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City of Rijeka
Grad Rijeka
—  Town  —
View of Rijeka

Coat of arms
City of Rijeka is located in Croatia
City of Rijeka
Location of Rijeka within Croatia
Coordinates: 45°19′N 14°25′E / 45.317°N 14.417°E / 45.317; 14.417Coordinates: 45°19′N 14°25′E / 45.317°N 14.417°E / 45.317; 14.417
Country Croatia
County Primorje-Gorski Kotar County
 - Mayor Vojko Obersnel (SDP)
 - Town 44 km2 (17 sq mi)
 - Metro 788 km2 (304 sq mi)
Elevation 0 - 499 m (0 - 1,561 ft)
Population (2001)
 - Town 144,043
 Density 3,273/km2 (8,477/sq mi)
 Metro 218,925
 - Metro Density 277/km2 (720/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 51000
Area code(s) 051
Patron saints St. Vitus

Rijeka (Italian and Hungarian Fiume, other Croatian dialects: Reka or Rika, Slovene: Reka, German: Sankt Veit am Flaum or Pflaum (both historical) ) is the principal seaport of Croatia, located on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea. It has 144,043 (2001) inhabitants[citation needed]. The majority of its citizens, 80.39% (2001 census), are Croats. The Croatian and the Italian version of the city's name mean river in each of the two languages.[1]

Rijeka is the center of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County in Croatia. The city's economy largely depends on shipbuilding (shipyards "3. Maj" and "Viktor Lenac") 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.



Ancient and medieval times

Though traces of Neolithic settlements can be found in the region, the earliest modern settlements on the site were Celtic Tarsatica (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 double character.

In the time of Augustus, the Romans rebuilt Tarsatica as a municipium (MacMullen 2000) on the right bank of the small river Rječina (whose name means "the big river") as Flumen. Pliny mentioned Tarsatica (Natural History iii.140).

From the 5th century onwards, the town was ruled successively by the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines, the Lombards, the Avars, the Franks, the Croats and the Hungarians before coming under the control of the Austrian Habsburgs in 1466. [1]

After the 4th century the city was rededicated to St. Vitus, the city's patron saint, as Terra Fluminis sancti Sancti Viti or in German Sankt Veit am Pflaum. In medieval times Rijeka got its Croatian name, Rika svetoga Vida (= the river of St. Vitus).

Medieval Rijeka was a city surrounded by a wall and was thus a feudal stronghold. The fort was in the center of the city, at its highest point. It was protected by massive walls against external enemies but also against enemies within - the citizens of the Rijeka.

Under Habsburg sovereignty

Rijeka around the year 1900
The Baroque city clock tower above the arched gateway linking the Korzo to the inner city, designed by Filbert Bazarig in 1876

Created as a free port in 1723, Rijeka during the 18th and 19th centuries was passed among the Habsburgs' Austrian, Croatian, and Hungarian possessions until being attached to Hungary for the third and last time in 1870. Although Croatia had constitutional autonomy within Hungary, the City of Rijeka was independent, governed (as a corpus separatum) directly from Budapest by an appointed governor, as Hungary's only international port. There was competition between Austria's Port of Trieste and Hungary's Port of Fiume. In the early 19th century, the 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.

Giovanni de Ciotta (Mayor from 1872 to 1896) proved to be the most authoritative local political leader. Under his leadership, an impressive phase of expansion of the city started, marked by major port development, fuelled by the general expansion of international trade and the city's connection (1873) to the Hungarian and Austrian railway networks. Modern industrial and commercial enterprises such as the Royal Hungarian Sea Navigation Company "Adria", and the Papermill, situated in the Rječina canyon, producing worldwide known cigarette paper, became trademarks of the city.

In 1866, Robert Whitehead, manager of Stabilimento Tecnico Fiumano (an Austrian engineering company engaged in providing engines for the Austro-Hungarian Navy), experimented on the first torpedo. The population grew from only 21,000 in 1880 to 50,000 in 1910. A lot of major civic buildings went up at that time, including the Governor's Palace designed by the Hungarian architect Alajos Hauszmann.

The future mayor of New York City, Fiorello La Guardia, lived in the city at the turn of the 20th century, and reportedly even played football for the local sports club.

The Italo-Yugoslav dispute and the Free State

Habsburg-ruled Austria-Hungary's disintegration in the closing weeks of World War I in the fall of 1918 led to the establishment of rival Croatian and Italian administrations in the city; both Italy and the founders of the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) claimed sovereignty based on their "irredentist" ("unredeemed") ethnic populations.

