Sunday, 2 January 2022

Unknown Klimt: Works of Legendary Artist on Display in Rijeka After 136 Years

Early in his career, Gustav Klimt was commissioned to create three ceiling paintings for the new theatre building in Rijeka. It took 136 years for the public to finally get to see them up close. The exhibition Unknown Klimt: Love, death, ecstasy at the Rijeka City Museum provides a rare chance to discover the early works of the legendary artist 

 

Gustav Klimt is undoubtedly one of the most famous artists of all time. Did you know that three of his works have been created specifically to be displayed in Rijeka, Croatia? Not in a museum (not until recently, at least), but mounted on the ceiling of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc, along with six other works painted by Klimt’s brother Ernst and another Viennese artist, Franz Matsch. 

The theatre building in Rijeka was designed by the renowned Viennese architectural studio Helmer and Fellner, specialised for theatres and concert halls. Dozens of cultural landmarks were built after their plans across central Europe in the second half of the 19th century, including the Croatian National Theatre buildings in Zagreb and Varaždin. Out of their three theatre projects in Croatia, the one in Rijeka has the best preserved original form; it was also the first building in Rijeka to get electrical lighting and was equipped with the first telephone in town. 

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The Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka / Image by Antonio199Cro, Wiki Commons

In 1885, the architects commissioned artworks for the interior from three young Viennese artists who worked together under the name of Art Society (Die Künstler-Compagnie): brothers Gustav and Ernst Klimt, and Franz Matsch. They were all just getting their careers off the ground; Gustav, who would later become the biggest name of the three, was only 23 years old at the time. 

The artists were to produce nine large format paintings depicting mythical and historical scenes, widely popular at the time and also thematically suitable for theatre decor. The completed commissioned works were shipped to Rijeka and installed on the ceiling of the auditorium in the new theatre.

All three artists went their separate ways in years following the Rijeka commission. Ernst Klimt died young, in 1892, and was thus deprived of the chance to achieve notable artistic renown. His death also marked the end of the Art Society, as the other two artists decided to part ways and explore different artistic avenues. 

Gustav Klimt embraced the groundbreaking Art Nouveau style and eventually became the icon of the revolutionary movement, while Matsch chose the familiarity of the traditional academic milieu, going on to work as a portraitist in the aristocratic circles. 

The nine large canvases painted for the theatre in Rijeka provide valuable insight into the early stages of the artists’ careers, especially Gustav Klimt who would in time develop a particularly distinctive style not at all reminiscent of the classical theatrical decor. 

 

A once in a lifetime opportunity

In March and April 1885, right after the three artists completed the commission, the paintings were displayed in the Museum of Art and Industry in Vienna before they were shipped to Rijeka.

In 136 years since the works were painted, this was the single time they were displayed at ground level, in a museum environment where they could be admired by the public.

As soon as they arrived in Rijeka, they were mounted on the ceiling of the auditorium in the new theatre and remained at a height of some 20 metres above ground for over a century. While technically visible from the auditorium, one would have to strain their neck significantly trying to make out the main motifs of the paintings; they fit superbly into the grandeur of the ornate  theatrical decor, but it’s not the optimal way to appreciate the likes of Klimt. 

The paintings were restored once before as part of a larger scale renovation of the theatre building in 1978, but were not displayed publicly at the time. 

And then came 2020 and a grand exhibition at the Sugar Palace of the Rijeka City Museum. Unknown Klimt: Love, death, ecstasy literally provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the precious works up close and admire the intricate details. 

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Ernst Klimt, Genius With a Trumpet

In the preparatory stages of the exhibition planning, the nine paintings were dismantled from the theatre ceiling in 2018 and have undergone a thorough restoration. Works by Gustav Klimt and Matsch were restored by Ana Rušin Bulić and Goran Bulić at the Rijeka department of the Croatian Restoration Institute, while those created by Ernst Klimt were shipped to the Easel Painting Department of the Croatian Restoration Institute in Zagreb where Slobodan Radić performed restorative works. 

Once the exhibition closes and the canvases are installed back on the theatre ceiling where they belong, we’re unlikely to get another chance to admire them up close in our lifetime. Unknown Klimt was originally supposed to close in late 2021, but due to popular demand the exhibition was extended and will remain open until March 31st, 2022. 

If the road takes you to Rijeka - the upcoming carnival in February could be a nice motivator to visit - we urge you to stop by the Sugar Refinery Palace and avail of this rare opportunity to see the early works of the world famous master and his fellow artists.

Make sure to also check out the superb permanent exhibit at the Rijeka City Museum at the same location; it’s a must-see spot in Rijeka and is included in the ticket for the Klimt exhibition. 

 

The following nine works made for the Rijeka theatre are displayed at the exhibition Unknown Klimt: 

 

Gustav Klimt:

St. Cecilia

Anthony and Cleopatra

Orpheus and Eurydice

 

Ernst Klimt: 

Allegory of Theatrical Art

Genius with a trumpet

Genius with a basket of flowers

 

Franz Matsch: 

Allegory of Love Poetry

Allegory of Dance

Allegory of Comic Opera



Learn more about the exhibition at the Rijeka City Museum website

Thursday, 23 December 2021

Travelling from Zagreb to Rijeka by Rail? You Might Want to Reconsider

Railway connectivity between the capital and the biggest Croatian port has been more than inadequate lately, with no express lines available and a single direct line in operation

Rijeka city councillors Ivana Prica and Kristian Čarapić of SDP criticised the poor railway connectivity between Rijeka and Zagreb at a recent press conference, reported Novi list (Marinko Glavan). The councillors demanded that the Croatian Railways (HŽ) reinstate the high-speed train line between Rijeka and Zagreb that was scrapped last year.

