Wednesday, 27 January 2021

PHOTOS: New Rijeka Urban Parks Just One Lasting Legacy of ECoC 2020

January 27, 2021 – Rising sharply up into the foothills, little space in the expansion of Rijeka was left for green and community recreation areas. New Rijeka urban parks address the issue and are just one lasting legacy of ECoC 2020

The preparations for Rijeka European Capital of Culture 2020 were years in the making. Community consultations and contributions for every aspect of the arts, each venue and city institution put their enthusiasm behind the project. And that's without even mentioning all the international contributors whose work was commissioned. It really did feel like the whole city had come together to show the best of themselves in Rijeka's special year. Except, 2020 turned out to be special for all the wrong reasons.

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European authorities granted the European Capital of Culture status to Rijeka for extra months in order to allow them to complete some programs halted by the pandemic. Not that it much helped increase the footfall the vast project was meant to attract to the Kvarner capital's streets. Instead, the streets lay bereft of guests, visited only by Rijeka residents. But, that's not such a bad thing.

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The Capital of Culture has never been awarded solely to help a city attract visitors. Nor is it ever intended to make its mark over just one year. A lasting legacy for the city's current and future residents is perhaps the most essential element of the event. And, though crippled by Corona, Rijeka European Capital of Culture 2020 is staying true to its promise to do so. New Rijeka urban parks and public recreation areas are just some of the benefits ECoC 2020 will leave behind.

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Rijeka is a great city. But, it's a weird place. An anomaly on the Croatian coast, it boasts none of the quaint olde worlde architecture you usually find around the Mediterranean, Croatia included. It's grand Austro-Hungarian facades and palaces are much more like the Croatian capital. Behind them the city rises sharply up into the foothills, modern residential blocks shooting skywards and peering over the centre below. As Rijeka has grown like moss up this hillside, little room has been left for greenery and areas of recreation. Goodness knows, the best spot you might find for a picnic in Rijeka is the cemetery! (Kozala – actually, as far as places full of dead people go, it's actually very nice)

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The new Rijeka urban parks try to address the imbalance of work to recreation space city residents have. While it may not be possible to create a vast landscape of lawns and a forest of trees in the city centre, the new Rijeka urban parks and public areas look to use modern solutions and the places they have, to create spaces where everyone can socialise, play, relax or meet up.

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Under several different programs within European Capital of Culture 2020, members of the Association for the Promotion of the Quality of Urban Life 'Urbani separe' worked on the new Rijeka urban parks in July 2020 and again between December 2020 and January 2021. In a relatively short space of time, we think they've done a great job.

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All images © Urbani separe / Rijeka 2020

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

FIRST PHOTOS: New Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa Complete

January 27, 2021 – They promised its arrival this spring and, true to their word, these first-look photos show the construction of the beautiful new Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa is complete

With an investment of €80 million and the keen co-operation of the city authorities, the arrival date of the new Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa was never in doubt. They said it would be ready for spring and due to open its doors in April. As these first look pictures show, they've been true to their word. Construction of the new Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa is complete.

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Its been at times difficult to fully visualise the completed project from the glossy, computer-generated builders' images of how they predict the finished product will look. Rijeka residents too have had their worries – would the new promenade in front of the complex (paid for with city money) place a section of their beloved coastline off-limits to those not staying at the Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa?

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They needn't have worried. As these new images show, the major construction work at the Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa is complete. It looks as though they could throw open the doors tomorrow. The worried-over promenade snakes between the main complex and the hotel residents' beach area. It allows pedestrians full access to the seafront – they can pass along the entire front facade of the Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa and enjoy the view from the shore just as much as hotel residents. When the Rijeka Hilton finally opens its doors, they'll also be able to take advantage of all of its spa facilities too, which will be opened up to local residents via a membership scheme.

