Antun Barac – ‘Fiume’ in English

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‘Fiume’

(passing impressions, July 1919)
by Antun Barac – translated by Martin Mayhew

Three beautiful, sunny, autumnal days. I don’t know what happened. In a single morning all the ties snapped, that were holding the voice in the throat, that loosened the links, that were chaining the feet, the heavy and rigid mask fell, that was hiding the face. A quiet whisper, which spoke curses and revealed a howl, scattered itself like a wild, holy cry of joy, whilst a hand, a pathetic hand, taught to give a servile and official greeting, extended for the first time in a bold gesture of belief and confidence in itself.

We went onto the streets, in processions, assemblies, groups and we sang and cheered. And everything was so sunny, bright and light. And everything was clear and cheerful and happy in the beautiful, clear autumnal day.

In the barracks there were soldiers, and they were cheering. In the hospitals there were wounded, and they were singing. The soldiers came out onto the streets and were firing their guns. After four blurry years it was the first time that the firing meant joy, after four sombre summers it was the first time that a bullet didn’t mean death, but life. And it was as though that shot, which was now rising into the air, was a symbol, as it rises and as it falls.

On the chests flowers and tricolours. In the windows flowers and tricolours. On the streetlamps, on the telephone poles, on the makeshift stands flower and tricolours.

In a red, white, blue, green colour, in the grey colours of joy, ecstasy, hope and belief, on each flag, that flutters, of elation, love, sympathy and adoration, which the flag as a symbol means. In the red glow of love and brotherhood towards everything and everyone, in the whiteness of the cleanliness and sublimeness of ecstasy, hope in the new world, that was being created.

We went out onto the streets and sang. We welcomed the foreign troops and sang. We threw flowers and sang. We welcomed ships from foreign countries and sang. “Call out, just call out… Viva la France! Allons enfants de la Patrie!…” And the children of the homeland arrived, and laughed, and danced, and cheered.

Here people just walk around and cheer and sing” – they say, wrote home one French sailor. “Viva la Yugoslavie!” His compatriots cheered – and in their scepticism and in their laughter for the sake of laughing and joy for the sake of joy we felt the first stab of disappointment and misunderstanding.

In an isolated corner an old hunched over woman was sobbing. “Woman, why are you crying?” – asked a voice – I don’t know whose, and I don’t know where from. “In every joy there is a note of pain, in every laugh a seed of sorrow”, as though replying to somebody’s voice – who knows whose, who knows where from?

Three beautiful, clear, sunny, autumnal days. Three days of song and clamour and ecstasy. And then – armoured cars, machine guns and horses on the cobblestones and pikes, stretching up high, rigidly, arrogantly. In the port heavy ships with cannons aimed at the city, on the street assault troops with helmets, rifles, knapsacks and ammunition belts.

Three beautiful, clear, sunny, days passed. And nothing to show for them. Only a difficult, long winter with clouds. Just a cold summer with raindrops, that with the ‘bura’ and rain even the tears froze. Just a gloomy spring without light or sun.

Maybe a time will come, when all the ecstasy and elation will seem ridiculous to us. Maybe a period will come, when every sense will be reduced to a mathematical or chemical formula. I only know, that even then, when I was in the height of national fervour, I felt no desire for revenge or hatred or malice – the days of the greatest joy were days of forgiveness for everything, to all who had oppressed us, days of national liberty, a time when love for everyone was the most lively, the most conscious. And in those days of intoxicated delight and love, that had boiled over, the clenched fists, clashes and attacks were the end of everything.

I don’t know what happened. In just one day with a wild roar they began to tear down the tricolours of red and white and blue, and in the windows, on the streetlamps, the houses, the buildings, the churches suddenly others appeared – red and white and green, with a star and a coat of arms. Everywhere the coat of arms and everywhere the star, and everywhere fanatic hatred in the faces and fury and poison in the looks. “Italia o morte! Fuori il straniero!” Whilst the straniero thoughtfully stops and thinks: “Who in fact is the stranger?

In these sombre days of waiting and incertitude, desperation and zeal, it is so difficult to be alive and carry all the heavy burden of the present; however it is hardest to be human. So many times I have felt the pain and burden of life, but the worst thing was when I felt the aching shame, I didn’t feel fear for myself, but for those who persecuted us, the shame of man, that chaotic, disproportionate mixture of beast and god. The beast, wild, brutal, vicious, kicking and rearing up, and the god, sublime, the ashen sceptic levelling with it, taming or incensing it. And in the battle of animal with god like the battle of a bull with a toreador – the white, red, blue, green colours, that they have signifying a symbol, they stimulate it, intoxicate it, they extol it, bring it to an ecstasy of madness and rage. Fiume, the yellowish-grey, deceitful animal, from the eyes of which peer the envy and intoxication of excessive enthusiasm, throws itself, snapping, howling and moaning into exhaustion, until it falls bewildered, unconscious to the ground.