‘The last remaining express service operating on the route Rijeka-Zagreb-Osijek was cancelled on December 24th of last year, while the express line Zagreb-Rijeka-Zagreb has been scrapped even earlier. It thus became impossible to travel by rail from Rijeka to Zagreb and back on the same day. It’s shameful that the capital city and the biggest port in Croatia aren't better connected in terms of railway passenger transport’, they said.

A quick search of the HŽ booking page reflects the painful reality of travelling by rail in Croatia. Not only is there no express service between Rijeka and Zagreb, but there’s only one direct line connecting the two cities at present. That particular trip takes 4.5 hours, a tedious ride compared to 2 - 2.5 hours it takes to get to the capital by bus or little over 1.5 hours if you’re travelling by car.

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Other four available services involve a change of train halfway through and take anywhere from 5.5 hours for an early morning service to almost 11 hours in case of a night line:

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Trip duration listed on the timetable is the best case scenario. The site warns that ‘due to work on certain sections of the railway, deviations from the published timetable are possible’. This is a frequent occurrence that’s more than likely to extend the duration of your trip by an hour or two and involves a transfer from a train to a bus.

The timetable could use some work as well. The only direct line departs from Rijeka at 1:58 PM and arrives in Zagreb at 6:29 PM. It’s unclear who would find this convenient, as you’d technically waste half a day before departure and would effectively be forced to stay in Zagreb overnight in case you need to get anything done.

There are two morning lines, departing at 5:30 and 7:35 AM, but they only arrive in the capital at 11 AM and 12:42 PM respectively. If you opted for one of these, you’d have no way of getting back to Rijeka on the same day, unless you were willing to either hop on a return train an hour after your arrival, or endure a 13-hour overnight train ride. Here’s the schedule:

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The only direct line from Zagreb to Rijeka departs at 8 in the morning and also has a 4.5 hour trip duration. The timetable doesn’t match a normal workday schedule, and frequent travellers on this route - such as college students - essentially don’t have a choice but to travel by bus.

It’s a shame, as travelling by rail is not only more comfortable than taking a bus, but is also the most sustainable mode of passenger and freight transport.

Bus lines between Zagreb and Rijeka (and vice versa) are much more frequent, with several companies operating on the route and departing every hour or so throughout the day.

There’s not much to complain about on that front, except if you were looking to make a day trip to Zagreb during the holiday season. The last Zagreb-Rijeka bus departs at 7 PM on most days (weekends included), so if you were hoping to revel in the festive spirit of Advent in Zagreb, you’d be limited to daytime activities.

Arguably, Christmas markets are best enjoyed in the evening, and you’d have an hour or so to get a cup of mulled wine and appreciate the sparkling lights before hurrying back to the bus station. This goes for those travelling back to Istria as well, as the mentioned 7 PM service is also the last one that continues on to Pazin and Pula after a stop in Rijeka.

Perhaps a good way for the capital to generate more overnight stays in December, but considering how popular Advent in Zagreb has been in recent years, it could use a few more bus lines in evening hours to accommodate those who don’t necessarily want to spend the weekend.

 

Monday, 20 December 2021

HNL Round 20 Recap: Hajduk and Osijek Draw at Sold Out Poljud, Dinamo Moves to 1st

December 20, 2021 - The 20th round of the Croatian First League was held from December 17 to 19, 2021. This round featured a sold-out derby between Hajduk and Osijek at Poljud Stadium, while Dinamo's victory pushed them into first place in the final round before the winter break. Here's our HNL round 20 recap. 

Slaven Belupo v. Lokomotiva (2:1)

Belupo and Lokomotiva opened the 20th round in Koprivnica on Friday, December 17, 2021. 

Krstanovic scored a penalty in the 2nd minute of stoppage time for 1:0 at the half. Dabro equalized for 1:1 in the 48th minute. Mario Marina put Belupo back in the lead for 2:1 in the 78th minute, which was the final score. 

 

Belupo is currently in 8th place with 19 points, while Lokomotiva is in 6th with 24. 

Gorica v. Šibenik (2:3)

Gorica and Šibenik met in Velika Gorica on Saturday, December 18, 2021, in front of 556 fans. 

Lovric scored the match's opening goal for 1:0 Gorica in the 12th minute. Jakolis equalized for 1:1 in the 30th. Delic put Šibenik in the lead in the 51st minute, while Stojanovski equalized in the 68th minute. Jakolis scored the winning goal for the final 2:3 Šibenik. 

 

Gorica is currently in 5th place with 29 points, while Šibenik is in 7th with 22. 

Rijeka v. Istra 1961 (1:0)

Rijeka and Istra met in the Della Ucka Derby on Saturday, December 18, 2021.

Obregon scored the match's only goal in the 82nd minute for the final 1:0 Rijeka.

 

Rijeka is currently in 2nd place with 40 points, while Istra is in 9th with 18.

Hr. Dragovoljac v. Dinamo (0:2)

Dragovoljac and Dinamo met in Zagreb on Sunday, December 19, 2021. 

Peric scored for 0:1 Dinamo in the 17th minute. Andric increased the lead to 0:2 in the 68th minute for the final score. 

 

Dragovoljac is in the last with 7 points, while Dinamo is in 1st place with 40 points (and one match in hand). 

Hajduk v. Osijek (0:0)

Hajduk and Osijek closed out the 20th round on Sunday, December 19, 2021, in front of over 30,000 fans at Poljud Stadium. 

While the game ended without goals, Osijek was awarded a penalty in the 13th minute. Bohar scored his first attempt, which the ref discounted and made him. retake. Lovre Kalinić was brilliant in goal with a save on his second attempt to keep the score even. 