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The Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa complex has been built across a considerable 18,000 square metres. The main building complex has 10 floors which hold 132 rooms. The site also has 66 villas separate to the main building, six restaurant/bar/food outlets, a private beach, and one of the largest wellness facilities in the region - the two-floored spa area covers more than 3,000 square metres.

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The new photos of the complete Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa, which are signed as Mr. Fly, were posted publicly to the Facebook group Riječka enciklopedija - Fluminensia by renowned Rijeka photographer Dario Matijević, whose breathtaking images of the nature, landscapes and cityscapes of the Kvarner region are often signed as Baredice Photo and can be enjoyed here. They were subsequently used by RiPortal in their coverage of this story.

Sunday, 24 January 2021

PHOTOS: Incredible Seaside Opatija Villa Design For Sale

January 24, 2021 – With breathtaking views of the Kvarner Gulf and island Cres, Opatija Villa Design is an award-winning triumph of contemporary architecture, its purchase a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Sitting on the coastal road to Rijeka, only around one and a half kilometres northeast of Opatija, the village of Volosko has almost been consumed by its famous and opulent neighbour. Indeed, many today refer to Volosko as a neighbourhood of Opatija. But, that wasn't always the case.

volosko.jpegThe beautiful seaside village of Volosko and its harbour © Visit Opatija

With its own micro-climate and its own distinct bay within the Kvarner Gulf, Volosko is one of the best places in the region for windsurfing. Taking advantage of the best conditions in the very early morning, as dawn spreads a brightening light over Volosko, surfers get a great view of its harbour. Before the village became regarded as part of Opatija, it was actually tied to the great walled town of Kastav, located some five kilometres above on the mountainside. Volosko was the town's port.

Surfers eyeing the Volosko shoreline might also get a glimpse of the incredible Opatija Villa Design, sitting in the foothills above Volosko. Once you see it, it's tough to miss. It looks like literally nothing else within eyesight. An oblong box with glorious sea-facing windows, truth be told, you have to get much closer to Opatija Villa Design to fully appreciate all of its award-winning design.

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While instantly noticeable because it extends out diagonally, leaving half of the dwelling floating in space, this prominent rectangular box is actually less than half the story of Opatija Villa Design. The part you can't spot from the surf is another whole half of the property - a brick-walled structure lies beneath, built into the hillside like a cave, covered atop with gardens and grass. There's also a sleek outdoor swimming pool.

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Opatija Villa Design was commissioned back in 2010 and was originally called Nest and Cave House. In 2012, the villa earned architect Idis Turato the national Drago Galić award as part of the Annual Realization Exhibition for the most successful achievement in residential architecture. Later that year, Opatija Villa Design was nominated for the Mies Van der Rohe International Award.

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However impressive its upper floor may look from the sea, that's nothing compared to the view of the Adriatic gifted by the positioning of the Opatija Villa Design. Stretching out before you in widescreen is the entire Kvarner Gulf – to the left, the buzzing city of Rijeka, less than 20 minutes by car, similarly perched in the rising foothills. In front of you, the island of Cres floats on the waves, beneath you the Austro-Hungarian grandeur of Opatija proper, between them the speeding sails of the windsurfers. To grant maximum time before this breathtaking view, the living space is located on the upper floor, the bedrooms hidden from the intense heat of midsummer in the cavern below.

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On the upper floor's 100 square metres are a living room, dining room, kitchen, storage and toilet, beside a garage of 35 square meters. Beyond the driveway and upper lawns lie solar panels which top up the Opatija Villa Design's electricity.

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An open staircase leads to the lower floor - also around 100 square metres - which contains a more formal living room for entertaining plus a double bedroom and another bedroom. Outside of the cave's patio doors lie a large outdoor dining area (shaded from the sun by the floating part of the upper floor), extensive lawn space and the pool. The entire property is surrounded by hedges or walls to maintain privacy.

