Opatija is 15 km west of Rijeka, with population 8 400. Opatija is the centre of a 43 km long riviera which begins at the most northerly point of the Kvarner Bay, and comes to an end near Brsec. Situated at the foot of Mount Ucka, the Opatija riviera is protected by the mountain and therefore has a mild climate. Fresh air from Ucka alleviates the summer heat and due to the mild winter climate, the tourist season here lasts throughout the year. Present day Opatija developed alongside the former “opatija” Sanctus Iacobus ad Palum (The Abbey of St. lamesl. It was mentioned for the first time in 1453, but only after the French occupation in 1813 did a small settlement begin to develop around the Abbey. The development of modern Opatija began in 1844, when the Villa Angiolina was built. Opatija was Austrian until the end of the First World War (from 1867 Austro- Hungarian), and following the Rapallo Peace Treaty in 1921 it came under Italy. From 1945 it was governed by the military and in 1946 was ceded to Croatia in the Yugoslavia of the time. Opatija is now one of the major tourist resorts in not only Croatia but the whole of the Mediterranean. The history of tourism. Thanks to its favourable geographic location and abundant vegetation, Opatija developed rapidly after 1844. The building of the southern branch of the Vienna-Trieste railway line, that is, the Rijeka branch, gave it a special boost, and the Matulji railway station became Opatija’s station. ln the sarne year Rijeka was linked by rail with Zagreb and Budapest, and the rapid growth of Opatija as a tourist resort began. The following hotels were built: Kvarner (1884), Imperial (1885), and then the pre- sent hotels Atlantik, Slavija, Bellevue and Amalija, parks, walkways and a harbour. The whole urban and architectural concept of Opatija is dictated by the line of the coast and the town’s function as a resort. The architecture bears hallmarks of the Austrian builders: a variety of styles, but harmonised, and linked together in a whole which gives an impression of respectability. This quality was taken up by post-war local architects in their designs. Opatija got electric lighting in 1895, mains water in 1897 and had its first encounter with the film just three years later than Paris, in 1898. At the end of the century it was called “the Austrian Nice” and became a meeting place for the aristocracy from all over Europe. Between the two wars, during the Italian occupation, Opatija stagnated, but it received a breath of new life after 1945 when it became the tourist centre for the northern part of the Adriatic coast. Together with Lovran, Opatija has more than 10,000 beds for tourists. Opatija as a climatic health resort. Because of the very suitable climate that characterises the town all the year round, Opatija has become a very well known climatic health resort. This development Was helped greatly because Duro Matija 8porer (1794- 1884), physician and writer, and Antun Feliks-Iacic” (1813-1898), member of the Medical Academy of Marseilles, lived here. A special role was played by the renowned German surgeon Theodor Billroth (1829-1898). He arrived in Opatija in 1894 after he had already achieved fame for the first resection of the stomach (1881) and the introduction of the anaesthetic ether-chloroform. Officially, Opatija became a health resort on March 4, 1889 and in 1908 the 4th Thalassotherapy Congress was held here. The climate and the health care establishments of Opatija help in the treatment of chronic rheumatic ailments, sciatica, lumbago, bronchitis and bronchial asthma, chronic inflammations of the respiratory tract, cardiac and dermatological illnesses and post-traumatic states.