Osijek coach Bjelica was sent off with a red card in the 70th minute. 

 

Hajduk is currently in 4th place with 35 points (and one match in hand), while Osijek is in 3rd place with 40 points. 

You can see the HNL standings HERE.

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

Monday, 13 December 2021

HNL Round 19 Recap: Hajduk and Lokomotiva Draw 3:3, Osijek Jumps to 1st

December 13, 2021 - The 19th round of the Croatian First League was held from December 10 to 12, 2021. This round saw Lokomotiva and Hajduk finish 3:3, Rijeka lose to Gorica, and Osijek jump to first place. Here is our HNL Round 19 recap. 

Istra 1961 v. Hr Dragovoljac (3:0)

Istra and Dragovoljac opened the 19th round on Friday, December 10, 2021, in Pula in front of 296 fans. 

Mahmoud opened the match with a goal for Istra in the 19th minute for 1:0. Bande increased Istra's lead to 2:0 eight minutes later. Lisica confirmed Istra's win with a goal in the 72nd minute for the final 3:0. 

 

Istra is currently in 8th place with 18 points (and one game less), while Dragovoljac is in last place with 7. 

Lokomotiva v. Hajduk (3:3)

Lokomotiva and Hajduk met in Zagreb on Saturday, December 13, 2021, in front of 2,776 fans. 

An own goal by Elez put Lokomotiva in the lead in the 11th minute. Livaja equalized for Hajduk in the 33rd for 1:1 at the half. Maric put Lokomotiva back in the lead in the 63rd minute, before Mlakar scored two goals in the 76th and 80th for the 2:3 Hajduk lead. A Katic own goal 6 minutes later gave Lokomotiva the 3:3 draw. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 6th place with 24 points, while Hajduk is in 4th with 34 (and one game less).

Rijeka v. Gorica (1:2)

Rijeka and Gorica met at Rujevica on Saturday, December 11, 2021, in front of 3,082 fans. 

Rijeka was weakened when Ampem received his second yellow in the 34th minute, forcing Rijeka to play with a man down for the rest of the match. Lovric scored for the Gorica lead in the 64th minute, and Delfi made it 0:2 in the 75th. Drmic scored one for Rijeka three minutes later for the final 1:2. 

 

Rijeka is currently in 2nd place with 37 points, while Gorica is in 5th with 29. 

Osijek v. Sibenik (3:1)

Osijek and Sibenik met on Sunday, December 12, 2021, at City Garden Stadium.

Mierez put Osijek in the lead from the 3rd minute, followed by a Bohar goal three minutes later for 2:0. Marin scored for Sibenik a minute after that for 2:1, though Kleinheisler scored in the 33rd for 3:1 at the half, which was also the final score.

 

Osijek has jumped to first place with 39 points, while Sibenik is in 7th place with 19. 

Dinamo v. Slaven Belupo (3:0)

Dinamo and Belupo closed out the 19th round on Sunday, December 12, 2021, at Maksimir Stadium. 

Andric put Dinamo in the lead in the 13th minute, followed by Orsic goals in the 19th and 25th minutes for the final 3:0. 

 

Dinamo is currently in 3rd place with 34 points (and two games less), while Belupo is in 9th with 16. 

You can see the HNL standings HERE

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

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Man Gathers Rijeka Homeless Population, Buys Them All Lunch at Restaurant

December the 8th, 2021 - A man has selflessly gathered together the Rijeka homeless population and bought lunch for them all at a restaurant so that they could have a bit of normality in their lives that we all typically just take for granted. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Marijan is the only bit of information we know about the man who gathered together the Rijeka homeless population and gifted them with something so kind. A project and accompanying magazine about the issue of homelessness recently began, entitled Street lamps/Ulicne svijetiljke. Part of it, entitled ''A family lunch, but nobody's blood related/Obiteljski rucak, a nitko u krvnom srodstvu'' describes the actions of the mysterious ''Marijan''.

Marijan. We have no idea what his surname is, we don't even know if his name is spelled Marijan or without the "i" or perhaps even without the "j". This man called the editorial office with the idea that he wanted to treat all of the users of the Street lamps project in Rijeka to lunch. He very modestly and simply explained that he reads the magazine and that he "found himself" in some stories and that every part belongs to us, feeling great sympathy for the Rijeka homeless population.

A time was arranged, the mystery man Marijan chose the place, and the Rijeka homeless population got together as a family might do.

What does Marijan look like? We have no idea because he didn't come. He became unwell so he didn't join us, but he didn't want to cancel the lunch. He simply said; ''I don’t matter, THEY matter,'' and then he sent his friend’s son to the restaurant with the money to settle the bill.

This act of kindness from a complete stranger who clearly had no ego involved as he didn't want to disclose much information about himself and didn't even turn up should act as a reminder to us all about what the festive season is truly all about.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 6 December 2021

Visiting Rijeka in Winter? Here’s What to See, for Free

The Rijeka Winter Pass grants free admission to a number of city’s attractions to all visitors staying in Rijeka for more than two days in the winter months. Check out our detailed overview of all the attractions included in the offer and enjoy exploring ‘the city that flows’

TCN recently reported that the Rijeka Tourist Board launched a Winter Pass, a special promotion that includes free admission to a dozen attractions in the city.

Anyone who books accommodation in Rijeka (min. 2 nights) before March 31st 2022 will be sent a QR code upon arrival. The code provides free entrance to several museums and other popular attractions in Rijeka - more info here.

It’s a great offer, reflecting just how much there is to see in the charming port city in the offseason. Considering booking a trip to Rijeka? We prepared a detailed overview of all the attractions included in the Winter Pass, grouped by location for your convenience.