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Ten years after its inception, the property is once again in the spotlight because it has come up for sale. Its price tag? A not inconsiderable 3,011,806 dollars, or 18 million kuna. According to great regional portal Fiuman.hr, the property is listed on the pages of luxury real estate agent Croatia Sotheby's International Realty. For someone who can meet the asking price, Opatija Villa Design offers the chance to turn dream living into a reality.

All images © Croatia Sotheby's International Realty unless otherwise accredited

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Flights to Croatia: Eurowings Connects Four Croatian Cities with Berlin Brandenburg in Summer

January 23, 2021 - The latest news for flights to Croatia Eurowings connects four Croatian cities with Berlin Brandenburg in summer.

Croatian Aviation reports that Rijeka, Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik will have a direct line to Berlin's new airport this summer!

In its timetable for the upcoming summer season, Eurowings has announced these four routes as new. However, almost all of the above-mentioned Croatian airports previously had a connection to Berlin Tegel Airport. Since the airport is closed, traffic to Croatia will be transferred to the new airport, and for the first time, four Croatian cities will be directly connected to the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

The first line will be the Berlin - Split - Berlin line, before the Easter holiday. The flight will mark the start of the season on Saturday, April 3. The airline plans to operate on this route until October 30, every Saturday, and from June 1, the number of weekly flights will increase to two. Namely, an additional flight is introduced on Tuesdays. In this period, Eurowings will operate over 50 return flights between Split and Berlin and offer more than 17,500 seats in both directions. A319 and A320 aircraft have been announced on the route and all other routes to Croatia.

The Berlin - Dubrovnik - Berlin line will start operating on May 9 and run until the end of the summer flight schedule, October 24. One flight per week is available every Sunday, so Eurowings will offer around 8,200 seats on this line during the season.

The Berlin - Rijeka - Berlin line will be in operation from May 15 to October 30, also once a week, on Saturdays. Twenty-six return flights are planned, with Eurowings currently offering more than 8,500 seats between Berlin and Kvarner.

The Berlin - Zadar - Berlin line has been announced from May 22 to October 30 and will also operate on Saturdays once a week. The 25 announced return flights guarantee over 8,200 seats in both directions.

Eurowings will offer over 43,000 seats between Croatian airports and Berlin in the 2021 summer flight schedule.

Recall that in the summer of 2019, Eurowings operated from Berlin (ZL Tegel) to almost all airports in Croatia. In the summer season of 2020, only the Berlin-Split-Berlin route operated briefly. According to current announcements, Croatian airports will again be directly connected to the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport. 

The airline currently offers cheap tickets on routes from Croatia to Berlin, starting from 50 euros, with all prices on the official Eurowings website.

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Saturday, 16 January 2021

Bolt Launches Pilot Project for Renting Electric Scooters in Rijeka

January 16, 2021 - Bolt, one of the leading European platforms for on-demand transport services, presented a semi-annual pilot project for renting electric scooters in Rijeka in partnership with the City of Rijeka.

HRTurizam reports that as of January 15, an electric scooter can be unlocked in one of the 10 locations in the city center via Bolt's mobile application in Rijeka, and a scooter model designed and manufactured inside Bolt will be used. The scooter's speed is up to 20 km / h, and in certain select areas, such as the Promenade and part of the Riva, the speed is limited to 10 km / h.

Tomislav Lukačević, director of Bolt in Croatia, said their mission was to enable people to move around the city faster and easier.

“Avoiding crowds, especially during the summer season, is a big problem in cities like Rijeka. We noticed that we have many rides in Rijeka up to 3 kilometers, which makes it an ideal city for scooter travel. In this way, we solve two problems: we reduce the number of car rides and save our users time and money."

"Bolt globally has big plans in terms of micro-mobility with an investment of over 150 million euro in the coming period, which includes a plan to introduce electric scooter rental services in over 100 cities across Europe. We believe that the pilot project will show all the advantages of this mode of transport. Other cities will recognize it and cooperate with us to introduce this modern and environmentally conscious service. Thank you to the City of Rijeka for recognizing the value of this project and giving its full support," commented Ivan Begović, operational manager for scooters in Bolt Croatia.