After a brief Serbian occupation, an international force of Italian, French, British and American troops occupied the city (November 1918) while its future was discussed at the Paris Peace Conference during the course of 1919.[2]

Italy based its claim on the fact that Italians were the largest single nationality within the city, 88% of total. Croats made up most of the remainder and were also a majority in the surrounding area, including the neighbouring town of Sušak.[3] Andrea Ossoinack, who had been the last delegate from Fiume to the Hungarian Parliament, was admitted to the conference as a representative of Fiume, and essentially supported the Italian claims.

On 10 September 1919, the Treaty of Saint-Germain was signed declaring the Austro-Hungarian monarchy dissolved. Negotiations over the future of the city were interrupted two days later when a force of Italian nationalist irregulars led by the poet Gabriele d'Annunzio seized control of the city by force; d'Annunzio eventually established a state, the Italian Regency of Carnaro.[4]

The resumption of Italy's premiership by the liberal Giovanni Giolitti in June 1920 signalled a hardening of official attitudes to d'Annunzio's coup. On 12 November, Italy and Yugoslavia concluded the Treaty of Rapallo, under which Rijeka was to be an independent state, the Free State of Rijeka/Fiume, under a regime acceptable to both.[5] D'Annunzio's response was characteristically flamboyant and of doubtful judgment: his declaration of war against Italy invited the bombardment by Italian royal forces which led to his surrender of the city at the end of the year, after a five days resistance. Italian troops took over in January 1921. The election of an autonomist-led constituent assembly for the territory did not put an end to strife: a brief Italian nationalist seizure of power was ended by the intervention of an Italian royal commissioner, and a short-lived local Fascist takeover in March 1922 ended in a third Italian military occupation. Seven months later Italy herself fell under Fascist rule.

A period of diplomatic acrimony closed with the Treaty of Rome (27 January 1924), which assigned Rijeka to Italy and Sušak to Yugoslavia, with joint port administration.[6] Formal Italian annexation (16 March 1924) inaugurated twenty years of Italian government, followed by twenty months of German military occupation in World War II. The city was heavily damaged during the war by a number of Anglo-American air attacks,[citation needed] including a January 12, 1944 Oil Campaign attack on the oil refinery.[2] The harbour area was destroyed by retreating German troops. Yugoslav troups entered the city on May 3, 1945.

Post World War II

The aftermath of the war saw the city's fate again resolved by a combination of force and diplomacy. This time, Yugoslav troops advanced (early May 1945) as far west as Trieste in their campaign against the German occupiers of both countries. The city of Rijeka thus became Croatian (i.e., Yugoslav), a situation formalized by the Paris peace treaty between Italy and the wartime Allies on 10 February 1947. Once the change in sovereignty was formalized, 58,000 of the 66,000 Italian speakers left in advance of the Yugoslav army, choosing exile (known in Italian as esuli or the exiled ones). The discrimination and persecution many of them experienced at the hands of the Croatian populace and officials in the last days of World War II and the first weeks of peace remain painful memories. Summary executions of alleged fascists, Italian public servants, military officials and even normal civilians, forced most ethnic Italians to abandon Rijeka in order to avoid this class and ethnic cleansing.

Climate and geography

Rijeka's position overlooking the Kvarner Bay with its islands (Cres, Krk) on the south, the Učka mountain on the west, the mountains of Gorski kotar to the north and the Velebit range to the east offers an impressive natural setting.

Rijeka has a Humid subtropical climate with warm summers and relatively mild and rainy winters. Snow is rare (usually 3 days per year, almost always in traces). There are 22 days a year with maximum of 30 °C (86 °F) or higher, while one day a year temperature does not exceed 0 °C (32 °F). Fog appears in about 4 days per year, mainly in winter. The climate is also characterized by frequent rainfall. Cold bura (bora) winds are common in winter time.

There are 1922.5 hours of sunshine per year. Maximum is in July with 297.6 hours, while minimum is in December with 97.8 hours of sunshine.

