretty cool.

Back to today, in and around Rijeka one can still find Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque era architecture and classicist buildings, along with the later art nouveau and art deco here and there. Also of course including quite a number of nearby cool museums and galleries to explore. (Personal pic)

Downtown you'll come across many different architectural styles from the past and in various colours also, all making for an interesting time while shopping or sipping your coffee or beers, filling your pie-hole etc. I should note that there really are no proletarians or Marxist-Leninist Bolsheviks to be seen either, because especially after the Enlightenment everybody is actually bourgeois, haute bourgeoisie/petite bourgeoisie and Bohemian no matter what their job is or beer/coffee joint they're at. (Personal pic)

 A better close up view of the facade, you'll come across lots of cool looking and artistic building facades while travelling around Rijeka.

If staying a few days and planning on trying out cooking some seafood dishes, just like the other coastal Croatian towns and cities you can go to the modern grocery stores, but you'll probably want to go here first for the very freshest stuff. The downtown Rijeka produce markets district with their Art Nouveau steel lattice and glass construction buildings and aquatic sculptures decorated facades are a cool backdrop while hunting for the best and freshest deals, outside you can go to the meat market building or get your fruits and vegetables, breads and other things but inside the fish market you'll find the freshest catches of the day...shrimp, crab, lobsters, oysters, mussels and dozens of different kinds of fish and seafood direct from the Adriatic sea. (the chances are that whatever you bought was obliviously swimming in the sea just a few hours ago)

The shopping complex right in the middle of the main street downtown is sort of a familiar and easily accessbile local meeting point. "Oh OK, I'll meet you in front of the Robna Kuća around 10". (In Croatian "Robna Kuća" means sort of like department store/shopping center, good to know in your vocabulary so you don't get lost - Personal pic)

should also quickly mention just so there's no confusion, yes there are modern shopping centers in Rijeka also, (for those who really need their mall time fix, no worries). A convenient one is the Tower Centar Rijeka seen below which is only about one kilometre from the city centre, with almost 200 stores and shops on 5 floors, cafes/restaurants, all the major and many European brands that many have never heard of here, multiplex cinemas, skating, bowling, regular fashion shows/concerts and events and even foodcourts so it should satisfy anyone's emergency mall shopping needs. And the best part probably is that you won't come across lots of the stooges and fucktards like in the colleges and malls here. (and yes I checked there's stores with skiing equipment and ski attire also, good to know). Image:

An outlet of the Rječina river near the downtown core from which the city gets its name (also known as the old kanal it flows into the Adriatic sea at Rijeka). The first written document using the Croatian version name of Rijeka in sources dates from the 13th century when it was still just a very small settlement and fort, the left side of the Rječina river (old canal/stari kanal seen below) was termed by the old antiquity name Tarsatica (Trsat) and the right side was termed Rijeka. Trsat Castle can be seen in the distance to the far left.

In the above photo you'll notice the white building in the center-left, a building routinely seen in many similar photos but the story behind it is interesting and worth mentioning as it's a building that is officially the oldest hotel in Rijeka. There are many historic buildings as well as larger, newer and fancier hotels in and around Rijeka, however many probably don't know that this Hotel Continental Rijeka is also a "protected cultural monument" of the city of Rijeka. The hotel was financed by Hinko Bačić, an Ambassador and Municipal Mayor, the President of the Savings Bank for the Primorje, a Knight of the Order of Franz Joseph and the Director of the Rijeka Bank, and it was designed by the first educated architect from the Sušak neighbourhood of Rijeka, Mate Glavan. When the hotel was completed and officially opened in 1888, the at the time new modern Hotel Continental Rijeka created quite the buzz becoming extremely popular among the local residents and visitors due to its design, decorative motifs, numerous facilities and excellent position to view the city and seafront. The Hotel Continental Rijeka has been renovated and these days is a 3-star hotel that offers that rare 19th century elegant intimacy along with the expected modern-day amenities (room service/air-conditioned/restaurants/bar/satellite TV/wi-fi/breakfast room/massages/whirlpool/library reading room/terrace/steam room/water sports/concierge etc, more views here). Most of the 65 rooms and four special suites today still have the same picturesque views of the Rječina river, the square, seafront and it's located just steps from the main downtown korzo walkway in the city center. (to put it into perspective, in 1888 Grover Cleveland was US President, Jack the Ripper was making the news and Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear). They sure don't make them like this anymore, the oldest Rijeka hotel built in 1888 and still going strong taking care of guests even today, amazing.

