Rijeka is the 3rd biggest city in Croatia. Based around a huge port, the largest in Croatia, it enjoys a distinct blend of the sea and mountains stretching from mount Ucka over mountain peak all the way to Velebit. Mountains of Gorski kotar, the cleanest region in Croatia, are the main reason for Rijeka's water and air having an exceptional freshness and quality. Bordered by two beautiful rivieras, Opatija and Crikvenicko-vinodolska riviera, and mount Platak, it is also in the vicinity of the Kvarner islands of Krk, Cres, Losinj and Rab.
Even though traces of neolithic settlements can be found in the area around Rijeka, it is considered that the city grew from the ancient celtic settlement of Tarsatica, today's Trsat, a part of Rijeka. Just like many coastal towns in Croatia, Rijeka has a story of turbulent history to tell. From the 5th century onwards, the town was ruled successively by the Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Lombards, Avars, Franks, Croats, Hungarians and Venetians, before coming under the control of the Archduchy of Austria, ruled by Austrian Habsburgs in 1466. It remained that way for over 450 years except for the French rule between 1805 and 1813, until its occupation by Italian and Croat irregulars at the end of World War.
In Rijeka, there are many historical wonders to see. Trsat, once a scouting fort on the 138m high cliff over Rijeka, is one of the oldest forts in Croatia and offers a splendid view on Rijeka city and Kvarner bay. In the fort there is a gallery with art exhibitions, summer concerts and open theatres, as well as the fashion shows and poetry nights. Korzo, the most known Croatian promenade started gathering crowds back in the early 19th century. Palaces that were built glorified the styles that took over each others place in time: clasicism, historycism, secession, Art Nouveau....
Cathedral of St. Vid is the only baroque rotunda of monumental proportions build on Croatian soil. It was built in the 17th century and was designed to resemble the Venecian church St. Maria della Salute.
City tower is one of the most known symbols of Rijeka. Originally a gate to the city, it was built in the medieval times.
One of the most important cultural places in Rijeka is the Shrine of Our Lady of Trsat, the largest centre of pilgrimage in western Croatia.
The biggest attraction of Rijeka is definately the Rijeka carnival. Being held for over 30 years, it has evolved into a world-known event everyone should come and visit, according to the foreign media. The international carnival started gathering over 10,000 people in the ceremony, with over 100,000 spectating the show. Recent reports rank the Rijeka carnival world's 3rd greatest, directly behind spectacular Rio de Janeiro and Venice carnivals.
Rijeka boat show, another spectacle of the city, presenting mostly ships built in Croatia, is higly profiled and regarded as one of the Croatia's top boat shows.