Rijeka


Riieka is situated 45° 20′ n, 14° 26’ e. It is the county town of the coastal and Mountain (primorsko-goranska) county, which has an area or 3 578 km2 and a Population or 315 800. The city itself has a population of 143 800, and it is the biggest port in Croatia. Mean temperatures for January: air, 5.5 °c; sea, 10.7 °c. Mean Temperatures for July: air, 23.8 °c; sea, 23 °c. The prehistoric period. The area where Rijeka now stands was settled by Illyrian tribes as early as the Iron Age. It is thought that this area formed the border between two tribes: on the Trsat and Kastav hills lived the cattle-rearing Iapodians, while the Liburnians settled closer to the sea. They were skilled seafarers who protected their settlement with their own fleet of galleys and sailing ships (the so—called liburne). The Roman Era. Roman expansion on the Eastern Adriatic coast went across lstria, so that the Liburnians and the near- by Histri were conquered as early as the 2nd century BC. The defeated Liburnians became allies of the Romans against the rebellious Iapodians and the more distant Dalmatians. In the writings of the geographers Claudius Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder, and also on Peutinger’s chart (a copy of a Roman map), the Roman settlement at the mouth of the river Rjecina was called “Tarsatica”. It was a cross-roads on the main route linking Senj with Tergestum (Trieste) and still more distant Aquileia. Tarsatica was also a key base and command post in the Roman defence system. At the end of the 4th century, under threat from the barbarians, it was enclosed by defensive walls and there was an organised military border, the Liburnian limes as it was called. Even today, the visible remains of the ancient defensive walls behind the city reach a height of 2.8 m, and archaeological remains in the centre of the city (today’s Korzo) bear witness that city walls were also built. At the end of the 5th and in the first half of the 6th century, the region from the Rasa River in Istria to the Krka River in Dalmatia was called Liburnia Tarsaticensis, which suggests that Tarsatica was the capital of Liburnia in that period. The Migrations of the Nations. From 1787 onwards, along the site of the demolished south wall of the city, buildings in Baroque or classical style were built. Even today they still bound Rijeka’s main street, the Korzo. The short period of French administration interrupted commercial activity so despite the fact that at that time the Lujzinska cesta (road), which even today links Rijeka with Karlovac, was completed, this was a time of stagnation for Rijeka. The entry of the Croatian army led by the Ban Jelacic in the turbulent year of 1848 broke the 20 year period of Hungarian domination, but Hungarian interests were still tied up with capital investments in Rijeka and so in 1868, on the basis of the falsification of a paragraph of the Croatian-Hungarian Compromise, it once again fell to Hungary. The intensive development of the city, which already had strong shipbuilding and chemical industries, and paper and machine factories (the first torpedo was invented and produced in Rijeka in 1866), reached a peak at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. At this time the most magnificent buildings were also erected: the Governors palace, the theatre, the Iadran (Adriatic) and Modello palaces. New city quarters were also built and in 1873 Rijeka obtained a railway link with Karlovac, Zagreb and Central Europe and a year later with Ljubljana. Thus, the previously leading Croatian ports of Senj and Bakar became provincial. Croatians in Rijeka at this time had no political rights, although they had many representatives in the Croatian Assembly. Many famous people lived or started their career in Rijeka: the politicians Marijan Derencin, Erazmo Barcic, Ante Starcevic, Frano Supilo, the linguist Fran Kurelac, the writer Eugen Kumicic, the composer Ivan Zajc. The twentieth century. The social climate enabled Frano Supilo to make the local paper Novi List into a paper that had a crucial effect on Croatian politics. Promoting a new approach to Croatian politics, the Rijeka Resolution aimed against German interests and seeking unification with Serbia was formulated here in 1905. The Croatian-Serbian coalition was formed with Frano Supilo at its head; he left it in 1909 in disappointment. In the First World War, for joining the Allies, Italy sought territorial expansion, and was promised part of Croatia under the Treaty of London, but not including Rijeka. However, the Italian army occupied the city for 17 days after lst December I918, when the Hungarian Governor left. Although it seemed that the Allies would not allow this to happen so easily, the poet, dramatist and wartime lieutenant-colonel Gabriele D’Annunzio became involved, gathered his followers together, and in September 1919 entered Rijeka with 200 soldiers and 35 officers. In the general confusion, made worse by deserters and Italian sympathisers, he crowned his little adventure by proclaiming Rijeka to be Italian and his own state. In November 1920 the Yugoslav and Italian governments signed the Treaty of Rapallo on the position of frontiers, according to which Rijeka was to become an independent free state. The remains of the Liburnian Limes. The remains of Roman fortifications built and added to from the 2nd century BC until the fourth century AD. They are an important archaeological monument and significant in the history of Europe. In the city itself the best preserved limes (perimeter wall) is on the Uspon Buonarotti (Buonarotti Rise) by the steps which lead up to the top of the hill known since the 18th century as “Kalvarija”. On the more distant Katarina hill the limes is easier to follow and here it reaches its greatest height (2.8 m); from the path it takes, there is a magnificent view over the Kvarner bay, Trsat hill and on the other side, Mt. Ufika and the fortress on Pulac. According to sources from the 17th century the wall was known as “The Chain of the World” (Catena mundi). The path of the Liburnian limes in Rijeka is easily visible in graphics by Trost which were published in 1689 by I.W. Valvasor and which show its continuity, which is probably why it received the title mentioned above.