A permanently lit Memorial Bridge and monument was built downtown over the Rječina river in 2002, in honour of Croatian defenders and veterans. 

Of course for a change of pace from modern theatres, video games and the bingo halls or just for something completely fucked up wacko and different, the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc in Rijeka (Croatian: Hrvatsko narodno kazalište Ivana pl. Zajca Rijeka) is always an option all year round. Named after Croatian composer Ivan Zajc, the new theatre, opera and ballet house was built in 1885, (although these arts were already performed and part of city life for centuries previously in an older theatre since 1765, then a newer theatre was built and opened in 1805 by renowned Rijeka citizen and trader Andrija Ljudevit Adamić). During June and July, the theatre hosts a "Summer Nights" festival also including many modern plays and theatrical works. If you can get a ticket, it’s worth it even if only to catch a glimpse of the ceiling paintings done by the world famous symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, (yep it's true, that 160 million dollars a painting Gustav Klimt guy), the  festive stage curtain and other artwork was painted by Oton Gliha, a Croatian artist who lived on and was inspired by the landscape of Krk Island. (similar 19th century classic theatres are also located in Split, Zagreb, Osijek, Varaždin, Zadar and Dubrovnik btw). More information at the Rijeka theatre official website:

On the flip side for something totally wacko from the opera, ballet and theatre drama plays, is the Gradskog kazališta lutaka Rijeka (Rijeka City Puppet Theatre). That's right, it's one of the five professional puppet and marionette theatres in Croatia, housed in a 180 seat auditorium with daily performances from national and international literature for preschool and school children with over 330 shows a year. Since 1993 the Rijeka City Puppet Theatre has received 76 distinguished awards and participates annually in major Croatian puppetry festivals and meetings at home and abroad, and it also hosts other related performing arts and workshops throughout the year. (Interesting shocking fact: Puppetry in Europe gained popularity during the Middle Ages and Renaissance times, and during the 18th and 19th centuries is when puppet and marionette theatre groups were formed as professional arts, however at first they weren't performed mainly for children like today but were attended by adults who were mostly royalty and in various aristocratic circles, how's that for crazy shocking?). More information, ticket prices and media at the official website and

A brief view of what kinds of things go on at the Rijeka City Puppet Theatre, celebrating 22 seasons in their new theatre.

From a variety of notable people connected to Rijeka and Croatian history, a special mention should be accorded to Ivan Mažuranić, a Croatian poet, linguist, lawyer and politician who is considered to be one of the most important figures in Croatia's political and cultural life in the mid-19th century and who's legacy is still resonating today. (Even introducing progressive reforms that prevented the equivalent of today's foreign religious cults/televangelists from forming subversive organizations). One high point was his speech in front of the Croatian Parliament on December 13th 1886 in the Croatian language when he said "Vjerujem u Hrvatsku, u njezinu prošlost, u njezinu sadašnjost i u njezinu budućnost" (I believe in Croatia, in its past, in its present and its future) while a part of the Habsburg Monarchy. He was also the grandfather of future acclaimed poet, writer and author of children's books Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić.

Section of the waterfront at downtown. Perhaps surprising to some, Rijeka really isn't a "beach city" per se because it's known as a port city, usually you have to go a bit further away from the city center for more beachy type scenes, but they are in the vicinity and not too shabby.

Depending on what time of year you're in Rijeka, you might luck out during the summer months and get a glimpse of some Croatian Navy ships docked at the downtown port, or even board one during their "Navy Open House" events. Interestingly, during the Serb shelling and attacks on Dubrovnik in 1991/92, it was actually members of Rijeka police units who arrived first greatly contributing to unblocking and the liberation of the city of Dubrovnik and surrounding area in April 1992, this before there even was a Croatian Army or modern era Croatian Navy again.