Climate data for Rijeka
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 20.0
Average high °C (°F) 8.3
Average low °C (°F) 2.8
Record low °C (°F) -11.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 131.8
Avg. precipitation days 10 9 10 12 12 11 9 9 10 11 13 11 127
Source: [7] {{{accessdate}}}
Source #2: Ridjanovic and others: Geografija SR Hrvatske 5, Skolska knjiga, Zagreb, 1975, page 84 {{{accessdate2}}}

Main sights

Tvornica "Torpedo" (the Torpedo factory): The first European prototypes of a self-propelled torpedo were 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.

Inside the Sanctuary of the Trsatian Madonna

Svetište Majke Božje Trsatske (Sanctuary of the Trsatian Madonna): (Zvijezda mora, Kraljica Jadrana, zaštitnica putnika—Star of the sea, Queen of Adriatic, protector of the travelers.) Built 135 meters above the sea on the Trsat hill 7 centuries ago, it represents the Guardian of Travelers, especially seamen, who bring offerings to her so she will guard them or help them in time of trouble or illness. Among other points of interest are the Gothic sculpture of (Gospa Slunjska) the Madonna of Slunj and works by the Baroque painter C. Tasce.

Stara vrata, Rimski luk (Old gate, 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 (St. Vitus).


Rijeka railway station
Ferry in Rijeka harbour.

Port of Rijeka was rush-built by Austro-Hungary in World War I and was completed in 1918, just before the collapse of the Dual Monarchy. The cost was more than 800.000 Kronen.

Rijeka is the largest port in Croatia. According to the Rijeka Port Authority, its total throughput cargo in 2007 was more than 13 million tons and is rapidly increasing.

Rijeka has efficient road connections to other parts of Croatia and neighbouring countries. The A6 highway runs between Rijeka and Zagreb, Croatia; a shorter stretch connecting Rijeka with the Slovenian border, part of the A7 highway, was completed in 2004. Rijeka gains access to the B8/B9 Istrian Y expressway network by means of the Učka Tunnel, which currently has only one lane of traffic in each direction. An intricate series of high-capacity bypass and connection roads is currently under construction. The eastern half of this project was due to open on 15 July 2006, and the more complex western half is to open 2 years later.

The city is difficult to get to by air; it has its own international airport, but it is located on the nearby island of Krk with a toll bridge in-between. Handling only 130,000 passengers in 2005, and projected to handle only 250,000 by 2008, the facility is more of a charter airport than a serious transport hub, although various scheduled airlines have begun to serve it.

Rijeka is well integrated into the Croatian railway network and critical international rail lines. A fully-electrified line connects Rijeka with Zagreb and beyond towards Koprivnica and the Hungarian border as part of the pan-European Vb corridor. Rijeka is also connected to Trieste and Ljubljana by a separate electrified stretch that extends northwards from the city. A transport bill, to have been passed by the Croatian Parliament in July 2006, was to see the start of construction along the aforementioned 5b corridor of Croatia's first high-speed rail line, making possible speeds nearing 250 km/h (160 mph). Construction on the new line was to start in 2007 and is slated to be completed by 2013. Higher speeds on this line will mean a trip from Rijeka to Zagreb will take about an hour, as opposed to the current three or four hours. Rijeka is well connected by direct train daily train to Vienna, to Munich in Germany or Salzburg in Austria, and there are direct night trains running to Rijeka from these two cities.

Good ferry connections with the surrounding islands and cities within Croatia exist in Rijeka, but no direct foreign connections. There are twice-weekly coastal routes to Split, and onwards to Dubrovnik which has international connections. Pula offers more direct southward connections from northwestern Croatia.


New Kantrida Pool, site of the 2008 European Short Course Swimming Championships

Rijeka was the host of 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 the Kantrida Swimming Complex. A total of 14 European Records have been 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.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Rijeka is twinned with:


See also




  1. ^
  2. ^ Stanislav Krakov, Dolazak srpske vojske na Rijeku i severni Jadran, Beograd: Jadranska Straza,1928/29;[The Arrival of the Serbian Army in Fiume and the Northern Adriatic
  3. ^ Anonymous, 1919. Reka-Fiume : notes sur l'histoire, la langue et la statistique, Beograd.
  4. ^ Ledeen, Michael A. 1977. The First Duce. D’Annunzio at Fiume, Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  5. ^ Federzoni, Luigi. Il Trattato di Rapallo, Bologna, Zanichelli, 1921.
  6. ^ Benedetti, Giulio. La pace di Fiume, Bologna, Zanichelli, 1924.
  7. ^ "DHMZ". 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Balkans : Croatia : Rijeka

Rijeka is the principal seaport of Croatia, located on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea. It has 144,043 inhabitants (2001) with greater city area reaching up to 200,000 and is Croatia's third largest city.