Therein the roar is so quiet! Therein the crowd is so uneasy and lonely. In this racket our steps reverberate so eerily. Oh, the whole of this city, whose number of inhabitants doubled in a few months, as it turned into a huge, grey, isolated monastery, where the shadows succumb to the wolf, hollow songs reverberate and the voices of muffled prayers drone. And thus it is miraculously quiet and in the murmur, so terribly calm in the constant throng.

Why call this city Rieka, when it is – Fiume. Reka, Rika, Rieka – that sounds so sweet, placid and childlike like the nostalgic “ca” and “ča” of the people of Drenova, Plase, Trsat, reminiscent of the sunny gleam of the stone walls and enclosures scattered with rocks and brambles, amongst which, in spring, blossom such beautiful and fragrant violas, a modest and shy flower. It is a city with a filthy physiognomy and with an inner self bland and murky, like the murky Fiumare canal, the dead water that cries for it. The Fiuman is a separate race, not belonging to any one nation. It is a mixture of everything that has come to this merchant city to trade – of everything, of many things. The Fiuman is both an Italian and a Yugoslav – an Italian, born of Yugoslavs and brought up as a Yugoslav, who cheers at the top of his voice: “O Italia o morte!, the Yugoslav is a quiet and timid beast, hiding because of his interests of his national origin with a neutral, inexpressible, merchant’s sneer. Whilst the Riečanin, Recan, Ričanin – they are the masses – they are the nameless mass, who don’t ask, quantité négligeable, they are the inhabitants of the workers’ houses, basements and attics, the servants and labourers, small artisans and assistants, the masses, who have only one head, and who would, maybe, with just a single blow fall. And that is the characteristic, external image of the city – Fiume, Fiuman. And in this fatal exchange is the source of all the illusions, all the efforts and all the miserable disappointments.

Years and years of timid and quivering yearnings for the city of Kvarner and in that name I will stop with everything, that was the dearest and utmost in life – but then the bloody realisation, that it was all just a yearning for childhood, for the sea, for the days that had gone forever. Yet there is no city, there is no childhood and there is no sea. There is only Fiume and Gomila and Fiumara – a murky, stagnant mire, like a feeble residue of exacerbated human passions, without the strength that it vanishes, without the strength that it stirs up, rises, moves.

Corso. An evening stroll. In the looks a glow and depth, in the gestures a yearning and yielding to love. Yet the whole city seems to shiver from one single deep gaze, which rises from the bottom of the soul and seeps into the bottom of the soul, and the whole city seems to twinkle from love, that is only the soul, only the soul. Whilst down, in the depths, inside – ah, there is no soul and there is nothing, the base and desolation and emptiness. And the whole of this city and all these people who rousingly speak and shout and wave – the whole of this city has no soul, and everything, that moves it, is the basic animal life. And its voice is not the sublimeness of ecstasy nor the size of reproach – everything is just a roar, clamour and mania. And the moment will come and everything will boil over and everything will disappear, what froths up and what rises up – on the empty bottom will remain just Fiume, a city without a soul and without physiognomy and a notion without features.

Over five bloody years ten times in the memory of the sparseness and irritation of the nerves the city howled and ten times they changed the inscriptions and ten times in a fanatical irritation the masses passed over their old idols. Today on the ruins of everything, a fiery rage triumphs in the proud satisfaction, that with the greatest lie it refuted thousands of its little lies and that in the deafening cry it suppressed everything, that protests, that rebels. Because that cry is not a lie, because this fire of enthusiasm isn’t hypocrisy. It is Fiume and everything is Fiume. And to whomsoever this Città di San Vito belongs; whosoever flag will flutter next to the double-headed eagle with the yellow-blue symbol – will win, I’m afraid of Fiume, and with a shout of honest enthusiasm the malicious cry of a lazy and cunning animal will intervene. And that is my fear and it will be a drop of bitterness in that moment, which we will surely never live to see.