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Starting downtown across the street from the main railway station, we’ll first head to the former industrial compound that’s well on its way to transforming into a lively cultural district.

The Rikard Benčić complex consists of several buildings that used to house some of the most prolific manufacturing plants in the city, such as the sugar refinery, the tobacco factory and the factory of engines and tractors. After they’d all closed down, the location was neglected for decades until a massive reconstruction project kicked off a few years ago.

The new art quarter will consist of two museums, the city library and a children’s house. We’ll start our tour with two cultural hotspots included in the Winter Pass that have already moved into their new homes.


City Museum of Rijeka: The Sugar Palace

If your stay in Rijeka only allows for one museum visit, make it this one - and not just because of the appealing name.

Housed in the seat of the former sugar refinery, the new permanent exhibit of the City Museum of Rijeka was introduced in 2020 and has already won over the locals and tourists alike.

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The city’s history is laid out chronologically and in themed sections covering various facets of life in Rijeka through the ages. Highly interactive and never boring, the collection offers insight into the local culture and presents historical events in a captivating way.

You’ll see why the museum refers to the exhibit as a ‘playful time machine’; each room is a little world of its own. Groundbreaking inventions, touching stories of emigration, political turmoil, inception of advertising, local cuisine, music legends… There’s always more to discover around the next corner of the gorgeous historical palace.

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Kids will love it too - there are games, quizzes, music booths and other interactive content scattered around the exhibit.

Working hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 6pm
Address: Krešimirova 28
Website: City Museum of Rijeka

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

Wandering around a city for the first time, some locations can be hard to find. Not the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art - just look for the brightest, loudest, reddest facade in town.

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The red facade is a work of artist Dora Budor named Red Monochrome (There’s something terrible about reality and I don’t know what it is. No one will tell me.). Photo: PJ Rountree, source: MMSU

Having changed location several times since its inception, Rijeka’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art finally found a home it deserves in the newly restored H-building at the former industrial compound Rikard Benčić.

The new environment grew organically: the museum adopted a philosophy named ‘we need it - we do it’, presented as part of the Croatian pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennial of Architecture. Essentially, the MMCA moved to its new home as soon as conditions allowed it once the basic renovation works were completed.

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© City of Rijeka (rijeka.hr)

From that point on, the museum and its home have been developing gradually and attuned to the needs of the community. MMCA is equally dedicated to celebrating champions of modernism and showcasing the work of up-and-coming contemporary artists.

What’s on at the moment? Don’t miss the video retrospective of Sanja Iveković, titled Make Up - Make Down after one of her famous works. Iveković has had a prolific artistic career mostly focusing on photography, video and performance, and she’s also the first Croatian female artist to get a retrospective at New York’s MoMA.

 
Working hours: Tue – Fri: 12 am – 7 pm, Sat – Sun: 12 am – 5 pm
Address: Krešimirova 26c

Website: Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

 

Exit the Benčić complex and head towards the main bus station for the next item on our list:

 

Rijeka Torpedo – First in the world

Did you know that the world’s first modern torpedo was invented in Rijeka? A unique exhibition housed in an old railroad warehouse tells the story of torpedo manufacturing in Rijeka.

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A short recap: in the 19th century, naval officer Ivan Luppis from Rijeka presented his model for an explosive floating device to Robert Whitehead, an English engineer who managed a factory in town. The design had some faults which rendered it unusable, so Whitehead built upon the original model and came up with the world’s first self-propelled torpedo.

Having secured investment from the Austrian government, Whitehead opened the first torpedo factory in Rijeka in 1870. It grew into a successful enterprise of international renown, producing up to 160 torpedoes a month by the middle of the 20th century.

Back to the exhibition… Torpedoes and related exhibits are displayed in an insanely atmospheric space, designed to evoke a sense of being underwater. Soothing audio backdrops and gentle lighting have a mesmerizing effect and make for an unforgettable learning experience - you’ll enjoy diving in.


Working hours: visit by prior arrangement only, contact +385 51 351 092 or +385 91 502 1231
Address: Žabica 4, Railroad Warehouse

Website: Torpedo of Rijeka

 

On to our next location, a short walk uphill from the main promenade Korzo. Several attractions included in the Winter Pass are to be found in and around the grand Governor’s Palace:

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Zoran Kurelić Rabko


Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral Rijeka

What will you find behind this mouthful of a name? A lovely museum dedicated to the vast maritime heritage of the area, located in the stunning Governor’s Palace that overlooks the city center.

Their collection features one of the five remaining life jackets from the Titanic, the only preserved one in Europe - click here for a deeper look into the fascinating story.

Among all the objects and exhibits on display, the crown jewel is perhaps the building itself. A late 19th century masterpiece, the palace was built as the residence and seat of the city governor during Hungarian rule.

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Image source: Roberta F on Wiki Commons

Designed in the neo-Renaissance style, the palace was furnished and decorated by local artisans and artists - not a common occurrence as Hungarian officials at the time typically preferred to employ their nationals on such projects.

The Governor’s Palace is alone worth a visit to the Maritime and History Museum - consider it sightseeing at its finest. Explore the collection in the many splendid salons and finish the tour with a short stroll through the garden.

Working hours: Monday 9am - 4pm, Tuesday - Saturday 9am - 8pm, Sunday 9am - 1pm
Address: Trg Riccarda Zanelle 1

Website: Maritime and History Museum

 

The “Cube”, Rijeka City Museum

Before the City Museum moved the bulk of its collection to the Sugar Palace, it used to be displayed at the Cube building (Kockica in Croatian).

