There must be a number of reasons why Rijeka is the only Croatian city with no less than three museums in Italy, namely, the Archive and the History Museum of Rijeka in Rome, the D’Annunzio Vittoriale on Lago di Garda and the Museum of Dalmatian, Rijeka and Istria Culture in Trieste. In order to understand the beauty of this city of distinctively complex history it is necessary to imbibe the impressions slowly and devote a few days to walks and exploration, going down to the sea and up to the Trsat Castle and the Trsat Sanctuary of Mary. .
Irishman and Croatian patriot Laval Nugent, one of the three field marshals of the Habsburg Monarchy in the middle of the 19th century, had the old Frankopan castle restored and the first museum in Croatia established in 1843, containing the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Giorgione, Titian, Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto etc., eighty of which are held in the Maritime and History Museum (Governor’s Palace). The castle also contains two metal dragons made by Anton Dominik von Fernkorn, the most famous sculptor of horse riders in the 19th century.
On the other side, there is the Trsat Sanctuary of Mary. Regardless of its modest architecture it is one of the most significant ones in the Catholic world owing to the legend that it was built in the place where angels had transferred Mary’s small house, the one in which the archangel Gabriel had announced that she would bear Christ. Today, Mary’s house is in Loreto, in the vicinity of Ancona, with a grandiose church constructed over it.
In the Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral it is possible to see an unusual crown consisting of black heads with white turbans, called morčić or moretto, a typical Rijeka souvenir.
The Rijeka Theatre was designed by the Vienna architects Fellner and Helmer, as one of their 53 theatres. The oil paintings by the creator of secession Gustav Klimt can be seen in the theatre. The divine Sarah Bernard performed here while D’Annunzio gave a reading from his La Nave in 1907.
Rijeka does not have big squares due to its position along the narrow coastline, but there is the main city promenade Korzo, which is its beating heart. Numerous shops, department stores and a multitude of bars and restaurants make it the perfect place to have fun and relax.
The port was projected by the Frenchman Pascal, the author of ports of Marseille and Trieste.
In the year 1912, the passenger boat Carpathia left Rijeka on its regular route to New York. By a combination of circumstances, Carpathia was the first to arrive to save the passengers from the sunken Titanic! From this best-known world maritime disaster, a life jacket from the Titanic has been kept and it is exhibited in the Maritime and History Museum..
Nowadays, it is possible to experience the port as well as the whole city from the two-kilometre long breakwater – promenade, which was originally named after the empress Maria Theresa.