Get in

Taxi Transport services Whether you arrive in Rijeka by airplane, train or a ferry boat and you need transportation to your final destination (hotel, apartment or private accommodation) you can use taxi service by calling 970 or much cheaper 313-313. Taxi usually comes within 10 to 15 minutes from the call except in busy summer season where it depends on how much business they have. The cheaper taxi company is always busy, but you can try calling them first. When calling taxi service from a cellular phone you need to dial city area code 051 (Croatia area codes). You can also book online your transportation which is great when you are in a hurry or have a larger number of people in need of transportation, or you just want everything organized in advance. See Rijeka taxi transfer [1] for transportation booking, tariffs and service details.

By car

Travellers heading from Zagreb (185 km) should take the A1 to Bosiljevo and then take the A6 to Rijeka. Portions of the A6 are currently being converted into a 4-6 lane motorway. The unfinished sections should be completed by 2008.

Travellers from Trieste (76 km) should take A7 upon entering Croatia at Rupa border crossing.

Travellers from Split (380 km) can take A1 to Žuta Lokva and then proceed via Senj and Crikvenica to Rijeka.

By plane

Zračna luka Rijeka - Rijeka airport [2] is situated on the nearby island of Krk, around 17 km from the railway station in Rijeka.

There is a designated bus service from the airport into Rijeka.

There are regular bus services from Rijeka into Zagreb Airport for connections there. The Croatia Airlines website has more information.

By train

Rijeka has been an important railhead since its early days as one of the major ports of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and is connected with direct services to other major cities in Croatia (Zagreb, Osijek) as well as twice daily services to Ljubljana in Slovenia, and one train via Zagreb each day to Budapest. Services to Pula by train are possible, though as the two cities are not connected in Croatia by rail (the connection is now in Slovenia), a designated bus is timed to take you that part of the journey.

The Railway station is in 5 Krešimirova Street, at the northern edge of the town area. Information on rail services is available on the information counter, or on the telephone +385 60 333-44-44. You can buy tickets or make reservations at the station ticket-office (+385 51 21-33-33). The railway station has a luggage lockers open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, ans is charged 15 kn. There is also a tourism information office in the station building, but is open odd hours - although there is a large map at the front of the station building. There is also an ATM at the station.

The Croatian Railways [6] website contains good information on train times and prices, and there is also some information for travel Rijeka-Ljubljana on the Slovenian Railways [7] site.

By bus

Rijeka is connected by bus with bigger cities in Croatia, Slovenia and elsewhere in Europe. The busy bus terminal is in the city centre at the foot of the imposing Capuchin church, on Trg Žabica. You can find good information on timetable and fares at the Autotrans office (which also sells tickets), at Žabica 1 or by telephone +385 (0)60 30-20-10. Timetable is also available on the company's website [8]. There is a left-luggage office next to the newspaper and cigarette stand, open from 5:30AM till 10:30PM (the latest of all the transport modes in Rijeka). Luggage safekeeping is charged 9 kn.

By ship

As one of the largest ports of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and the largest port in Croatia, ships play an important role in the life of Rijeka.

Of best use to travellers from Rijeka is the Jadrolinija [9] ferry service. The state-owned company operates small vessels to the nearby islands, as well as large car-carrying ferries down the Adriatic Coast to Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik before travelling to Bari in Italy. Ferries operate the year round, and are more frequent in the summer months. The passenger terminal is in the city center, and on the waterfront just near the Jadrolinija office building (where one buys tickets on the ground floor) is a left-luggage office.

Get around

Most of Rijeka is accessible on foot, and traffic is actually banned on Korzo in the heart of the city. For those a little away from the city or tired, an efficient local bus network operates operating in a single-direction, circular movement around the central city area, and fanning out in all directions. The bus to Trsat (#1) is probrably the most useful for tourists, and a good alternative to the 538 stair climb to the top of the mountain. Rijeka also has cheap and well organized Taxi service, they will get you anywhere in the city for approximately €10 or less.


Rijeka is unfortunately more of a transport hub and port city than a destination in itself. Still, if you have time to spare between connections, it can be filled by a stroll along the pedestrianized Korzo (look for the large clock), or a visit to a museum such as the maritime museum. The stunning National Theatre building (similar to the one in Zagreb and Budapest) occupies a prominent location in the city. For a little exercise, climb the stairs to Trsat to visit its recently-restored fortress and several historic churches, or catch the #1 bus to Bivio, with its seaside paths and catwalks.