It remains open to visitors and will continue to host temporary exhibitions related to the history of Rijeka. Aside from an occasional exhibition, there’s not much to see at the museum itself these days, but it’s worth checking out for the architecture that stands out against the historical backdrop of the city center.

Purposely built in the 1970s to house the museum and designed by Croatian architect Neven Šegvić, the Cube is known as one of the most notable works of modern architecture in Rijeka.

The museum is located to the left of the Governor’s Palace.

Working hours: Tuesday - Friday 4pm to 7pm; Saturday 10am - 2pm
Address: Trg Riccarda Zanelle 1/1
Website: Rijeka City Museum

 

Natural History Museum Rijeka

Take a short walk through the park east of the Governor’s Palace and you’ll find a 19th century villa housing the Natural History Museum.

The original permanent exhibit was designed after the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, albeit on a smaller scale. Today, the museum collection features some 90.000 items related to the natural history of Rijeka and the region.

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Natural History Museum Rijeka - Facebook

Numerous themed exhibits are displayed at the museum, including an aquarium, a mineral collection, a paleontology collection, and displays showcasing endemic and indigenous species from insects and reptiles to sharks.

It’s a fun place to explore and doubles as an educational visit - if you’re travelling with kids, make sure to stop by.

Working hours: Monday - Friday 9am to 8pm (break 3-4pm), Saturday and Sunday 9am to 8 pm (break 1-2pm)

Address: Lorenzov prolaz 1

 

The next two attractions are both located a few minutes’ walk from the Governor’s Palace.


Peek & Poke – Computer Museum

Need a change of scenery after all the regular museums? Here’s one that doubles as a time machine that everyone will love!

Peek&Poke is a display of vintage computers, gaming consoles, calculators and other bits of 20th century technology. Founded by a group of computer enthusiasts in 2007, the museum now houses a collection of more than 1000 exhibits sourced all over the world.

True to their name, they allow the visitors to poke at a good deal of displayed devices. Depending on your age, it’ll either be a trip down the memory lane or a rare opportunity to have a go at a few consoles of the past - enjoyable either way.

More fun awaits next door at the Museum of Childhood, run by the same crew as Peek&Poke. It’s a delightful display of children’s games, toys, books and other objects associated with childhood that were all used and loved in the past - the oldest exhibit dates to 1900.

The collection was built by citizens who loved the idea when the concept was first introduced and donated their old games and toys. It’s a heartwarming place that’s sure to induce some nostalgia; look around and see if anything brings back memories of the good old days.

Address: Ivana Grohovca 2
Working hours: October 15th to May 1st - Saturday 11am to 4pm. Prior arrangement is needed to visit Peek&Poke on other days of the week - contact them through this form
Website: Peek&Poke, Museum of Childhood

 

JGL Pharmacy Museum

Tucked away in the Old town in Rijeka is a unique destination that’s sure to spark your curiosity. Explore the hissstory of pharmacy, invites the friendly snake on the wall - the symbol of medicine and mascot of the JGL Pharmacy Museum.

The specialized museum presents the history of pharmacy on a global scale with a focus on Croatia. They’ve done a superb job with the permanent display, where VR and AR meet authentic historical exhibits such as vintage tablet-making machines and a 1909 cash register.

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© JGL Pharmacy Museum

The star of the show? The central exhibit, an impeccably recreated front-end space of a typical pharmacy from the first half of the 20th century.

In case you’re wondering, the JGL in the name stands for Jadran-Galenski Laboratorij, a Croatian pharmaceutical giant that established the unique museum in collaboration with the Rijeka City Museum.

Working hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 7pm, Sunday 10am- 2pm
Address: Užarska ulica 11
Website: JGL Pharmacy Museum

Guided tours available upon request (price: 120kn)

 

And finally, three notable attractions outside the city center:


Trsat Castle

Perched on a hill above the city, the Trsat Castle offers a phenomenal view over the city and the Kvarner Bay, best enjoyed with a cup of coffee or a cocktail at the courtyard café.

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Romulic and Stojcic

It’s a lively location these days, currently hosting a grand Advent programme that has the castle wrapped in Christmas lights - 11 kilometres in total!

The castle had a pretty eventful history: it was built by the noble family Frankopan in the 13th century and was later owned by Venetians and the Habsburgs. The present layout is owed to Laval Nugent, an Austrian field-marshal of Irish origin who got possession of the castle in 1826.

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Romulic and Stojcic

Nugent restored the castle and expanded the structure with a few additions, the most notable being his family mausoleum whose entrance is guarded by two peculiar creatures - read more here.

There’s a lot to do here beyond enjoying the vistas. The castle grounds host food festivals and cultural manifestations throughout the year, with plenty of concerts and plays taking place in the summer months. The fort is also home to a sleek interpretation centre for visitors, one of the stops on The routes of the Frankopans, a cultural-tourist route you can learn more about here

Working hours: entrance to the castle grounds 9am - 12am daily; interpretation centre for visitors: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 6pm

 

The Astronomical Centre

Opened in 2009, the Astronomical Centre in Rijeka is the only such facility in Croatia that has both an observatory and a planetarium.

It’s located on a hill outside the city centre, in a former fortress built during World War II. Thoroughly renovated, the centre now features the only planetarium in the region that uses digital technology.

There are several reasons to visit the Astronomical Centre. If you’re fascinated by space, you can attend one of the presentations or films about the universe, screened on the ceiling of a spherical dome:

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 © Astronomical Centre Rijeka

Quite a unique venue, but there’s more: the rooftop of the Astronomical Centre offers one of the best views in Rijeka any time of day, but turns absolutely spectacular at night. It’s a perfect place for evening drinks (yes, there’s a bar), with the shimmering lights of Rijeka and the Opatija riviera reflected in the Kvarner bay.

