CROATIA’s Rijeka. Culture, clock towers, Klimt.

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It is no secret that Croatia has picturesque beaches framed by the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. One of the most wonderful sounds is that of the waves hitting the shore, carrying some of the sea glass and polished pebbles back into the water as they recede. producing the most relaxing sound that flows to the rhythm of the sea.

As the country’s third largest city, Rijeka is found in the northern part of Kvarner Bay at the mouth of Rjecina River. Known as the gateway to Croatia’s islands, it has welcomed sun seekers and leisure tourists for centuries.

Given its position and deep-water harbour, Rijeka grew into one of the most important ports on the Mediterranean during the 19th century. In its centre, restored art nouveau buildings stand alongside classical Austro-Hungarian masterpieces as though in testament to the city’s glamorous past.

Korzo is the main pedestrianized street in Rijeka and is usually the first port of call for exploration. Home to beautiful architecture as well as alluring cafés, restaurants, and stores, it truly does offer a fine introduction to the ambience of the city.

On the hillside, Trsat castle dates back to prehistoric times when it was a simple watchtower. Its present appearance can be credited to the 19th century, when its last owner, Count Laval Nugent, bought it and turned it into a family mausoleum. From here you can enjoy the most spectacular sweeping views of the islands of Kvarner Bay.

Another important site is the Shrine of Our Lady of Trsat. According to the legend, the sanctuary was founded in 1291 when angels brought the small Nazareth house, in which the Blessed Virgin Mary had lived, to appear on the plateau. It has been attracting thousands of pilgrims annually ever since. The shrine is reachable from the city centre by climbing the 561-step stairway.

The 19th-century Ivan pl. Zajc Croatian National Theatre, or HNK Zajc, has a ceiling painted by Gustav Klimt. Other symbolic landmarks include the City Clock Tower and the Radio Rijeka building, with the main museums close at hand. All this colour and culture make it no great surprise that the city is the European Capital of Culture for 2020.

Rijeka’s Fluid History

 For Rijeka the 20th century was particularly volatile, leaving the city under six countries’ rule. While there, I met a woman who told me that, of four generations born in her family home, her grandmother was born in Austro-Hungary, her mother in Italy, herself in Yugoslavia, and her daughter in Croatia.

What inspires me most to write is the act of travelling. ― Tea Obreht, Croatian author

** This post forms part of my 100x Magical Places series which offers an introduction to my favourite destinations.

** Pics sourced.

** This post forms part of my 100x Magical Places series which offers an introduction to my favourite destinations.

** Pics sourced.

 

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