Rijeka offers rich night life on weekends during the whole year and some football matches of local NK Rijeka club are also an event not to be missed if you are a fan. Cultural life is also wealthy.


Rijeka has many large shopping centres as well as numerous small and medium stores for everyone's taste. Rijeka Tower is one of the newest and largest shopping malls in this part of Europe.


There are numerous restaurants offering domestic and international food. There are also many fast-food restaurants, some of them open 24 hours.


Wherever you go in Rijeka, you will find a place to drink and relax. There are hundreds of bars and cafes across the city. There are two ships docked in the harbour (city center) with bars, casino, and a night club.

  • Hemingway bar (Hemingway bar), Korzo. expensive.  edit


There are only three hotels in the centre of Rijeka. If you are arriving late, try neighboring Opatije for a wider selection and range of hotels.

  • Grand Hotel Bonavia, +385 51 357-100, [10]. The 125 old and completely refurbished 4-star hotel with 242 beds located in the very heart of Rijeka. It belongs to the Wren's Hotel Group and has its own car park and garage.
  • Hotel Jadran, +385 51 216-600, [11]. is a four-star establishment located by the sea. It was reopened in December 2005 after thorough reconstruction. It has 66 single and double bedrooms. Every room is air-conditioned, and has a satellite TV and radio, direct telephone line, Internet connection, safe and mini-bar.
  • Hotel Continental Rijeka, +385 51 372-008, [12]. A two star hotel built in 1888 with 37 double bedrooms, 1 single bedroom and 4 hotel suits on two floors. All rooms are equipped with a TV and a direct telephone line, while the access to the Internet is possible via modem, using the telephone connection port in the room. A complete warm breakfast in included in the price of approximately 400 HRK (57 EUR) per night for a single.
  • Hotel Neboder, Strossmayerova 1, +385 51 373 538, [13]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Hotel Neboder is part of the complex of the Croatian Cultural Centre ( Hrvatski kulturni dom ) and also its highest segment. The building is 14 floors high and dominates the central part of Rijeka , oriented towards the sea. Due to its position and height of the hotel the view to the entire Kvarner Bay is exposed to the viewer's eye. Starting from the right side and gazing to the left – everything is like on the hand: eastern part of the Istrian peninsula and Učka, Opatija, Rijeka and then, further to the left, towards small towns of Kostrena and Kraljevica and the island of Krk. In year 2007 hotel was completly reconstructed.  edit
  • Many locals will rent out rooms in their houses to travellers for several nights. Virtually all tourist/travel agencies will have information on available rooms. You are more likely to get a room if you stay for at least two nights. Talk to a travel agent, and if there are any vacancies, they will give you directions to the house. The rate is generally the equivalent of 20-30 U.S. dollars per night per person. This is quite reasonable and is an excellent way to get to know a local family. If you don't have any luck in Rijeka, try taking a bus (No. 32, 14kn) to nearby Opatija.
  • Opatija, once the secluded seaside resort of the rich and famous, is just a short 20-minute bus ride along the coast from Rijeka. Bus #32 departs frequently, and this is the best spot from Rijeka to go swimming. There are many fine restaurants and hotels (both of which seem to be lacking in Rijeka). Try to get a table at Le Mandrac in Volosko harbour, it is one of the finest restaurants in Croatia.
  • Jadrolinija [14] run ferries down the coast to Dubrovnik. It stops at Split, Stari Grad, Korčula, and Sobra on the way. Journey time is up to twenty hours, so getting a cabin is highly recommended. The restaurant serves up some decent food at surprisingly reasonable prices, but bear in mind that the 22% tax is not included on the menu. There is nothing in the way of entertainment, so bring some entertaining company or a good book.
  • Islands of Rab, Pag, Losinj, Cres, Susak, Unije and Ilovik also can be reached by daily catamarans, which leave Rijeka at afternoon. Oneway prices for adults are up to 40 kn, depending on destination.
  • Buses from Rijeka will easily take you to places such as Pula (66 kn), Trieste (Italy), Zagreb, and Zadar (152 kn).
  • Trains will take you to Ljubljana (Slovenia), Vienna (Austria) and Zagreb.
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