What can enthral a man in this city, in which culture and supremacy are denoted by the black marks on the walls and the holes in broken inscribed tiles? In our weakness for it there is a weakness towards one’s own past, which is contained in these pavements, street corners and quays, a weakness towards the whistle of departing steamships and the whiteness of unfurled sails, that awoke our childlike imagination and tied it to this place, that doesn’t love us. In our trepidation towards its destiny there is only the fear for those miserable, unknown, oppressed thousands, who just silently accept the blows and ridicule and the stamp of inferiority. We understand that the sinful must repent the sins and perform penance those, who have deserved it. However what did the little pale children commit that they must suppress their voices in their throats, the only one with which they are able to express the feeling of happiness in the joy and drive of wickedness in the game?

Our feeling of attachment with this city isn’t a feeling of love, but a feeling of pain, and fear, and hopelessness in the sense of a wounded animal and disgust and revulsion. Because it is just Fiume – and Fiume is not an organism, not a concept, not a soul, but something colourless and tepid and tensile, that with its odour tears at the nostrils and throat, and intoxicates and commits evil. And here nothing enthrals and here nothing is attractive. The love of this city – ah, it is an illusion, it isn’t love, but an escape from it, an escape to the blueness of the sea, the sigh of Trsat, the greenery of Opatija and Volosko and the serene vistas towards Kostrena, Omišalj, Cres and Ika. Everything that nature has warm and soothing and soft, is gathered around this city, to shield it, to protect it, to conceal it. And the reason why its poison didn’t act. In the moment when the heavy shackles fall from the chests and from the legs and from the hands and from the tongues, from all sides pale children will rush and shower it with flowers of love, forgiveness and it will forget all the insults, all the blows and all the threats.

From Školjić to Kantrida – one and the same street and one and the same image: houses without expression, without style, stores, shop windows, markets. In the place where there is only trade, all the houses are built on clear commercial principles: with the least expenses – the highest rents. Houses without physiognomy, without souls. In the city, where everything is measured purely in monetary measures, the friars had also taken advantage of the few metres of free space around the church and built umpteen little rooms for shops. Trade is not permitted in the temple, however it is better in front of and around the temple. The city of fifty thousand inhabitants did not give up one single man, whose name would be recorded in the history of culture and art, and wishing to somehow christen their streets, the fathers of the city were having to reach back for names from the mother countries: of Hungary and Italy. In a city of fifty thousand souls there is not one monument, and the only highpoints on the streets are advertising posts and lavatories – as unintentional symbols of it, as if it is the only purpose in this place. I love and appreciate trade as a means, but as soon as it becomes the meaning of life, it becomes both the negation and profanation of all higher values. And that which people would have to make them happy, to lead them ever upwards, throws them ever lower. And Fiume is deep, so deep.

Amongst its great evidence for being Italian the supremacy of Italian culture is prominent in Rijeka, the culture of the Italian is greater than that of the Yugoslav. Whilst the first glance at this city shows that it has, in general, no culture, not only of its own, but no culture of any kind, and that, which in the moment could deceive the eyes, is just glued on, that is easily washed-off by the rain or over night, when the city’s new generation is over-patriotically disposed.

The fun fairs, public houses, buffet bars, cafés, cinemas. All dirty, all abandoned, all in disarray. The dirt of the port as though it passes into the city itself, into every corner, every alleyway. This relatively large city is not capable of supporting a permanent theatre, whilst the companies, which are hosted here for a month, twice a year, can only be supported by the subscriptions of Yugoslav misers. In the place, where all the sights are just negative assets, such are the values and the two most important characteristics: Rijeka’s Gomila and Rijeka’s street gangs. The heart, the centre of the city, consisting of ancient ruins, disgusting mansions with narrow and winding streets, where the sun never reaches and where streams of undignified liquids flow freely; dangerous, dark corners, smelly inns, and women, and beggars, and drunks. While Rijeka’s street gangs they are a mighty gutter army, an abandoned mob that attacks the schiavi, that fights selflessly and fervidly for the lofty goals of the city’s fathers and less selflessly, for the needs of life. And that is – Fiume.

In the days of liberty, in the days of the universal love of forgiveness, a grey monster howled, that calls itself Fiume, with a howl of hatred and revenge. In the days, when kisses and expressions of brotherhood should have rained down, it prepared itself for secretive bites, punches and stabs. And why wasn’t the punch stronger, that is just the deceitful cunningness and feeling of weakness alongside all the abundance of gesticulation.