To begin with, 200 scooters will be deployed in the center of Rijeka at 10 locations, traffic hotspots, and frequent locations such as Sušak Bridge, Fiumara Bus Station, Adriatic Square, Žabica, Railway Station, HNK Rijeka, Rijeka Department Store, Mladosti Hall, IGK Student Campus, and the University Campus. Each scooter comes with a built-in GPS device that will provide insight into their pick-up and drop-off locations and is unlocked by scanning the QR code via the app.

During the promotional period, unlocking the scooter will be free, while the price of use will be 75 lipa per minute of driving.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Flights to Croatia: LOT and Air Serbia Have No Rijeka Plans this Summer

January 13, 2021 -  The latest news for flights to Croatia as LOT and Air Serbia have no Rijeka plans this summer.

Croatian Aviation reports that LOT and Air Serbia are not currently planning to return to Rijeka Airport in the upcoming summer flight schedule.

The Serbian national airline announced in a press release a few days ago that it would not resume traffic on four international routes in the 2021 summer flight schedule, including the line between Belgrade and Rijeka.

The Belgrade-Rijeka line was introduced in June 2019 and operated twice a week on ATR75 aircraft. The line continued to operate in most of the 2019/2020 winter flight schedule, but traffic was suspended before the global pandemic due to weak demand.

In the summer of 2020, Air Serbia did not resume traffic on several routes to Croatia (to Pula, Rijeka, and Zadar). The airline confirmed that it would permanently cancel the line between Belgrade and Rijeka in the restructuring process.

The Polish national airline, LOT Polish Airlines, introduced a route between Warsaw and Rijeka in July 2020. Originally, before the global pandemic, the airline planned to operate on this route from the very beginning to the end of the summer flight schedule last year. Still, for objective reasons, this was not possible.

LOT aircraft landed on Krk from the beginning of July to the middle of September 2020, and the airline currently does not plan to resume traffic on this line in the summer flight schedule this year.

Although introducing this line in the 2020 summer flight schedule was a bold move by the airline, it is not clear why LOT decided not to continue operating to Rijeka in the summer of 2021. Namely, whatever result the airline achieved on this route last summer cannot be relevant given that at the time of the global pandemic, the occupancy of aircraft on almost all routes was extremely low.

The loss is not great considering that LOT to Rijeka operated briefly and only once a week. Still, even such a minimum frequency enabled direct air connections between Kvarner and the Polish capital.

It should be noted that the German leisure airline, Condor, also confirmed that it does not currently plan to reintroduce the Frankfurt - Rijeka route in the summer of 2021 but is leaving the possibility of changes until mid-March when it concludes its schedule for this year's summer flight schedule.

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Thursday, 7 January 2021

Kvarner Goes Green: Opatija and Rijeka Integrated Rail and Bus

January 7, 2021 – From the Bay of Bakar through the beaches of Rijeka to the opulence of Opatija and up, all the way to the border with Slovenia, Kvarner residents and visitors will be able to travel with just one ticket across the whole of the Rijeka integrated rail and bus network

An existing co-operation between rail and bus operators in Kvarner was today extended, allowing the Rijeka Integrated Rail and Bus network to continue for at least another year. This holds exciting implications for travel in the region for years to come.

Planned changes to the infrastructure of the coastal part of the north Kvarner Bay mean that within the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme, you will soon be able to travel from the Bay of Bakar, stop off at a series of Rijeka beaches, hop back on public transport to go to Opatija and even travel beyond the coast, all the way to the border with Slovenia, using just one ticket. Passengers will not be limited in their choice to travel by either aril or bus.