The exciting thrills, spills and chills of the Tour of Croatia men's cycling stage races take place in Croatia as part of the UCI Europe Tour every April, during the week over 1000 kilometers are covered by the riders and stage 4 always goes through the city of Rijeka. (The races are broadcasted live by Croatian National Television (HRT), Eurosport and Eurosport Asia to TV stations all over the world on 6 continents and 177 countries, check it out if in Rijeka in April and watch it daily on the big screen downtown. More info:

For those not in the know, the oldest existing large circulation Croatian language daily published newspaper Novi List (In Croatian literally meaning "New Paper") was published in the city of Rijeka in the year 1900 and it's still publishing today. (I know what you're thinking..."Narodni List" founded in the city of Zadar in 1862 is still the oldest existing Croatian language newspaper still publishing today, however Narodni List is weekly editions)

Like I said and I've seen this first hand, at night is when the downtown scene becomes more alive, during the summer especially.

Once you leave the inland continental Croatia regions and hit Rijeka and the coastal areas, you're probably going to eat more seafood for obvious reasons. Rijeka cuisine is famous for seafood from Kvarner bay, cheese, Pršut ham, truffles, homemade pastas from the nearby Croatian Istra peninsula region; lamb fed on salty herbs from the islands of Pag, Cres and Krk; and meat, wild game and mushrooms and berries from nearby Lika and Gorski Kotar region. Yep, you can still eat the same foods available elsewhere throughout the country but you're going to eat more seafood probably also. (no time to go to the fish markets or a little rusty in the kitchen? no worries, a few Rijeka seafood restaurant and eatery examples)

As mentioned Rijeka is filled with all sorts of cafes, pubs and clubs also for after the museums or art galleries. Just one of the popular places to hang out for years at is Club Palach, named in honour of the Czech student and anti-Soviet protestor Jan Palach, an alternative heaven in three huge rooms tucked away in a city-centre courtyard splattered with various street art and also hosting rock clinics for young musicians and biannual vinyl fairs. A few of the others is Nemo Pub which is a perch’n’sup bar with guest DJs and acoustic nights. Just around the corner from there is Tunel Club, a dark, red-lit archway under the railway where students mingle especially, and it’s close to Club Crkva which is a riverside shrine to Euro post-punk electronica, darkwave, Euro-industrial trance, progressive EBM industrial trancewave, gothic rock and alternative techno genres. And seen below is Dnevni Boravak, one of the new breed of cozy artsy book cafe-bars in Rijeka that is also at times an art gallery/music or entertainment venue. Photograph: Vedran Karuza.

A sneak-peak look at Dnevni Boravak, (Croatian for "Living Room" or even loosely translated as daily dwelling/rest), one of the newer breed cozy and eclectic cafe-bars tucked in off the main downtown promenade strip.

Like I said, Rijeka is also a center of modern arts, artists, musicians and a thriving music scene. Many music artists performing various genres are from Rijeka, the more traditional & folklore acts, various Top 40 Croatian pop acts, Classical, the mentioned Euro post-punk electronica, darkwave, Euro-industrial trance, gothic rock and alternative techno genres and even various tribute acts. Just one of the alternative acts from Rijeka over the past few years is the progressive avante-gard nu-rock band "Father" and seen here performing on the popular national HRT television music program Garaža (Garage), of course it's mostly Croatian language and lyrics music but some newer era bands are also able to perform in English, there's an eclectic thriving local music scene also which is good to know. 

Part of the recently built Zamet Sports Hall Complex that won a number of European awards for architecture, regularly hosts plenty of sports and recreation activities all year round for people to check out, including fairs, local and international tournaments. entertainment and concerts. There are also motorsport racetracks as Rijeka annually organizes car and motorcycle races at nearby Autodrom Grobnik as well as marathons and triathlons. Centar Zamet is also home to RK Zamet of the Croatian Premier Handball League, and the Croatian national team has also played some friendly games there. 

