Rijeka - Towards Concrete Utopias?

written by Maroje Mrduljaš

Among the bigger towns on the eastern Adriatic coast, Rijeka is in many ways a kind of digression, part of a puzzle that does not fit, an exception that proves the rule. Its urban history is neither marked by superior ancient urban artefacts, such as is the case in Pula, nor by centuries-old culture of authentic and codified urban planning of Dubrovnik. Neither the Byzantine Empire, nor Venice, nor Napoleonic France, to mention only a few of the epicentres of culture that built, more or less intensively, on the eastern Adriatic coast, have not left any culturally particularly significant trace or contribution in Rijeka. The city experienced considerable expansion as part of the Habsburg Monarchy, but the matrix and architecture of monumental urban blocks is still significantly more impressive in Trieste. Also, Rijeka is neither characterized by the intensity and picturesqueness of the Mediterranean vernacular, nor can the modernist layer be proud of the steps forward and experiments such as the Split 3, the post-war reconstruction of Zadar, or Vitić's insertions in Šibenik.