Fiume November 1918Is this city ours? Ours are those thousands and thousands of silent beings, who resignedly just wait, eternally waiting, thousands unarmed and unlawful, who upon the punch and the bite correspond with a speechless look, who upon an energetic nod from their masters sign up dutifully and without opposition, not asking: “Where to?” – It doesn’t matter, what they’re called. In the ascertainment of their anguish there was the justification of a love for them, from their speechless mouths comes a call for resistance, for rebellion, for liberation. And that is why, as their national consciousness is not strong, as the term of Yugoslavism has not developed in them yet, their pain is even stronger: it is the consciousness, that despises them, that brands them without reason, without cause, that they oppress the concept of man in them. Yet theirs is the main feeling, the feeling of shame, that they belong to a common creed unlawful, powerless, weak – and with the sense of the joy of life is mixed some dreary feeling of their own inferiority, a state of neglect before the mighty.

Whatever happened, whatever the fate of this city, I will not complain and I will not pity those, to whom the street corners, the banks, the ships and the warehouses belong. Alongside all of their Yugoslav tricolours, were also the Fiumani, and in their pre-war silence and chivalrousness were hidden the subterfuge and calculating attitude of the merchant, who goes just for the money. I won’t grieve for them nor for the legion of those, who over three lovely autumnal days cheered, sang and carried banners. I will only grieve for the pale little people, as their half-spoken “ča” chokes in the instinctive fear before the sharp glance of contempt and superiority…

Long, difficult months of waiting. Events, attacks, parades. Soldiers, soldiers, soldiers. Italians, French, Americans, English, Indo-Chinese. Ships, automobiles, aeroplanes. Carabinieri, bersaglieri, granatieri. Infantry, sailors, lancers, gunners. Crowded and mixed and multi-coloured. Smugglers, detainees, fugitives. And the inns and basements reverberate and glass shatters and girls scream, and blood, wine and champagne flow. Fiume goes crazy and howls and rages.

Yet that’s what it wanted and so sullenly and so sombrely. Like the shadows we loiter only around the corners and we disappear in the corners. Whilst the sun stings and the truth stings. However, the shame against man stings the most of all, for man, as he oppresses his own brother. Of all these people of various colours and uniforms the most likeable are the Annamese (Vietnamese from the French peacekeeping forces), yellow, silent, mysterious, calm creatures with a sick nostalgia for the East and a blunt lack of understanding for all of this colourful, noisiness and craziness. Why are they here and for what use is the secret, eternal pain for the motherland? The same feeling in them, that they protect us, and in us, that they protect. A feeling of pain, shame, submissiveness, disgrace.

Mornings and afternoons and evenings pass. And nights fall, long nights without sleep, when below the windows the hooves of horses clatter as they pass by, heavy cannons boom, the steps of soldiers reverberate. And the city stays silent and the river stays silent, and the sea, in a troubled uncertainty. Just above the houses glimmer the large, light letters: Viva Fiume italiana! And the shining sign and the shining star, so that the brothers can see on the other bank. And they in despair and hopeless expectancy hide their heads amongst the pillows, so they see nothing, so they hear nothing, so they feel nothing. And everything is dead, rigid, uneasy. And everything is sleepless yet in a dream, without a break, without rest, without peace, without joy.

It just sleeps like a fatigued beast, dreaming maliciously and in that sleep of new bites and stabs, the grey formless masses, Fiume sleeps, a city without soul and without physiognomy.

*******

antun baracAntun Barac (1894 Kamenjak near Crikvenica – Zagreb 1955) was an important literary historian and writer, who was an advocate for the publication of Janko Polić Kamov’s works. In 1917 he established the influential publishing institute ‘Jug’ in Zagreb with other writers. Amongst the books they planned to published was Kamov’s only novel Isušena Kaljuža written from 1906-1909, but this never happened.

Barac spent the unsettled period after the First World War from 1918-1924 in Sušak (the eastern part of today’s Rijeka) working as a professor at the secondary school. During this period he wrote this short, stark, even poetic essay Fiume, in which he describes the unpleasant events and experiences in the city of Rijeka at the time of the arrival of foreign peace-keeping troops whilst the city’s fate was being decided in post-war negotiations, and just upon the eve of the arrival of D’Annunzio and his soldiers. It is interesting to note that Barac was most likely reading the still as yet unpublished manuscript of Kamov’s Isušena Kaljuža during this period and that it may have influenced his writing of Fiume. This text was first published in the journal Njiva in 1919.

Barac was also the originator of the idea to publish a collection of the complete works of Janko Polić Kamov, which finally saw the light of day from 1956-1958, amongst which the novel Isušena Kaljuža was printed for the first time almost 50 years after Kamov wrote it.

Thanks to Igor Žic

Rijeka’s Shipping Industry in the 20th Century exhibition

online-exhibitionA new exhibition describing the shipping industry in the city of Rijeka in the 20th century has opened at PPMHP Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka (the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral in Rijeka). I translated the exhibition’s content, website and promotional material into English.

