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Rijeka (The Coast-Gorski Kotar, Croatia)

Grad Rijeka, Fiume

Last modified: 2005-03-26 by dov gutterman
Keywords: coast | gorski kotar | primorsko-goranska | rijeka | fiume |
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by }eljko Heimer



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Overview

The city of Rijeka, the capital of Primorsko-goranska zupanija, known otherwise after her Italian name Fiume, had rich history. As it was a separate "crown-land" under Hungarian crown, separated from Croatian background to serve as Hungarian port city, it had its own "landesfarben" - three striped flag based on the coat of arms. The colour order is quated differently in several sources as blue over red over yellow and red over yellow over blue. However, as we shall see further on, it seems that the last variant was more popular, even if possibly the first one may be more according to the letter of law.
The coat of arms were granted on 6-JUN-1659 by Croatian king and Austrian emperor Leopold I. It considsted of red oval shield with bicefalous eagle looking sinister standing on a clif holding a vase pouring the watter around the clif. The coat of arms is reference to Rijeka (litterary meaning "river") and the short swift water-rich river Rjecina after which the city is named.
In any case, after the World War I the city was proclaimed independent Free City, soon occupied/liberated by D'Anunzio troops and eventually incorporated in Italy in 1924. The free city used her tricolour of red-yellow-blue with or without the shield, and during D'Anunzio government some other flags are noted,
It is possible that during the Italian rule the histroical tricolour of RYB was reused, but I have no data on it. As suggested by Jaume, during Italian rule the eagle in the Coat of Arms "lost" one head. After the WW II Rijeka was reincorportaed in Croatia within Yugoslavia. It is quite possible that the civic flag was used with the fivepointed red star in the middle, in the same design as in Yugoslav flag. For what is sure is that the coat of arms that was used those days was "only" the vase pouring watter, without eagle at all.
After the independence of Croatia in Rijeka was long debated weather the double eagle (i.e. the old Coat of Arms) should be readopted or not, and if yes, weather it shall be crowned and if the motto would be included. The debate was also induced as a side matter for other political strougle, and was not resolved of the same reason. However, finally the city council made decision "Odluka o grbu i zastavi Grada Rijeke", 26-MAR-1998, additionally adjusted by "Odluka o izmjenama Odluke o grbu i zastavi Grada Rijeke", 26-NOV-1998 (I believe that the text of the decision that I have is "cleared" text of the first decision with changes of the amendmends incorporated). That Coat of Arms and flag were approved by the Ministry of Administrattion (Rjesenje Ministarstva uprave, Kl UP/I-017-02/98-01/13 Urbr. 515-02-01/1-99-4, 15-JAN-1999).
The coat of arms is balzoned in the decision as (my translation): In an oval shield Gules a doubleheaded eagle Sable both heads looking to sinister with rised wings beaked and membered Or and langued Gules standing with its dexter on a clif and its sinister holding a vase proper from which is pouring water filling the space around the clif.
The flag is blue with yellow bordered coat of arms in the middle. Ratio 1:2.
My image of this flag is based on the coloured sheet sent to me from the city administration, that is accompanying the Decision.
}eljko Heimer, 24 March 2000

The flag and the coat of arms were adopted in 1998 by a decision Odluka o grbu i zastavi Grada Rijeke, 26.03.1998, Slu~bene novine Primorsko-goranske ~upanije, br. 6/98, 31.03.1998.   This was, after the opinion from the Ministry soon changed with the subsequent decision: Odluka o izmjenama Odluke o grbu i zastavi Grada Rijeke, 26. rujna 1998, Slu~bene novine Primorsko-goranske ~upanije, br. 24/98   However the first decsision included the description of the flag and the coat of arms after which I make my reconstruction. The coat of arms included the Austrian imperial crown above the eagle's heads with two blue ribbon attached to it. below the shield was a white ribbon inscribed INDEFICIENTIER. This is in accordinace with the coat of arms garnted on 6 June 1659 by Croatian king and Austrian emperor Leopold I. The flag prescribed in the decision is the tricolour of red (dark carmine) over yellow (dark goldish yellow) over blue (ultramarine) with the coat of arms in the middle. See: Symbols of 1998.
}eljko Heimer, 6 March 2005