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 © Astronomical Centre Rijeka

The facilities of the Astronomical Centre are wheelchair accessible.

Working hours: Tuesday - Saturday 8am to 10pm
Address: Sveti križ 33

Website/event schedule: Astronomical Centre Rijeka


Swimming Pools Kantrida

How about a few laps in the pool for a change of pace after all the sightseeing? Fans of active vacations can use their Rijeka Winter Pass to avail of free use of swimming pools in the city neighbourhood Kantrida.

The Kantrida swimming pool complex consists of five pools: indoor and outdoor Olympic pools, a 25m pool, a children’s pool and a diving pool. The facilities meet the standards of largest water sports competitions and are entirely wheelchair accessible.

DJI_0086-1-scaled.jpg© Visit Rijeka (visitrijeka.hr) 

Added bonus: the sports complex is situated right above the beach. We don’t expect many enthusiasts wanting to take a dip in winter months, but it’s a lovely spot to have a coffee with a view or take a short walk by the sea.

Working hours: Mon, Tue, Wed and Fri 7am to 10pm, Thu 9am to 10pm, Sat 7am to 4pm, Sun 8am to 3pm
Address: Podkoludricu 2

Check out the timetable to see when the pools are open to the public.

 

Monday, 6 December 2021

Croatian Cup Semifinal Draw: Osijek, Rijeka, Gorica, and Hajduk Learn Opponents

December 6, 2021 - The Croatian Cup semifinal draw was held at the Croatian Football Federation headquarters on Monday. 

In the Croatian Football Cup semifinals, Rijeka will play against Osijek at Rujevica Stadium and Hajduk will face Gorica at Poljud, according to the draw held on Monday in Zagreb.

The semifinal matches will be played on March 1 and 2, 2022. There were no top seeds in the draw and the semifinals will be played in one match.

The Cup final will be played on May 22 next year at Poljud Stadium in Split.

This is a great opportunity for Hajduk, which has played 19 consecutive Cup games away. Hajduk last won the Cup in 2013, which is also the last trophy for the Split club. Hajduk has the chance to play two home games in the Cup and a historic opportunity for their first trophy in eight years. The last time Split hosted the Cup was in March 2016 in the semifinal match against Dinamo.

The Rijeka and Osijek match will certainly be a bit more competitive, though Rijeka will have the home pitch advantage. 

Split will be the seventh different host of the final match for the Croatian Cup since the decision was made in 2016 that only one match will decide the winner of this trophy. The hosts of the previous six finals were Osijek, Varaždin, Vinkovci, Pula, Šibenik, and Velika Gorica.

Recall, in the quarterfinal matches which were played on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, Gorica topped Istra on penalties, Hajduk beat Lokomotiva 6:3, and Osijek beat Belupo on penalties. In the last quarterfinal, Rijeka knocked out Dinamo 3:1, which forced the resignation of Dinamo coach Damir Krznar. 

The sports betting company SuperSport became the title sponsor of the Croatian Football Cup this year. The most massive football competition thus bears the name SuperSport Croatian Football Cup for the 2021/22 season.

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

Monday, 6 December 2021

HNL Round 18 Recap: Hajduk Tops Dinamo 2:0 in 'Eternal Derby' at Maksimir

December 6, 2021 - The 18th round of the Croatian First League was held from December 4 to 6, 2021. This round saw Hajduk win the 'Eternal Derby' against Dinamo, while Osijek and Gorica drew, and Istra and Belupo will close out the round tonight. Here is our HNL round 18 recap (so far). 

Gorica v. Osijek (1:1)

Gorica and Osijek opened the 18th round on Saturday, December 4, 2021, in Velika Gorica in front of 673 fans. 

Prsir scored for the Gorica lead in the 6th minute, which they maintained until the 3rd minute of stoppage time when Osijek's Hiros scored for 1:1 at the half. Kleinheisler was booked for his second yellow in the 61st minute, forcing Osijek to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. 

 

Gorica is currently in 5th place with 26 points, while Osijek is in 2nd with 35 (and one game less). 

Rijeka v. Hr. Dragovoljac (4:1)

Rijeka and Dragovoljac met at Rujevica Stadium on Saturday, December 4, 2021. 

Rijeka's scoring spree started in the 16th minute when Obregon found the back of the net for 1:0. Muric increased Rijeka's lead to 2:0 in the 44th minute. Muric scored again in the 47th minute to increase Rijeka's lead to 3:0, but Petkovic gave Dragovoljac some hope with a goal in the 67th minute for 3:1. Muric secured his hattrick with his third goal in the 80th minute for the final 4:1. 

 

Rijeka is currently in first place with 36 points (and one game less), while Dragovoljac is in last place with 7. 

Lokomotiva and Sibenik (1:1)

Lokomotiva and Sibenik met in Zagreb on Sunday, December 5, 2021. 

Gorican put Lokomotiva in the lead in the 39th minute with a goal for 1:0 at the half. Curic equalized for Sibenik in the 66th minute for 1:1. which was the final score. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 6th place with 23 points, while Sibenik is in 7th with 19. 

Dinamo v. Hajduk (0:2)

Dinamo and Hajduk met in the 'Eternal Derby' on Sunday, December 5, 2021, in front of around 10,000 fans. 

While the first half went without goals, Hajduk's king Marko Livaja chipped Livakovic for 0:1 in the 60th minute. Then, Livaja assisted Sahiti at the top of the box for a late-match screamer in the 4th minute of stoppage time and the final 0:2 for Hajduk. 