“It all began with the Hrvat. A little steamship built for Senjsko Brodarsko Društvo (the Senj Shipping Society), which linked Rijeka and Senj, and a revolution in the thoughts of Rijeka’s ship owners and the attitude towards the steamship industry began…..”

…. are the opening words by the exhibition’s author, senior curator, Nikša Mendeš which lead the visitor through the story of Rijeka’s shipping industry over 100+ years of the highs and lows of its existence. Through the varying governing powers and through two world wars. The port was once a leading mover in European ship transportation stretching around the world with its shipping companies such as Jadranska Plovidba, Jugoslavenska Oceanska Plovidba Sušak and later Jugolinija and Croatia Line.

steamship-Kornat-in-Venice

The Jugolinija company’s ship ‘Kornat’ in Venice. One of the many vessels detailed in the exhibition.

The exhibition features models of the ships, ships’ logs, diaries of sailors, large format photographs, drawings, paintings and all manner of documents and equipment associated with Rijeka’s shipping industry.

All kinds of drawings, models and photographs enhance the exhibition.

All kinds of drawings, models and photographs enhance the exhibition.

exhibition-opening3Also interesting is the fact that the museum’s holding of memorabilia, documents, photography etc. has now been digitalised meaning that you can also virtually visit this exhibition via the museum’s website here.

The exhibition is on show in the museum in the Governor’s Palace in Rijeka until December 2014. More info on the museum’s website here.

Interested in diving the wrecks of the Adriatic Sea? Click here.

History of coffee in Rijeka

The history of coffee in the city of Rijeka stretches back to the beginning of the 18th century.
Rijeka Korzo/Corso cafe

In Europe cafés first appeared in the south of the continent. By 1570 Venetian merchants brought coffee to Venice along with tobacco. In the second half of the 17th century the first cafés were opened, and soon Milan, Turin, Genoa and other Italian cities followed the trend. Around 1760 there existed more than 200 cafés in Venice alone. Vienna is probably the best known European city for its cafés, and the opening of the first Viennese café, called “Hof zur Blauen Flasche” (“House under the Blue Bottle“) was related to the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683. Cafés became the places which captivated with their smell, comfort, warmth and all the activities which go along with drinking coffee such as reading the newspapers, playing cards or billiards, pleasant conversation and intellectual debates. Cafés became centres of social life.

Coffee most probably arrived in Rijeka following the examples of Venice and Vienna cafés, because as early as 1719 the Habsburg Emperor Charles VI declared Rijeka and Trieste as free ports, which at the same time also meant that the delivery of colonial goods could be made without Venetian intervention.

Records show that the first café was opened in 1715 in Rijeka by Tommaso Bianchi and Florio Maruloni, who were settlers from the Swiss province of Grigioni (Graubünden, Grischun, Grisons). It was located in the house named Domus Aurea, near the old council building in today’s Koblerov Trg.

The Ana Minak - a typical clipper boat used for the transport of coffee and tea.

The Ana Minak – a typical clipper boat used for the transport of coffee and tea.

Most imports of coffee to the Rijeka region were connected with the establishment of the Trieste-Fiume Company (1750) and its successor the Privileged Company of Trieste and Fiume (1775-1804), whose branch in Rijeka imported, amongst other things, great amounts of coffee and tea from Amsterdam, Nantes and Bordeaux. At the beginning of the 19th century the Rijeka entrepreneur Andrija Ljudevit Adamić participated in trade with overseas countries, importing tobacco, coffee and cocoa as well as other goods. These were goods imported from Central and Southern America.

Not much is known about the cafés, café service or interiors of those times today, although there is more information about the public houses, hotels, guesthouses and inns. Dominik Teleki von Szek states that in Rijeka in 1794 there were seven cafés and that they were the centre of social life.

The local shipyards of Rijeka, Istria and the Croatian littoral were involved in the construction of fast sailing ships, so-called barque-clippers, which were used for the transport of perishable goods, tea and coffee. At the end of the 19th century the main traffic in coffee to the Hungarian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire came through Rijeka’s ports.

Caffe Al Risorgimento

Caffe Al Risorgimento

The entrepreneurial spirit of Rijeka’s people in this period can be seen in the opening of coffee roasting establishments in the city, because coffee was transported here as raw beans from Asia and South America as well.

grande cafe borsoIn Sušak several private companies operated which were involved in the import of colonial goods, which were imported directly, without intervention from the countries of origin. Josip Smerdel had a company, established in 1886, which also had a coffee roasting house. His shop sold the roasted and unroasted coffee brands of: Minas, Santos, Salvador, San Domingo, Perla Portorico, Liberia, Guatemala and Cuba Speciale, which clearly pointed to the diversity of the origins of the coffee. This was very similar to the selection of coffees which the Haramija-Mikuličić company also offered.