Another option is the Dvorana Mladosti sports hall located in the Trsat neighborhood district of Rijeka, over the years used to host league handball, volleyball and basketball games, tennis, local and international athletics and martial arts competitions, as well as fairs, tournaments, fashion shows, Rijeka Carnival Queen Pageant and related events, entertainment and music concerts. (Rumour has it that Peter Popoff tried to rent it a few years ago for one of those healathon crusades, including the miraculous secret to never going grey which is really miraculous, but he was denied a permit thankfully)

And of course there's outdoor tennis and tennis clubs in Rijeka as well, including the Tennis Klub Kvarner Rijeka, and below is the tennis courts at nearby Opatija, about just a 15 minute drive around the Kvarner Gulf. There's definitely no shortage in various sporting/recreation activities to attend or take part in. *(time for another one of those zany "Croatian fact of the day" additions...notice the palm tree in the photo below. Interestingly and probably surprising to some, palm trees are actually not local native trees to Rijeka or to Croatia even including the coastal region, for instance any palm trees seen along the pedestrian waterfront Riva promenade photos in the city of Split were actually imported over the centuries and planted for aesthetics. It is believed to have been a tradition started during the time of Roman Emperor Diocletian (who after retiring to his palace liked to import various things, art etc, and then enjoyed growing cabbages), and even any other similar scenes from Dubrovnik all the way up to Rijeka any occasional palm trees scenes along the pedestrian waterfront locations are not local native palm trees. The custom was also started in other coastal areas such as the French Riviera, Monte Carlo, Spain, Italy etc where palm trees are also not a naturally native tree either, interestingly even the palm trees in southern California and especially Los Angeles are actually not native trees either but were imported and planted in the 18th century and later, lots of people don't know that and are probably completely shocked now, heck there's even been cases of planting palm trees in Germany and Poland for aesthetics or art reasons (just palm trees though not banana or coconut trees which are different trees altogether) because they can survive and remain green through winters and not shed leaves)

Another popular local institution is the Art-kino Croatia, a public institution founded by the City of Rijeka active in the domain of film art and culture. The main Art-kino programme activity of the Institution takes place at the premises of Art-kino Croatia, a movie theatre located in the city centre which operates as a platform for developing audio-visual activities in Rijeka and a main promoter of film culture. Art-kino is much more than just a place for screening and watching films though – it is a place for discussion, education, communication and research of motion pictures, film reflection and reflection on film. For that reason, the Special Art-kino Film Library has been established with a large number of books and audio and visual materials. Art-kino has also established its position on the international and national film scene, outside of Rijeka, Art-kino Croatia is recognized as a venue with a profiled programme and as a pleasant and enjoyable place visited by many, which has been confirmed in the fact that many film premieres take place in Rijeka and many film artists, critics and theoreticians visit the city as guests. Thus, the Art-kino has become an important part of the city’s identity and one of the tools for the international promotion. Art-kino collaborates with a host of partners in the film community such as The Croatian Film Association and Tuškanac Cinema, Croatian Film Archive, Zagreb Film Festival, Animafest, 25FPS, Motovun Film Festival, Europa Cinema and others. At the same time, Art-kino locally cooperates with many associations and cultural institutions, schools, faculties and individuals. Art-kino is an affiliate of the Europa Cinemas Network, CICAE and Croatian Independent Cinemas Network. As a counterbalance option from the movies being shown at other multiplex cinemas and theatres, (overhyped dumb blockbuster duds, overpriced snacks & beverages, fake 3D, expensive tickets, total commercialization etc), Art-kino Croatia offers a welcoming alternative solution to film lovers, as well as open-air cinema screenings from June through August. More information at Image:

One of the open-air cinema screening locations tucked in downtown during the summer season, the extra bonus is that you can sip on a beer, wine or coffee while watching the films outdoors.

The little known about Rijeka Astronomical Center and Observatory is a popular place for local school trips but also has programs and events running throughout the whole year for everyone and all ages. Rijeka’s first observatory was established in 2001 and the planetarium hall was installed into an already existing fortress in 2009. The planetarium, observatory telescope and other interactive features gives the visitor detailed information and cool views of galaxies billions of light years away, of the moon, earth, constellations, satellite views of the continents, the magics behind rainbows, solstices, equinoxes, lunar phases, meteorites, the tides, proof that it's not a flat earth and much more. In 1998 the newly discovered minor planet "11706 Rijeka" was named after the city. More information at and

Rijeka’s first observatory was established in 2001 and the planetarium hall was installed into an already existing fortress in 2009. Here's some behind the scenes views of what to see and do at the Rijeka Astronomical Center and Observatory.

