Olja Savičević, Tea Tulić and Bekim Sejranović on Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture
The cities of Croatia vary tremendously in their food, architecture and weather. The inland capital Zagreb is the centre of business and culture; Dubrovnik seduces holidaymakers with its handsome antiquities and bustling Split is the urban core of Dalmatia. Rijeka isn't as easily definable. The third largest city in Croatia, Rijeka isn’t as handsome as its seaside neighbours or as metropolitan as Zagreb, but this hub of alternative culture is finally getting the recognition it deserves, thanks to its successful bid for the European Capital of Culture 2020. A busy port handling ten million tonnes of cargo and half a million passengers a year, Rijeka is a heady mix of Italianate influence, post-industrial architecture and alternative politics. In Croatia, its seen as the ‘red capital’, a rare bastion of the left for the past ten years. In a country ruled by a right-wing coalition, where conservative groups are growing stronger, Rijeka stands out as a city of rebellion. In former Yugoslavia, Rijeka was a cradle for punk-rock music. The Sex Pistols released their first single ‘Anarchy in the UK’ in November 1976. Paraf, a punk band from Rijeka held their first concert in Rijeka just a few months later. The band sprayed graffiti to mark the occasion, which was declared cultural heritage by the city’s administration in 2016. Punk is still very much alive in Rijeka’s pubs and bars, and at the many festivals that take place in the city. Situated in the Bay of Kvarner between Sl
Ten historical images of Croatia from 'Tošo Dabac: cities, people and landscapes'
Tošo Dabac is one of Croatia's most famous photographers of the last century. His work is receiving a major exhibition at the Rijeka City Museum. Here are ten highlights from the exhibition which show areas of Croatia including Zagreb, Opatija, Primošten, Hvar, Kvarner and Split.Tošo Dabac was born in 1905 in Nova Rača, near the city of Bjelovar in central Croatia. He began working as a professional photographer in 1932 and travelled throughout the region for his work, although for most of his career he was based in Croatia's capital Zagreb. He became one of the region's best-known photographers, his work exhibited around the world in cities like New York, Prague, Philadelphia. The current works shown in the Rijeka exhibition are on loan from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, who preserve 200,000 of Dabac's negatives and photographs.The exhibition, entitled 'Tošo Dabac: cities, people and landscapes', draws on work from throughout his career. Although best known for his social photography in the 1930s, taken largely in Zagreb, this exhibition also displays shots taken on Dabac's many forays to the coast and includes landscapes and architectural studies. The exhibition runs from October 25 until November 25.Also at the Rijeka City Museum at the same time is an exhibition of old postcards from Rijeka, mostly taken from the period when the city was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. At this time the city's street names existed in Italian and the city's inhabitants incl
Ten amazing castles in Croatia
Throughout its history, Croatia has existed under the influence of many different empires. The Greeks and the Romans once ruled here, the independent state of Venice was once in charge, then the Austro-Hungarian empire. Old family names such as Frankopan, Zrinski and Habsburg have ruled the country's regions or entirety. Croatia has fended off attempted invasions by Bulgaria and Hungary, and put up a good fight against the Italians and the Ottomans. All of these instances required the defence of fortifications and Croatia is littered with old city walls, ruined castles and evidence of lifetimes and lives spent to secure the country. Some of the castles are still in incredibly well-preserved condition and here we pick ten of the very best that you can still visit and marvel at today.
A literary tour of Rijeka
When it comes to world literature, Croatian cities don’t always come off all that well. Toss names like Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Split around in your head, and it’s unlikely that any novels will come immediately to mind. Rijeka, with its dockside warehouses and hillside-hugging tower blocks, looks as if it would make the ideal setting for a best-selling crime novel – if only someone would get round to writing it. However Rijeka does have the advantage of having produced several significant literary figures, ensuring that this is one Croatian city that does at least come with a worthwhile reading list. One ought to start with Daša Drndić, whose death in June 2018 provoked an outpouring of tributes, revealing just how major a European figure the Rijeka-based novelist had become. She was one of the most profound writers of the present epoch, never fully recognized in her own country because the territory she covered – ethnic populism, fascism, genocide and the importance of historical memory – was still so raw. She is best known in the English-speaking world for Trieste (translated by Ellen Elias-Bursac), which examines the fates of northern Italian Jews during World War II, and was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2013. Subsequent novel Belladonna (translated by Celia Hawkesworth) follows a similar trajectory, with a retired university professor untangling traumatic memories of an unforgiving twentieth century. Drndić was driven to write about ethnic intoler
New community-run kitchen celebrates diversity at Rijeka's Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
It's not for nothing that Rijeka has the reputation of being the most liberal-minded city in Croatia. As a longstanding port, Rijeka more than most has become used to welcoming travellers, their culture and their cuisine. What's more, Rijeka is the point at which old Croatia met the formerly Italian Istrian peninsula. It is also a key city of the old Austro-Hungarian empire. Linked to its heart by rail, it was the first popular, modern tourist destination of the empire. Within the last century, Rijeka became an important immigration destination because of the city's growing industries. Though some of its industries have faded from importance, as has its standing as a key maritime centre for central Europe, Rijeka's time-honoured experience as a meeting point of different cultures and ideas shapes the city even today Now a new meeting and dining experience in Rijeka aims to celebrate the city's openness and diversity by offering visitors the opportunity to samples foods of different cultures and exchange ideas with other guests across their shared tables. The new venue, called Kitchen, will be housed in the Benčić complex, within Rijeka's new Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. It is positioning itself as a place for locals and travellers to meet and to exchange ideas. It will catalyse such discussions by offering a menu that exudes diversity with recipes being drawn from several ethnic groups that have left a mark on the city. The Kitchen is the heart of the home, where
Where to stay in Rijeka
Where to stay in Rijeka
Despite two four-star venues, the Hotel Bonavia Plava Laguna and the Hotel Jadran, the range of accommodation in Croatia’s third-biggest town is disappointing. A short drive down the coast, the new complex of Novi Spa Hotels & Resort should give the various downtown hotels a run for their money. Also, about 20 minutes outside of Rijeka, in the preserved old town of Kastav, the Kukiriku has lodging above its excellent restaurant.
Recommended restaurants in Rijeka
The best Rijeka restaurants
Rijeka majors in fish, seafood and simple Venetian-inspired dishes, thanks to its seaport location and cultural mixing with nearby Italy. Rijeka has a handful of upscale restaurants that provide international culinary quality, but you can also experience some local specialities at more affordable restaurants. Read on for our critic's guide to the best restaurants in Rijeka. RECOMMENDED: Everything you need to know about Rijeka.
The best bars in Rijeka
The best bars in Rijeka
There's seemingly a bar on every corner in Rijeka. Proud of its Mediterranean café culture, the city's streets are lined with bars of all stripes. From classic downtown bars to grungy pubs and trendy nightspots, here's our pick of the best bars in Rijeka. RECOMMENDED: Your ultimate guide to Rijeka.