The interior of Josip Smerdel's shop in Sušak.

The interior of Josip Smerdel’s shop in Sušak.

Ljudevita Jelušića coffee shop, Kastav

Ljudevita Jelušića coffee shop, Kastav

After the division of Rijeka and Sušak at the beginning of the 1920s, a group of wholesalers was organised in Sušak and it founded the First Sušak Joint Stock Trading Society, which brought together a range of entrepreneurs involved in import-export. It was here that coffee found its place. Along with the usual flow of imported coffee from overseas, the society adapted its business operations to the emerging situations and connected itself with the Franck factory in Zagreb and with Kolinska in Ljubljana selling its coffee. Besides selling coffee it also sold coffee substitutes such as Rosil from figs, Kneipp from barley and Seka from chicory. The Haramija-Mikuličić roasting house sold coffee blends under the names of Mercantilna, Domaća, Stolna Melange, Imperial Melange and Haramika.

hotel cont

In the second half of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century there were numerous known cafés: Caffé Europa, Caffé Maritimo Mercantile, Caffé Centrale, Caffé Schenk (later Caffé Degli Specchi), Caffé Orient, Caffé Grande, Liburnia, De la Ville, Fiumara, Panachoff, Adria, Quarnero, Grande, Patriottico, Commercio, Panny, Specchi, Fiume Risorgimento, Apolo, Secession, Europa, Marittimo and Venezia.

hotel europecaffe europacafe lloydcaffe europaIn 1920 in Sušak a cooperative was founded of innkeepers, barkeepers and café owners in order to represent their rights in the town and district of Sušak. The cooperative consisted of around 100 members which in 1933 paid 10 dinars each for their membership. Amongst the first cafés in Sušak were the Caffé Europa and the Narodna Kavana.

The Cafe Bristol

The Cafe Bristol

The same building in 2104

The same building in 2104

During the 1960s the new Yugoslav society, thanks to the specifics of the political regime, there developed a special consumerism concerning coffee and its drinking in special places. Work meetings without coffee were unimaginable, and one of the main skills of business secretaries was the art of making the morning coffee. The whole atmosphere was complemented with a shopping trip to Trieste, if for nothing else than just to drink a cup of coffee.

The crisis or the so-called economic stabilisation of the 1980s was marked with a shortage of coffee, which gave additional reasons for a trip over the border and the “smuggling” of coffee.

The traditions of those first cafés were upheld by popular cafés of the second half of the 20th century: Učka, Triglav, Narodna Kavana, Kontinental, Union, Istra, Neboder, Gradska Kavana, Rječina, Slavica, Sport, Korzo, Zora, Žabica and their names still evoke pleasant memories and rich nostalgia.

Shipbuilding in Rijeka

Gallery

This gallery contains 59 photos.

Rijeka has a long tradition in shipbuilding. Autor – Viktor Hreljanović http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS_Szent_Istv%C3%A1n http://youtu.be/hWO-AUI8HDE Tražim zaposlenje u području medija/tiska/izdavaštva: e-mail: info@martinmayhew.com

Morčić – symbol of Rijeka

Morčić Moretto RijekaThe image of a young, black, servant dressed in fine clothes, wearing a turban, encrusted with gold and jewels, was adopted as the symbol of the city of Rijeka.

Known locally as ‘morčić’ its origins could be dated back to the 17th-18th century and the Venetian ‘moretto’. This was the time when the nobility was obsessed with all things from the Orient and North Africa including Moorish slaves “imported” from Muslim countries. The Venetian nobility would dress-up their pages and servants in fine clothing and jewellery to show off their own wealth and extravagance. In their image various figurines and  jewellery were designed and produced (a style later referred to as ‘Blackamoors’).

This symbol was soon transmitted to Rijeka (Fiume) where similar forms of jewellery were manufactured by local goldsmiths and this soon seeped into tradition among the women of the region, especially in the form of earrings.

Singularly worn earrings also became popular with their sons as well as sailors and fisherman for whom they became talismans and lucky charms. The ‘morčić’ became as symbol of wealth and prosperity and these pieces of jewellery were soon passed down through the generations from mothers to daughters throughout the Rijeka region.

Morčić earring

Morčić earring – image via wikipedia

This tradition reached its peak in the mid-19th century with the establishment of the Gigante & Co. and their production of earrings, brooches, pins and necklaces.