Robert gribiaa sent me from the Rijeka newspapers "Novi list" (<www.novilist.hr>) about the initiative for the change of the Coat of Arms and the flag of Rijeka stopped.
I reported recently on the initiative of a several councillory of Rijeka for the change of the symbols, adding the Austrian imperial crown and ribbon with the motto to the Coat of Arms as in the original grant, and for use of the traditional tricolour of Rijeka as the city flag. Apparently the mayor and the civic government is against the proposal. They say that in principle they might have even supported it, but since it is the last session of the assembly beofre the elections they do not want to adopt an initiative that would have to be done by the people in the new assembly after the election, as it would have to be a long process.  Anyway, it may well bethat the story is not quite over, and we may hear about it after the April elections for local assemblies that we have schedduled in Croatia.
}eljko Heimer, 23 March 2005


Symbols of 1967-1998


by }eljko Heimer, 6 March 2005


Coat of Arms
by }eljko Heimer, 6 March 2005

I received info on the previously used flag of Rijeka from Rober Grubiaa of Rijeka. He sent me copies of some documents that were presented to the public on an exhibition held in 1999 in Rijeka. These are original winning proposal for the Coat of Arms and the flag of Rijeka on a competition held in 1967. Mr. Grubiaa also supplemented to my weak memories of how the flags were used in Rijeka in the socialist period.  
The exhibition was "Rijecki povijesni grbovi - izbor grade iz fonda Sveuciliane knji~nice u Rijeci" 14-16. srpnja 1999. ("Historical coats of arms of Rijeka - selected material from the collection of the University library in Rijeka" 14th - 16th July 1999). I am searching for a possibile catalogue.
The winning proposal was made by Dorian Sokolic. It includes a drawing of a coat of arms and a typewrited sheet explaining the proposal (if there was a drawing of a flag it was not included, but Rober provided excellent description). The proposal was titled "Rijecina", this being the Croatian name of the river on which Rijeka is built (also known as Fiumara or River of St. Vito). The explanation is short and interesting so I translate it in full:
"Idea: Rijecina, the flow of which in history divided the two banks connects them today in a singular unit - city of Rijeka Form: basic shape reminds on a cross section of a ship's hull and reminds on a clasic form of old coats of arms. In the middle is an amphore from which water is flowing  as a symbol of endles movement i flow of life. at the same time this is also the oldest symbols of this city. Colour: Blue - reflection of the sea and the sky, Golden - richness of the city in the history, present and the future. Flag: simplified contents or stylization of the flow and the delta of the Rijecina river."
The coat of arms adopted in 1967 is variation of the historical coat of arms of Rijeka in accordance to the style of the period. It may be noted that the coat of arms (nor the flag) did not include the red five- pointed star otherwise a necessery element in the emblems of the period.
The flag adopted at the same time is blue with two white trangles next to the hoist representing the flow and the delta of the Rjecina river. Mr. Grubiaa describes the flag construction. The flag is in an unusually long ratio, 1:4. It is light blue. The width of the central blue stripe is 1/4 of the hoist size and the triangles are reaching to the 3/5 of the length.  
This flag was hoisted often in Rijeka during Yugoslavia regularly together with the contemporary flags of Yugoslavia, Croatia, the Italian minority and the League of Communists (SKJ). The flags were usually hoisted publicly on the lamp posts, so that each lamp post was addorned with as many as 6 or 8 flags of the same kind. While all the flags except that of Rijeka were in ratio 1:2, the flag of Rijeka preserved it's unusual ratio so that it was made equally long but noticably less wide. On several places in the city were also the masts set in a line where the order of the flags was from observer's left to right: YU-SKJ-HR-Rijeka-Italian minority. In my opinion, this was not quite the proper order, but it was used so nevertheless. The "ordinary" houses uses the usual combinations used at the time in the rest of teh country with only three flags HR-YU-SKJ. A large flag of Rijeka was also regularly hoisted from the watchtower of the Civic Dome on the Corso in Rijeka.
Anyway, it may be noted that this hostorical coat of arms and the flag are not quite forgoten. Even if they were formally abandoned in 1998 (I think, though I am not sur eif they were used much in official circumstances since 1990). This coat of arms is until today used in some occasions, e.g. by the Rijeka public transport company "Autotrolej" and in the emblem of the F.C. "Rijeka". Their fans use the blue and white flags togther with the historical red-yellow-blue tricolours and as well as the current flags of the city.
Also, it may be worth of noting that at the time when this flag was official there were those who opposed it, mockingly comparing it with hospital pijamas. Those were presumably in favor of the historical tricolour.  
In connection with this, recently there was made an initiative to readopt the historical coat of arms of RIjeka (adding the imperial crown above the eagle and the ribbon with motto "Indeficienter" below the shield of the current design) and the historical tricolour flag. See: <www.rijeka-drzava.com>. The proposal was signed by eight civic councellors, mostly from the mariginal parties. I estimate that there is no much chance in this being adopted.
}eljko Heimer, 6 March 2005