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An Autotrolej bus, longtime providers of local bus services in Rijeka © Grad Rijeka

The Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme, organised through Kvarner County, Rijeka, Matulji and Bakar Town Halls, rail and local bus operators is an eco-friendly drive that seeks to encourage people to leave their cars at home and instead choose public transport. However, access to the Rijeka integrated rail and bus network is not limited to commuting workers and travelling students. Although the scheme is most cost-effective using a monthly ticket, day tickets are available for the network which may be of huge appeal to visitors wishing to explore a wider portion of Kvarner's northern coast.

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The train station of Opatija Matulji © Damir Covic 1939 / Matulji Tourist Board

Rijeka integrated rail and bus: International

What makes the extension of the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme even more welcome is the planned overhaul of infrastructure that will accompany it.

Fifteen extra stations will be added (or reactivated) on the route between Kantrida in the west of Rijeka, along the Rijeka seafront and on to the outskirts of Bakar. Furthermore, the entire train line from Bakar to Šapjane will be brought into the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme with the completion of a second train track along the route.

Šapjane_train_station_from_Regiojet_1047_Prague_to_Rijeka.jpgTrains along the line at Šapjane. Next stop Slovenia! © DiningCar_

Šapjane, in the municipality of Matulji, lies 20 kilometres inland, north of Opatija. It sits right on the border with Slovenia. The train line extends across this border, through the Slovenian town of Ilirska Bistrica, and then on to Postojna and Ljubljana, Italy or Austria. This means the Rijeka integrated rail and bus scheme will be directly linked to another green, international travel network.

These routes will all be linked to the incoming, double-tracked Pan-European fast train network, which, as TCN highlighted last year, will connect this part of Kvarner with France, Spain and Portugal in the west all the way to eastern Hungary via Zagreb and Budapest. Needless to say, it will require more than a single day ticket (cvikalica) from the Rijeka integrated rail and bus network to make such a journey!

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

The Biggest Hit Of Advent 2020? Kvarner Christmas Online

January 5, 2020 – Thanks to the imaginative coverage of local portal Fiuman.hr, more than half a million people visited Kvarner Christmas online over the 2020 holidays. From the spectacular lights of Opatija and Rijeka, to toy bears in Rijeka cafe bars, this is what they saw...

Everyone will remember the Advent of 2020 as unusual. Many were separated from friends and family. Others weren't able to travel nor visit the places or people we wanted to. The difference was noted significantly in Croatia, where family means everything, especially at Christmas.

Over recent years, Croatia has become one of the best-known places in Europe to visit for the Advent season. Zagreb's award-winning Advent celebrations have spurred on efforts elsewhere in the country and many towns and cities in Croatia now pull out all the stops during Advent, gloriously decorating their streets and holding events that draw thrilled visitors.

Under the unusual constraints of 2020, one Advent season in Croatia imaginatively continued to draw the crowds. Although, it wasn't so much the streets that were jammed as it was the internet servers. With the considerable help of local news portal Fiuman.hr, Kvarner Christmas Online welcomed tens of thousands of visitors.

Thanks to the imaginative coverage of Fiuman.hr, Kvarner Christmas Online was visited by well over half a million people in 2020. While many bars in Europe remained closed to human customers, Rijeka cake and ice cream cafe Cacao took the opportunity to fill its empty chairs with toy bears during Kvarner Christmas Online. Fiuman.hr's video of the scene was viewed almost 245,000 times.

Their video of the Advent lights in the Gradina part of the city fared even better. Always a spectacular highlight of Kvarner Christmas online, Fiuman.hr's video of Gradina got more than 300,000 views.

With its beautiful city centre parks, peaceful walks and promenade, the Advent season of nearby Opatija has become an increasingly popular choice for visitors over the winter holidays. And, in 2020, that was still the case during Kvarner Christmas online. Fiuman.hr 's video from the Opatija park near Šporer generated over 190 thousand views.