 

Dinamo is currently in 4th place with 31 points (and two games less), while Hajduk is in 3rd with 34 (and one game less). 

Istra 1961 v. Slaven Belupo - December 6, 2021, at 18:00.

Istra and Belupo will close out the 18th round on Monday evening. Istra is currently in 8th place with two games behind, while Belupo is in 9th place with one game behind.  We will update this article once the match finishes. 

You can see the HNL standings HERE

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

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Croatian Cup Quarterfinals: Osijek Wins on Penalties, Rijeka Knocks Out Dinamo for Semis

December 1, 2021 - The Croatian Cup quarterfinals came to an end on Wednesday as Osijek topped Slaven Belupo on penalties and Rijeka knocked out Dinamo 3:1 at Maksimir to secure their spots in the semifinals. 

Osijek became the third semifinalist of this season's Croatian Cup on Wednesday, beating Slaven Belupo 5:4 on penalties after no goals were scored in 120 minutes at City Garden Stadium. 

Although there were no goals, this quarterfinal match was full of events, as both teams missed a penalty during regulation time and both finished the match with 10 players in extra time. 

In the 94th minute, Žaper received a direct red card, and in the 108th minute, Kvržić was booked for his second yellow card. 

During the penalty shootout, Belupo was first to gain the advantage after Osijek captain Škorić shook the crossbar, but Goda missed immediately after. In the sixth round, Zirdum hit the crossbar, and Daku was precise for Osijek to push them into the top four.

Osijek thus joined Gorica and Hajduk, which reached the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Gorica beat Istra 1961 on penalties, and Hajduk defeated Lokomotiva 6-3 in Zagreb. 

Dinamo and Rijeka met in the last quarterfinal match at Maksimir on Wednesday. 

Obregon scored Rijeka's first goal in the 27th minute for the 0:1 lead. Josip Drmić scored three minutes later to make it 0:2 for Rijeka at the half. 

Dinamo couldn't score until the 73rd minute when Marko Tolić gave the home team hope for 1:2. 

Dinamo could not equalize even in the nearly 8 minutes of stoppage time added by the referee, and after putting in a last-minute effort, it was Rijeka to secure the last Croatian Cup semifinal spot with a goal in the 98th minute for 1:3. 

Rijeka, Gorica, Osijek, and Hajduk will fight in the Croatian Cup semifinals in the spring of 2022.

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

Monday, 29 November 2021

Rags to Riches to Ruin: 200 Years of Hartera, Croatia’s Iconic Paper Factory

Did you know that the first steam engine in the Balkans was installed at a paper factory in Croatia? Or that the same manufacturing plant produced 7% of all cigarette paper in the world? It’s been 200 years since the foundation of the Rijeka Paper Mill, which grew into an industrial giant of international renown only to meet its demise in the early 2000s. A look at the legendary Hartera on November 29th, 2021

Better known by its nickname Hartera, the Rijeka Paper Mill used to be one of the focal points in the city renowned for its (former) industrial glory. Founded by a local industrialist in 1821 and further expanded by foreign investors, the factory grew into a wildly successful business over time. Hartera provided jobs to thousands of workers, its paper products were exported worldwide, and won medal after medal at international expos. 

Alas, much like the majority of industry in Rijeka (and the rest of the country), the Paper Mill fell victim to the economic turmoil that followed after the war in the 90s. The factory ceased operating and the insolvency proceedings drew to a close in 2005.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Hartera’s foundation, and the City Museum of Rijeka marked the occasion with an exhibition dedicated to the Paper Mill, its history and its workers. Named Hartera bez harte (paper mill without paper), the exhibition inspired this article as an homage to the legendary factory and its illustrious past.

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Exhibition Hartera bez harte at the City Museum of Rijeka

 

The story of Hartera begins with rags. 

Humble rags once used to be highly coveted goods: paper was predominantly manufactured from cloth fibers until 1886 when cellulose replaced fabric as the main substance used in paper production. 

Rag trade thus became quite a prolific commercial activity in these parts. Peddlers called cunjari visited small villages and went from door to door, collecting used linen and hemp cloth which they later resold to bigger buyers. Rags were in demand worldwide, and so tonnes of old cloth sourced in all parts of Croatia got exported to Trieste, London, Liverpool and New York via the harbour in Rijeka. 

Andrija Ljudevit Adamich, a trader, industrialist and one of Rijeka’s best known historical figures saw an opportunity in the booming rag trade. He purchased a mill on the river Rječina in 1821, repurposing the existing facilities into a paper mill which soon employed 21 workers.

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The Rijeka Paper Mill in the 20th century / Nova riječka enciklopedija - Fluminensia

The business turned out to be more of a headache than a success for Adamich. It was a time of general economic hardship, and manufacturing was made more difficult due to high production costs and procurement issues. A few years later the company was sold to foreign investors, namely Charles Meynier and Walter Crafton Smith who turned the struggling business into one of Rijeka’s industrial giants. They expanded and modernised the manufacturing plant and promptly installed a Foudrinier, the best paper making machine available at the time. Oh, and… 

The first steam engine in the Balkans

Business picked up quickly after Meynier and Smith took over, and it wasn’t long until the factory employed 250 people to meet the production demand. As the output increased, manufacturing required more power, leading the owners to obtain a steam engine for the factory in 1833 - the first one in the Balkans.

It didn’t take long for Hartera paper to start amassing accolades at major industrial expos. It won a silver medal at the First industrial exhibition in Vienna in 1835, followed by awards won in Paris, Munich, London, Barcelona and Melbourne. 