Roman Arch (Stara vrata, gateway). The oldest archaeological monument in Rijeka dates from the 4th century. The gate is only decorated on the side facing the sea: the arch rests on two Tuscan pilasters without capitals, it is surrounded by a multilayered decorative band. Since 1700 it has attracted attention and been interpreted in various ways: it is said that this gate is “a miraculous arch for it has been standing upright for 13 centuries, with no iron or mortar”; it has been linked with the victory of Emperor Claudius II over the Goths in the 70s of the 3rd century AD and with the celebration of Tiberius’ victory over the Pannonians and the lllyrians, while some sources claim it was built as a triumphal arch in the lst century. Latest opinions are divided over the question of whether this was the city gate, the gateway to the Castrum or the gate to the Praetorium, the socalled Alpine clausura, which, together with other archaeological finds, would confirm that this was the site of the original Tarsatica fortress and the starting point of the Liburnian limes.

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Uzasasce Blaiene Djevice Marije) and the Leaning Tower (Kosi toranj). The church’s present Baroque appearance dates from the 18th century, but there are signs that there was a church on this site as early as the 5th century, destroyed during the migrations of the nations. It was rebuilt and destroyed again in the year 800 when Charles the Great took his revenge on the inhabitants of Trsat for the death of Count Eric. Evidence of age can be seen in the 10th century figure of Christ on the southern wall of the church and in the belltower, which is known as the “leaning tower”. It is 33 m high and leans over about 40 cm. It was built in Romanesque and Gothic styles. The date 1337 is engraved over the entrance to the tower. It is thought that this was the year it was restored. The present main altar and presbytery, with their rich Baroque stucco work and triumphal arch of black marble, were built in the 18th century. In the right-hand aisle is the oldest altar, which was built in 1601; on it there is a beautiful painting of St. Peter receiving the keys, the work of the Rijeka artist Ivan Franjo Gladic, from 1640. The Rijeka painter Ivan Simonetti (1817-1880) is the artist of a copy of the Assumption of Mary on the main altar in the central nave and John the Baptist in the left-hand aisle (the middle of the 19th century). On the altar of St. Phillip Neri, to whom the people of Rijeka turned as their protector from earthquakes, there is a beautiful depiction of old Rijeka by Metzinger dating from 1750.

The Church of St. Jerome (Sveti Ieronim) and the old Augustinian monastery. The Church of St. Ierome was built by the Princes of Duino from 1315, and their descendants completed it and built the Augustinian monastery in 1408. The original Gothic church was restored after earthquakes which hit the city in the 18th century (1750 and 1768) and at that time it also gained its Baroque facade. Still visible from the outside are the Gothic windows on the presbytery, the oldest part of the church.

The remains of the city walls. These walls surrounded the city until 1780 when Joseph II gave permission for the demolition of the keep and walls, as the city’s development demanded their removal, and they were no longer necessary for defensive purposes. Only some ruins remain, most clearly visible near the cathedral, between the school playing fields and the raised area of the small park. While foundations were being dug for new buildings on the Corso (Korzo) and in Ante Starcevic’ street, some walls were discovered dating from the 4th century which show that the medieval structure was built immediately on to the ancient walls. Part of the ancient walls has been preserved in the “Dva Lava” (two lions) cafe.

The City Tower with four clocks is the symbol of Rijeka and was renovated in 1983. This outstanding structure, on the border between the old and the new parts of the city, received its present Baroque appearance towards the end of the 18th century. Its main decorative elements are: a relief of the two-headed Habsburg eagle over the entrance archway dating from the l7th century and the relief busts of Leopold I and Charles VI, emperors who gave the city its coat of arms) and the status of a free port, dating from the first half of the 18th century. The Rijeka sculptor and builder Antonio Micchelazzi surrounded them with a trapezium frame of white stone. He created other pieces of architectural Work in the second half of the l8th century (after the earthquake). During the restoration work of 1890, the architect Filiberto Bazarig (Bacarié) introduced Renaissance elements to the building. The tower was part of the city‘s medieval fortifications and served as the entrance on the seaward side of the city. In the 16th century it was still the same height as the surrounding walls. At one time a moat ran alongside those walls, and by the gate into the tower there was a drawbridge which was removed in 1775.