8th Congress of the Croatian society of medical biochemistry
and laboratory medicine 
with international participation
22 – 26 September 2015, Rijeka, Croatia

About Rijeka

by Damir Jevtić & Igor Crnković

Writing about Rijeka is an ungrateful task that almost certainly results in omitting something very important and interesting. Rijeka has a long and turbulent history, which is often surprising even to its citizens. Located on the top of the Kvarner bay, Rijeka has been under different governments and regimes for centuries. The way those influences created the town as it is today, is best explained by academician Zlatko Bourek, one of the creators of the popular Croatian cartoon Professor Balthazar, who used Rijeka as the model for his Baltazartown. If New York is Batman's Gothamcity, than Rijeka is the home of professor Baltazar, inventor, philanthropist and the character that brought joy to many.

Academician Zlatko Bourek said: "When we started working on Balthazar, the idea was to place it in an urban environment and when we contemplated everything what was important for such a town, somehow Rijeka was always coming to our mind. Again and again, I have always been fascinated by Rijeka, with its wide and long main street surrounded by large and beautiful antique buildings, with its port, which is right next to the city centre, where you meet huge iron ships. Among all of our coastal cities, Rijeka has actually always had something different, something proletarian, and a little more urban. There is also the proximity of waterfront, which makes the city more attractive for living. I have always seen Rijeka as a city of culture, since I often worked in the Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc. At that time I was fascinated by the long tradition of the "Hartera" paper mill and the Torpedo factory, because in a way they had represented a major civilization step compared to the rest of the country."

Due to the historical circumstances Rijeka has always been multinational and multicultural. Large and beautiful buildings of the Austro-Hungarian period are reflecting the cosmopolitan spirit of the city. There are many beautiful examples of the architecture of the late 19th century and early 20th century (historic style and Art Nouveau), including the Governor's Palace, the palace of Archduke Joseph (the National Archives), the Adria Palace, the Ivan pl. Zajc National Theatre, the Modello Palace, the Grand Market with the fish market pavilion and many others.

Rijeka has a long maritime tradition and through its port the town has always been connected with the entire world. One of the interesting historical facts of the city of Rijeka is that Fiorello La Guardia, the famous mayor of New York City, after whom one of the New York airports was later named, lived and worked here in the period from 1904 to 1906. La Guardia was an American consular agent in Rijeka, in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. He made a significant contribution to improve the organized departure and better treatment of thousands of immigrants who went to America through the port of Rijeka.

As for some interesting details of the art history of Rijeka worth mentioning, there are three oil paintings, ceiling ovals, works of the famous painter Gustav Klimt in the Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc. Another historical point is just a step away from the venue of the Congress: at Strossmayer Street no. 5, Croatian politician and journalist Frano Supilo founded the New Journal (Novi list), the oldest daily newspaper in Croatia, on 2 January 1900.

The beginnings of the industry in Rijeka date back to 1752 with the Sugar Refinery. Other examples of early industrial development were the already mentioned "Hartera" (paper mill), the Rope factory, the Rice Mill, the "Modiano" playing cards factory, and the Torpedo factory that was built based of invention of Giovanni Luppis (Ivan Lupis), a citizen of Rijeka and financed by the British entrepreneur Robert Whitehead. Significant efforts have been made in the preservation of the town's rich industrial heritage (available at www.rijekaheritage.org).

Besides the three symbols of the city, the City Tower, the Cathedral of St. Vitus (the patron saint of the city) and Trsat, today Rijeka can be proud of the archaeological park Principium in the Old Town, the newly renovated Astronomy Centre with digital planetarium, or recently built, many say the most beautiful contemporary mosque in Europe, designed by famous artist Dušan Džamonja.

Listing all the values and specialities of Rijeka goes beyond this short literature note. However, it is inevitable to mention the University of Rijeka, founded in 1973 but whose roots originate from Jesuit gymnasium dated from 17th century. It is second Croatian University by its size, dedicated to dynamic and systematic expansion of scientific careers and individual professional development in various areas of expertise. Scientific and educational core in the field of biomedicine is Clinical hospital centre together with School of Medicine whose scientists and teachers are well recognized on global scientific level.

Ever since the end of 20th century and still now, Rijeka's cultural scene is characterised with rock music. In terms of music and quality of musicians and authors, Rijeka is for Croatia's music scene as Manchester is for England's music scene or Seattle is for USA's music scene.

From geographical point of view, Rijeka is connected to all relevant traffic routes. Its location makes Rijeka equally distant (or closes) from all parts of Croatia; also it is near to Slovenia, Italy and Austria. Rijeka's unique location enables one to sail in the Kvarner bay in the morning, ski with the sea view in the afternoon and enjoy authentic atmosphere and cuisine of Istria in the evening.

The name of the city, Rijeka is Croatian word for river, and citizens of Rijeka often call it "the city that flows" because Rijeka is simply the town that suits people.

Free Wi-Fi

The signal coverage in the city centre covers the area starting from Jadranski trg at the beginning of Korzo to Žabica bus terminal, also including a part of the Rijeka breakwater near the passenger terminal. The area covered by free wireless Internet at Trsat includes the area from the Trsat Castle and the Marian Sanctuary of Trsat to the Youth Sports Hall. Free wi fi will be provided for all participants at the congress venue (Hotel Neboder and Congress centre Sušak).

Weather in September
Rijeka is a Mediterranean city with warm humid climate. Latest statistics provide general characteristic of weather in September:

Maximum daily temperature 1 23°C
Minimum night temperature 2 14°C
Hours of sunshine 3 7 per day
Hours of daylight 4 13 per day
Days with some rainfall 5 13 days in September
Monthly rainfall (mm) 6 134 mm (5.3 inches) in September
UV index (max) 7 5 (moderate)

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