Interestingly enough, the company only launched its products domestically in 1878. For the first 50 or so years of operation, paper products made in Hartera were only sold on foreign markets: Italy, England, USA, Brasil, East India, and the eastern Mediterranean from Greece and Turkey to Jordan and Egypt. 

IMG_20211125_114040-min_2.jpg

 

Poor working conditions

While the factory might have had the best manufacturing equipment money could buy at the time, and operated with such success that its workforce expanded significantly with each passing year, working conditions were far from ideal. 

At the end of the 19th century, the company employed some 600 people; the factory operated around the clock, with everyone working 12 hour shifts with a single one hour break. No workwear or protective gear was provided to employees, leading to frequent injuries on the floor.

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Workers at the rag sorting hall

Hygiene standards weren’t a thing either, the rag sorting facility being the worst offender in this regard. The workers had to sort through mounds of dirty used fabric riddled with bacteria (again, without any protective gear), leading to a slew of infectious diseases. 

Considering that some diseases were not yet studied or had no known cure at the time, they were often referred to by alternate names. Anthrax was widely known as the woolsorter’s disease, or in Hartera’s case, cunjavica - the ragpicking disease. In the late 1880s, a particularly severe outbreak of anthrax resulted in the tragic death of 22 women workers.

On labour rights

Fed up with the poor working conditions, workers from several factories in Rijeka got together in 1906 and staged a mass strike. All 600 of Hartera’s workers joined the strike with a few demands: they called for shorter shifts, a day off on Sundays, and a 20% raise. Additionally, they asked for an employee board to be established, composed of eight workers who would serve as intermediaries between the company owners and the rest of the workforce. 

The management responded by firing them all. 

Things started to look up in the following few decades, though. Several syndicates negotiated with the management, leading to a collective agreement in 1938 which saw quite a few improvements to the working conditions at the paper mill. Employees were to work eight hour shifts, six days a week, and get paid every Saturday. Men earned 5 dinars per hour, whereas women got 4,5. After two years of employment, all workers earned a right to six vacation days a year. The company was also finally required to provide protective workwear and washing facilities with cold and hot water.

 

Why ‘Hartera’? 

The Rijeka Paper Mill was officially named Tvornica papira (paper factory), but the enterprise has more often been referred to as Hartera to this day. Where does the nickname come from? 

The Croatian word for paper is papir, but is called harta in the local dialect - which soon resulted in hartera, a logical name for a place where harta was made. 

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Pero Lovrović Pjer / Nova riječka enciklopedija - Fluminensia

 

Paper production

A wide range of products was manufactured in Hartera ever since the factory first started operating, mostly various types of writing and packaging paper. 

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Cigarette paper was first made at the factory towards the end of the 19th century, and over time became one of the company’s most popular products. Quality was of utmost importance, and the factory even procured a tobacco blend called harman to test the rolling paper on the particular blend it was made for. 

In the 1980s, Hartera accounted for 7% of global cigarette paper production. 

 

4 billion matches a year

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In 1971, one part of the Hartera plant was repurposed into a match factory named Parafinka. It was the only paraffin match factory in former Yugoslavia and became immensely successful within a decade: a report from 1981 shows that Parafinka produced around 48 million matchboxes that year, each box containing 80 matches. That’s close to 4 billion matches! If the figure is hard to grasp, let’s put it this way: if you were to arrange all those matches in a single line, it would circle the Earth three times.

Matches were made of Hartera’s thin, tightly rolled paper and then dipped in paraffin, resulting in a product which was thinner and shorter than wooden matches. The packaging was quite attractive, with colourful prints announcing major events and manifestations, advertising businesses, or promoting the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. 

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Parafinka matches were exported worldwide, including Libya, Egypt, USSR, Hong Kong, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

 

Crises, disasters and the final blow

In almost two centuries of operation, the paper mill faced economic crises, wars, and a few natural disasters. The river Rječina was the main source of power for the factory, but also a destructive force. One severe flood damaged the plant in 1852, and the entire mill had to close down for several months after another disastrous flood in 1898. Flooding wasn’t the only threat: various parts of the plant burned down on four occasions at the turn of the 20th century. 

Hartera survived all the hardships and - save for a few hiccups - continued to thrive until the war. In 1991, the company was at the height of its power: it employed over a thousand people and was the second biggest paper manufacturer in Europe.

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Rijeka Paper Mill bulletin from 1990 / Nova riječka enciklopedija - Fluminensia

Unfortunately, the war times and the economic turmoil that followed turned out to be the only hardship Hartera couldn’t survive. Substantial losses led to the factory closing down and the company declaring insolvency in 2005. 

Uncertain future 

After the paper mill ceased operating, the factory turned into a unique venue for a music festival. Named after the location, the Hartera Music Festival took place in the derelict factory halls until 2016, when the ruinous objects were declared unsafe and the festival moved to another location. 

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Hartera Music Festival in 2008. Source: Tim Ertl / Flickr

The Hartera festival was part of an initiative aiming to revitalize the area and preserve an important part of Rijeka’s industrial heritage. The City initially expressed interest, but the plans fell through due to lack of funding and a bureaucratic wall; the same happened a few years later after another initiative was devised to transform the Hartera complex into a socio-cultural centre which was supposed to breathe life - and business - into the largely abandoned area.

It remains to be seen if anything will come of the plans to revive the rundown factory. The outlook isn't hopeful, but one thing is certain: the Hartera paper factory and its workers are an integral piece of Rijeka's history and will always remain a part of the collective memory of its citizens. 

 

 

The content of this article is largely based on the information displayed at the exhibition Hartera bez harte at the City Museum of Rijeka (author of the exhibition: Kristina Pandža). Unless noted otherwise, photos were taken by the author of the article.

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