It just goes to show that while the Advent of 2020 may have been curtailed in unexpected ways, there's no dampening of the love of Christmas and the festive spirit. Fiuman.hr's video viewers will surely be lining up to visit Kvarner Christmas in person as soon as they can.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Dinamo and Rijeka Players Make UEFA Europa League Breakthrough XI

December 31, 2020 - A great way to end the year for Dinamo and Rijeka players who made UEFA's Europa League Breakthrough XI!

As we come to the end of the year, which includes the end of last season's competitions, and all the qualifying rounds and the group stage of the new season, UEFA has taken time to reflect on some of the standout footballers that made a splash in 2020. 

Thus, UEFA's experts composed a team of the biggest breakthrough stars in the Europa League season, which included three Croatian footballers! 

And while it is not surprising that two Dinamo players are on the list, few expected Dinamo to be so convincing in the group with CSKA Moscow and Feyenoord. However, it's nice to see that Rijeka's goalkeeper Ivan Nevistić (22) was also recognized for this incredible goalkeeping effort so far. 

"The young custodian played every minute of Rijeka's group stage campaign, making a competition-high 28 saves in the process," said UEFA. 

Nevistić was primarily included in the team by numbers. Because even though he defended the team's goal that finished last in the group, even against much stronger rivals, Ivan amassed 28 saves in six games. Behind him with 23 saves were goalkeeper Hapoel Levitt and Zvezda goalkeeper Borjan.

The two Dinamo players in the breakthrough team are Joško Gvardiol (18) and Lovro Majer (22).

"The prototype of a modern-day centre-back, Gvardiol was key to Dinamo conceding just one goal in the entire group stage," describes UEFA of Joško, who played most of his games as a left-back, even though he is a stopper.

"An important cog in the Dinamo machine that performed so well in the group stage, Majer is technically proficient, fast and agile with an eye for goal," UEFA described Lovro Majer.

Dinamo convincingly won their group, secured first place after the penultimate round, and in the end, only Arsenal, Hoffenheim, and Bayer Leverkusen scored more points in the entire Europa League.

The entire Europa League breakthrough XI team includes Nevistić (Rijeka) - Guardiola (Dinamo), Carmo (Braga), Fofana (Leicester), Botman (Lille) - Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen), Kubo (Villarreal), Majer (Dinamo) - Gouiri (Nice), Nunez (Benfica), Malen (PSV).

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Two Million Kuna in Non-Refundable Funds for 126 Rijeka Enterprises

December the 31st, 2020 - 126 Rijeka enterprises will receive a generous amount in non-refundable funds for development and entrepreneurship in the area of that Northern Adriatic city.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, 126 Rijeka enterprises are set to receive a very welcome two million kuna in non-refundable subsidies for the development of entrepreneurship in the area of ​​the City of Rijeka, it was said at a press conference held at the Rijeka city administration on Monday.

The public invitation for the implementation of measures from the General Programme of Measures received as many as 508 applications, which is 22.8 percent more than was received back in 2019, while 452 applications were assessed as acceptable.

147 requests were accepted, submitted by 126 Rijeka enterprises (economic entities), Rijeka's Deputy Mayor Marko Filipovic and Head of Entrepreneurship Jana Sertic both reported.

The objectives of the General Programme of Measures to Encourage the Development of Entrepreneurship in the City of Rijeka are to strengthen the competitive presence of Rijeka enterprises out on the wider market, achieve practical education and better information when it comes to entrepreneurship, improve the availability of financial resources and use entrepreneurial space and information infrastructure for entrepreneurship.

The programme includes 23 measures, and nine measures have been implemented with this public invitation. The beneficiaries are small business entities, which are entirely privately owned and whose headquarters are in the area of ​​Rijeka, as well as associations whose purpose is to promote the economic interests of cluster members.

Due to the circumstances caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the costs of purchasing equipment and personal protective equipment for protection against the spread of coronavirus were recognised earlier on this year.

The City of Rijeka started announcing a public invitation for the awarding of non-refundable subsidies to Rijeka enterprises thirteen years ago, and since then, a total of 20.4 million kuna has been awarded.

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