Part of the “The Giants of Patagonia: Research Is just Beginning” exhibition that was presented at the Natural History Museum in Rijeka, popular with adults and children it's another different option to spend time at or to kill time at between things. Founded in 1876 today the Natural History Museum in Rijeka is oriented towards marine research and has a specialized library in the fields of biology, geology and palaeontology. Cozy, inexpensive and located in an actual 19th century villa the permanent displays consist of exhibitions about Methodology of oceanographic research, Geological history of the Adriatic, Geology of the Kvarner Gulf and Rijeka region, Systematic of minerals, Marine invertebrates, sharks and rays, chondrosteans, reptiles and amphibians, birds, insects and mammals of the Rijeka Region, a botanical garden as well as a Multimedia Center Aquarium and videos that inform about the need to preserve and protect nature and the marine world of the Adriatic. Other displays feature Adriatic coast islands of volcanic origin and genesis, formation and the evolution of the Adriatic basin from 230 million years ago when dinosaurs ruled the earth and up to the present time, European Early Modern Humans (EEMH) Cro-Magnon natural habitat specimen examples from the Paleolithic Europe Aurignacian and Gravettian cultures, original specimens of rocks and fossils, charts, photographs and videos and much, much more, over 90,000 specimens in all. Guided tours are available upon request and all the information is given in the Croatian and English language.

Another interesting event that started up over the years is the weekend long "Beeranje" craft beer festival that takes place at the former Rijeka Governor's palace and grounds every June, (today's Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral Rijeka) and has even spread to nearby Crikvenica. The event features the first Rijeka craft beer Riječko pivo as well as craft beers from all over Croatia, over 40 local Rijeka bars and pubs/cafes represented and gathering even craft beers from Austria, Germany, Italy and France totalling over 60 different craft beers all in one place. Throughout the festival weekend there's also pop and rock concerts, films, cultural and other exhibitions, vintage festivals, foods and a fair, t-shirts are also available. (there really are no bars and clubs shootings in Croatia so the beers and drinks will probably taste better, oh there's shootings once in a while just none of that Mickey Mouse amateur club/bar/burger joint/donut shop pointless shooting crap or waving guns selfies pics etc, instead if you diss the wrong person you'll instead get to go home alright but down the road eventually when you least expect it later everyone living at your place is strangely not answering the phone and they're sleeping and you'll find there's Čobanac, Pašticada and Beefaroni all over the walls and furniture but it's really neither and then you'll hear a click, see post croatians-beers-world-lists for much more information about the Croatian beers scene) 

And since mentioning it above, the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral Rijeka (Croatian: Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka) has already been one of the most important meeting-places of culture in the city of Rijeka for decades and is just one of the local museums. With its permanent display and many valuable exhibitions from its own holdings (and at times even collections from other Croatian museums in Zagreb, Osijek, Vukovar, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar and others), it takes part in tracing the important events connected with the history and culture of Rijeka, the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and of Croatia. With its research into the complex materials of archaeological, ethnographical, artistic, cultural-historical and maritime-historical characteristics, in a time spanning from prehistory to the Modern Age, it points out its specific and interactive relationship with other European centres in the region over a thousand year period with the aim of becoming a dynamic, open and educative institution. Especially interesting for Croatian history buffs or even those into shows like Game of Thrones etc, is the Medieval Collection which displays the dominant material from the old Croatian necropolis of nearby Vinodol (various jewelry, clothing and parts of costumes, everyday household items, pottery and drinking vessels, items of bone and horn, swords and weapons etc), which represents an unbreakable link of the past and present. The importance of this particular inventory is based on the factually established continuity of the settlement of the Croats in this area in the Early Middle Ages, the diversity and richness of the cultural inventory of the collection at the same time also testifies to the economic power of this population and way of life which established obvious contacts with the wider European surroundings from the 7th-12th centuries during the Croatian monarchial times as well as the later Habsburg era. I made a short stop here during my last stay in Rijeka, it was near where we were staying and the tickets are cheap, I definitely recommend for a brief interesting change of pace. Currently there are over 30 permanent collections available to the public all year round as well as other special collections and exhibits during the year. More information at the official website:

Like I said earlier, the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral Rijeka also displays 1 of only 5 life jackets that survived the sinking of the Titanic and it's the only one found in Europe, among many other interesting items connected to the local and Croatian Maritime history.