After WWII many goldsmiths of the Rijeka region, who had been producing the now locally renowned pieces of golden jewellery, emigrated and so their skills and knowledge also disappeared. It has only been since the early 1990s that the morčić image and jewellery has been resurrected and adopted as the mascot of the city of Rijeka.

Moričić souvenirs on sale at the Mala Galerija shop in Rijeka

The morčić motif can be seen throughout the city and is widely recognised, and jewellery and souvenirs are once again being produced. During the annual Rijeka Carnival (Riječki Karneval) many participants and dignitaries can be seen dressed as ‘morčići’ reflecting the area’s centuries-old tradition.

How are the Morčić souvenirs made? Watch the video…

Morčić

During the Rijeka Carnival revellers dress as Morčići – pic via Roberta F. wikipedia

The morčić has also made its way into popular music – here’s Neno Belan’s “Rijeka Snova”, featuring scenes of Rijeka and the motif of the city, one of my favourites :)

More information about souvenirs:

http://www.mala-galerija.hr/morcici.html

http://shop.rijeka.hr/product_info.php?products_id=122

http://www.ri-karneval.com.hr

Tražim zaposlenje u području medija/tiska/izdavaštva:
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Titanic centenary – Rijeka connection

It was on the fateful night of the 14-15th April 1912 that the British passenger liner the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg, 375 miles from the coast of New Foundland in the North Altantic, and sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.

Did you know that there is a connection between the Titanic and the city of Rijeka? (at that time known as ‘Fiume’, within the Austro-Hungarian Empire)

RMS Titanic

The connection is another liner the RMS Carpathia. This ship travelled regularly between Rijeka and New York when it would transport immigrants seeking a new life in America.

RMS Carpathia

On the night of the 14-15th April 1912 the Titanic sent out SOS distress calls for help after colliding with an ice berg which the Carpathia, which was at that time travelling from New York to Rijeka then picked-up and headed to its assistance. The Carpathia managed to save over 700 people (a handful of whom were Croats) from the icy waters who had escaped the sinking. Unfortunately the other 1,500 or so passengers and crew perished.

One crew member of the Carpathia, a Croat, Josip Car, held onto to a life jacket from one of the survivors of the Titanic and this historical item was later donated after his death to the Maritime and History Museum in Rijeka (PPMHP)

Titanic life jacket held in the Maritime and Historical Museum of the Croatian Littoral in Rijeka

There are several commemorative events of this tragic maritime event being held in the UK (where both ships were built) as well as an exhibition being staged at the Maritime and Historical Museum of the Croatian Littoral in Rijeka.

The Peek & Poke Computer Museum in Rijeka also held a special event until 15th April 2012 on the Arca Fiumana boat, moored on Rijeka’s waterfront entitled ‘Carpathia 2012′: http://www.peekpoke.hr

For a superb selection of photographs visit: British Pathe collection

Titanic footage and survivors interviews. On 14 April 1912, on her maiden voyage, the passenger liner RMS Titanic hit an iceberg. More than 1500 men, women and children perished. This is a short television documentary about the sinking of the Titanic, including interviews with survivors talking about their experiences and their escape.

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Official commemorative postage stamps from UK

RMS Titanic Centenary postage stamps

More info visit  http://www.benham.co.uk/Products.aspx?Pcode=GBS0186

Rijeka – Jeste li znali ….?

Jeste li znali ….?

– da je u Rijeci 1909. godine snimljen prvi hrvatski igrani film

– da je prva TV antena na hrvatskim krovovima bila u Rijeci

– da je u Rijeci obavljena prva transplantacija bubrega u bivšoj Jugoslaviji (1971.)

– da je rt u Arktiku blizu Nove zemlje nazvan Rijeka po našem gradu.

– da je Roberto Bartini prvi Riječanin koji je konstruirao zrakoplov

- da je u Rijeci prvi put u povijesti fotografiran let puščanog zrna

– da je riječki manipulativni poštanski žig V: Fiume iz 1755. godine, najstariji do danas sačuvan poštanski žig na području Republike Hrvatske

– da se u Rijeci nalazi prsluk za spašavanje sa Titanika. Carpathijina (brod koji je spasio preživjele) ruta bila je New York – Rijeka.

