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Rijeka Sights and Landmarks Guide, Croatia

Rijeka Sights-City of Syncretism and Transformation

The variety of landscapes, architectural styles or archeological sites is amazing in Rijeka, a city close to Pula and Zadar. The city has been a settlement since Neolithic times and afterwards under the rule of the Romans, the Osthrogots, of The Byzantine Empire; the Franks, the Croats, the Austrian-Habsburgs, the Italians also had their power over the city and finally it became part of Yugoslavia.

All this succession of sovereignties had an influence on the outlook of the city, many buildings being subject to reconstruction or transformation. For instance, the Romans founded the city on the much older Celtic city of Tarsatica (some Celtic ruins can still be admired near the Korzo). The entrance in the Preatorium can still be seen today as part of a very odd structure: it is linked to a church, to a former socialist department store and to a house from Habsburg period. The city walls ceased to exist, but some spots were kept, like for example a tower, enriched later with a clock. Even this structure did not survive in the original form, as it was destroyed by an earthquake. Being a very dear place to the citizens, in the 18th century, Empress Maria Theresa gave the necessary money for its reconstruction, so it can still be admired.

Competition between different Christian orders was a reason to build more. The Jesuits built St. Vitus’ Cathedral in 1638 (St Vitus is the patron saint of the city), a place attracting many visitors today. As the Franciscans were gaining more attention, the Jesuits felt the cathedral was not enough and they built also a Calvary. The Calvary is a difficult to climb path that leads to the top of a hill. Along the way, you can admire 4 century Roman stone walls, what is left of baroque shrines and a neighborhood of blocks of flats.

Reading other Rijeka sights, Givanni Ciotta is a name you will often stumble upon. He was mayor of the city and author of some adaptations. An Augustan monastery was taken over by the local authorities when the order ceased to exist. The buildings were not adequate to this purpose and did not fit to the nearby square. The look of the place was improved as we now see it by an architect at the order of the mayor and the monastery became the Municipal Palace.

Rijeka Sights - Industrial Landscape

Rijeka is not necessarily known as a tourist destination, but as a one of the most important harbors of the country. It was founded by Carl IV and it has a history of its own. A ship worth seeing is Hurricane, a 19th century harbor cleaner built in Hamburg. Rijeka is the place where the first torpedo was made by a retired engineer thinking of a way to defend the coastline from a large distance. The torpedo factory still stands today. Another old factory was once the source of refined sugar for the entire Austrian empire. If you are interested in old fashioned industry sights, don’t miss the paper mill.

Rijeka Sights - Relaxing

A walk on the Korzo or admiring the Art Nouveau and Baroque styles in the city, a visit to the Natural History Museum or at the Botanical Garden opened in 2005, sitting on a bench in Vladimira Nazora Park or a stroll in the Garden of Our Lady of Trsat or Nikola Hosta Park, all these can help you spend a relaxing day in Rijeka. For nature lovers, in the outskirts of the city there is a national park, called Sjverni Velebit. The city also has many fountains with their own history- looking at them is a very pleasant view.

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