At the Muzej moderne i suvremene umjetnosti Rijeka (Rijeka Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art), another one of several art gallery/museums options to explore.

The retractable roofed Kantrida Swimming Pool Complex and International Aquatic Center is a popular place in Rijeka but not much known about outside of Croatia. Consisting of 5 pools including 2 Olympic class racing pools and a high dive pool, it also hosted the 2008 European Short Course Swimming Championships among other world class competitions. More information at a previous post HERE.

Interior views and behind the scenes information.

Probably many don't know that one of the other popular sports pastimes during the summer months especially along the coastal areas is water polo, and the home arena of Rijeka based team VK Primorje (Vaterpolski Klub Primorje) is also located at the Kantrida pools complex, just another sports/entertainment option. (before anyone may start snickering, trust me it's not an easy sport and is much more demanding than just kicking or throwing a ball, (you're probably thinking that fancy polo on horses and polo shirts), it's actually more like rugby played in water and sprint swimming combined)

 VK Primorje compete in the Croatian First League of Water Polo, have won 3 national championships, 3 Adriatic League titles as well as take part in the continental LEN Champions League, and interestingly they are also the oldest water polo club in Croatia since being founded as HŠK Victoria (Hrvatski Športski Klub Victoria/Croatian Sports Club Victoria) in 1908, (which is even 2 years before the HNK Rijeka soccer club was originally founded in 1911, that's just plain fucking crazy). Below is some background information about VK Primorje and the water polo scene in Rijeka.

As a bonus piece of information to know in case the visitor needs a relaxing break from the malls, ghetto mutants and fucktard hustle and bustle of Rijeka, the charming relaxing retreat town of Opatija with more Art Nouveau architecture buildings and promenades is just a short jaunt just across the Kvarner bay. You can see Opatija from Rijeka and as seen below Rijeka can likewise easily be viewed from Opatija, it's sort of like looking at New Jersey from New York, another town but it's just right there, good to know.

Another good thing to know is that just like in other parts of Croatia, yes it definitely does snow in Rijeka regularly also. (I've come across many people who had no clue, it may sound crazy but it's true, there's really more than just summer photos). The nearby Platak Ski Resort is a popular get away location every winter season for local skiers and snowboarders etc. Platak Ski Resort is actually open and running even as I'm writing this post in late March, so there's no need to travel all the way to Sljeme at Zagreb to go skiing, one of the little known facts to keep in mind.

I better put a photo of downtown Rijeka during winter, just in case the reader still may not believe me that it does snow here quite regularly. To me it makes the holidays and New Year's events more picturesque and holidayish.

I should note that there are tattoo shops in Croatia all-year round of course, but for something different and a little more hardcore, Rijeka also hosts its own annual Rijeka Tattoo Expo that takes place every November. (featuring Croatian and even other European tattoo artists you can even get tattoos of any of the Rijeka related people or things as a memento, you sure can't buy that at a souvenir stand)

The imperial bestowed Rijeka county coat of arms from the 18th century, another Rijeka related coat of arms specifically signifying the surrounding larger historic administrative subdivision of the Rijeka area within Croatian crown lands which was within the dual Habsburg Monarchy, aka Modruš-Rijeka county. Although some people may have already known about the duchies and Croatian Kingdom from the Middle Ages, others may be surprised to know that since 1102 the Croatian Kingdom crown lands were then afterwards also autonomous and politically united with Hungary and the Habsburg empire for over 800 years before the 21st century came around and official independence again. The county was created in the late 18th century because of the rising importance of Rijeka and of its status as a principal seaport city, naval base and primary maritime outlet of the entire empire.