- da je u Rijeci 1786. godine osnovana prva primaljska škola u Hrvatskoj

– da je riječki klub Husar bio prvi disko klub u ovom dijelu Europe

- da je Quorum Colours prvi i najveći hrvatski „underground“ klub

– da su prvi pravi R’n’R band u ondašnjoj državi – Jugoslaviji – bili “Uragani”

- da su “Parafi“ bili prvi punk band u Hrvatskoj, a s ljubljanskim “Pankrtima” i prvi punk Jugoslavije

- da je u Rijeci počeo hrvatski Hip-Hop

– da je u Rijeci održana prva speedway utrka u Italiji te da je utemeljitelj talijanskog speedwaya upravo naš Riječanin

– da je u Rijeci sagrađena prva bolnica za duševne bolesti na prostorima nekadašnje Jugoslavije

– da se u Rijeci nalazi najstarije dizalo u Hrvatskoj

- da je u Rijeci napravljeno prvo hrvatsko vozilo s oznakom “Made in Croatia“

– da Rijeka ispod naseljenog dijela ima špilju koja je proglašena geomorfološkim spomenikom prirode

– da je Rijeka imala svojeg Schindlera koji je spasio na tisuće Židova

– da je u Rijeci 1852. godine puštena u rad prva plinara u jugoistočnoj Europi

– da je Riječka tvornica konopa najstarije industrijsko postrojenje u povijesti Rijeke.

– da je na Pećinama 2 otvoren prvi sanatorij u Hrvatskoj

– da je 1920. godine prvi radio prijenos na ex-YU prostorima napravljen
u Rijeci. Prenošen je D’Annunzijev govor.

– da je 1949.godine u jednoj od najvećih sportskih nesreća svih vremena, stravičnoj avionskoj nesreći gdje je poginula kompletna momčad Torina bio i Riječanin. Tadašnji Torino smatran je jednom od najboljih svjetskih momčadi, koja je osvojila za redom 5 naslova prvaka Italije i čijih je čak deset igrača bilo u reprezentaciji Italije

– da je prvi hrvatski parobrod sagrađen u Rijeci te da je njime uspostavljena redovita putnička linija između Senja i Rijeke što se smatra početkom linijskog putničkog prometa na hrvatskoj strani Jadrana

– da je prvi zračni brod koji je srušen zrakoplovnom paljbom u povijesti bio talijanski ratni cepelin koji se je vraćao s bombardiranja Rijeke

– da je hrvatska himna napisana u Rijeci

– da je francuski pisac Henri Beyle Stendhal boravio u Rijeci

- da je Fiorello Henry La Guardia član Američkog senata i gradonačelnik New Yorka boravio u Rijeci kao američki konzul i igrao za riječki nogometni klub Atletico Fiumano

- da je naš Riječanin Pero Radaković 1962. godine na svjetskom nogometnom prvenstvu u Čileu, u četvrtfinalu protiv Njemačke zabio jedini gol na utakmici i tako osigurao Jugoslaviji 4. mjesto, što je njezin najbolji uspjeh. - da je Nikola Tesla imao sestru koja je živjela u Rijeci i da su D’Annunzievi legionari uništili sva njezina osobna pisma i ostale stvari koje su mogle završiti u muzeju

– da je Georg Ludwig Ritter von Trapp najodlikovaniji podmornički kapetan Austro-Ugarske Monarhije. pohađao srednju pomorsku školu i Pomorsku akademiju u Rijeci. Na porinuću podmornice u brodogradilištu na Kantridi upoznao se i zaljubio u unuku Robert Whiteheada, Agathu, te su se 10. 01. 1911. godine vjenčali u Rijeci. Šezdesetih god. Prošlog stoljeća snimljen je jedan od najboljih glazbenih filmova svih vremena o obitelji Von Trapp, Moje pjesme moji snovi.

- da su Riječani Gino i Oscar Jankovits 1937. godine dizajnirali, konstruirali, proizveli i testirali prvi automobil u Hrvatskoj. Riječ je o Alfa Romeo Aerospider. To je prvo vozilo na svijetu sa uklopljenim kvakama i svjetlima u karoseriju, prvi sa upravljačem po sredini, prvi s motorom postavljenim centralno otraga, prvi s vodoravno postavljenim hladnjakom… Postizao je brzinu od 230 km/h.

- da je u Rijeci, prvi u Jugoslaviji, 09. 06. 1969. godine započeo sa radom bibliobus, organiziran kao pokretna knjižnica za djecu i odrasle. Obilazi naselja u gradu Rijeci i okolici koja nemaju knjižnični ogranak na svojem području kako bi svim stanovnicima pružio knjižnične usluge.

- da je Riječka banka još 1984. u Rijeci instalirala prvi bankomat na području tadašnje Jugoslavije?


You find out much more about Rijeka, its history, the people, the places and news as well as take part in forums at:
http://www.lokalpatrioti-rijeka.com