 The official coat of arms and flag of the city of Rijeka today and based on historical heraldry from the 17th century. As mentioned earlier the Habsburg emperor Leopold I granted the double-headed eagle coat of arms to Rijeka in 1659 (as the Croatian crown lands were part of the Habsburg ruled Dual Monarchy along with other crown lands and territories at the time). It was also similar to the Habsburg Monarchy Imperial double-headed eagle coat of arms design, however interestingly the heads of Rijeka’s double-headed eagle are stylized in a way very unique in heraldic terms and rare as they both look in the same direction. The Rijeka eagle holds an urn in its claws from which an inexhaustible supply of water is running and is supposed to symbolize the infinite loyalty of the city in defending against any eastern intruders or invasions from the sea, as well as symbolizing the very Rječina river that flows into the Adriatic sea at Rijeka and from which the city of Rijeka gets its name. Afterwards the Port of Rijeka was declared a free port in 1719 (together with the Port of Trieste which is now in Italy) and Rijeka grew to become an important sea port and Naval base. In 1849 the Croatian language National Reading Room was first established which became one of the important centers of cultural and social life in Rijeka (today it's a department of the Rijeka City Library system), and the city population in 1851 was 12,272 including 11,581 Croats, 691 Italians and just a very few other nationalities according to the 1851 census. 

Image of the confirming royal charter of Leopold I from 1659 awarding the city of Rijeka its imperial coat of arms, the basis for the current Rijeka city flag coat of arms seen above.

The specific Trsat coat of arms from 1874 (ie: ancient Tarsatica) when Trsat was the official seat of the Rijeka municipality, and besides the mentioned Croatian language National Reading Room established in Rijeka in 1849, another special National Reading Room was established in the Trsat district in 1893 and a new building constructed in 1896 which is still used today for literary and other various functions. 

...and for the benefit of the reader another interesting one to note from the same general but later era is the Croatian Triune Kingdom coat of arms used between 1868–1918, representing the whole autonomous Croatian Kingdom lands within the Habsburg Dual Monarchy, represented were the 3 main regional and historical Croatian crown lands of the time since the 17th-18th century but which ultimately extend back to 1102 and were formed out of the original medieval Croatian Kingdom. (similar to the case of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia coats of arms used in the official national Czech Republic flag, but the Bohemian CoA is also used to represent "all the Czech lands", example). One can still see it today on the Croatian Parliament building (Hrvatski Sabor) in Zagreb and many other important government and other buildings, flags and official documents throughout the country that date back to the 19th century (at the time officially termed as the "Trojedna Kraljevina Hrvatska, Slavonija i Dalmacija"/Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia). Today these historical regions of Croatia and former crown lands are of course familiar as some of the shields making up the crown over the main national Croatian coat of arms on the modern day official Croatia flag which has always represented the whole Croatian lands (with the historical region of Istra and city of Dubrovnik also being specifically represented with a commemorative shield also). For this reason during that time the Croatian Ban/Viceroy was not only the Ban of the historical and whole Croatian crown lands/Croatia but could also when desired specifically style himself to the Habsburg and Hungarian crown as the hereditary rightful Ban/Viceroy of the Croatian Triune Kingdom, affirmed and symbolized by this special coat of arms. After the Croatian-Hungarian Settlement of 1868 and reincorporation of the Croatian military frontier, the term "Triune Kingdom of Dalmatia, Croatia and Slavonia" was at times officially used in reference to the Medieval Croatian Kingdom and when referring to the Habsburg Kingdom of Croatia up to the early 19th century, because they all originate and were born from the Medieval Crown of the Croatian Kingdom, some pretty cool historical tidbits to know. (btw there's a lot of interesting and cool looking Croatian civic heraldry, armorial bearings, municipal and city escutcheons/coats of arms used over the centuries, with some including various animals, beasts and creatures, however this is as far as I'm going in regards to just this city of Rijeka topic)

Lastly to officially end this topic and introduction about the city of Rijeka, I came across some useful links and information about the planning involved up to now and the future plans for 2020. You can read it at

And here's some more information about the history and location of Rijeka and reasons why they felt it should be the chosen candidate for 2020. You can read that at (English version HERE)

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