Robert gribiaa sent me Obituary to Dorian Sokolic, designer of the 1967 Coat of Arms and flag of Rijeka from the Rijeka newspapers "Novi list" (<www.novilist.hr>):
Mr. Sokolic (24.02.1928-20.03.2005) was a painter and a scenographer in several theatres in Rijeka, Novi Sad and in various theatres in Europe. He was also commissary of the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka 1969-1980.
}eljko Heimer, 23 March 2005


Symbols of 1998


}eljko Heimer, 6 March 2005


Coat of Arms
}eljko Heimer, 6 March 2005

I have had 4 hours waiting In Rijeka, so I used them to try to find something about flags of P-G county and city of Rijeka. But, alas. Yes, there is a huge flag of P-G county hoisted on the building of the county seat (as far as i was able to see, and I saw it quite good, the image above is good representation). I was not able to buy the table version of that one - I was even looked wierdly when I asked for flag of any kind in bookstores and similar shops where one could expect to find such things. Maybe I was not looking good enogh.
Rijeka still has not adopted the flag (and Coat of Arms) due to discrepancies of opinion of locally ruling colation and local oposition that is ruling the country, wheater the Coat of Arms should be historical from Austia-Hungarian times (with double eagle and latin
motto) or if some more modern versions should be adopted. It is to be suspected that this issue is of less importance, but is used as a probe for more important political issues, a situation that is not unknown. Anyway, that is reason why there is no flag of Rijeka to be seen. But, in one window of local library (or something of the sort) there was a small table flag that was obviously to represent Rijeka. It had some inscription painted on it (greetings), but it was origanally made without it - simply vertically hoisted flag horisontally divided red-yellow-blue, with lower end finishing with three short rectangular tails. I take this as a confirmation that the Red-Yellow-Blue flag is in unofficial use.
}eljko Heimer , 1 March 1999

The currunt flag and the coat of arms were adopted in 1998 by a decision Odluka o grbu i zastavi Grada Rijeke, 26.03.1998, Slu~bene novine Primorsko-goranske ~upanije, br. 6/98, 31.03.1998.   This was, after the opinion from the Ministry soon changed with the subsequent decision: Odluka o izmjenama Odluke o grbu i zastavi Grada Rijeke, 26. rujna 1998, Slu~bene novine Primorsko-goranske ~upanije, br. 24/98   However the first decsision included the description of the flag and the coat of arms after which I make my reconstruction. The coat of arms included the Austrian imperial crown above the eagle's heads with two blue ribbon attached to it. below the shield was a white ribbon inscribed INDEFICIENTIER. This is in accordinace with the coat of arms garnted on 6 June 1659 by Croatian king and Austrian emperor Leopold I. The flag prescribed in the decision is the tricolour of red (dark carmine) over yellow (dark goldish yellow) over blue (ultramarine) with the coat of arms in the middle.
}eljko Heimer, 6 March 2005


Coat of Arms


by }eljko Heimer

Today's offitial coat of arm of Rijeka, which is a modification (stilisation) of ancient one from 1659.
Nenad Labus, 23 August 2002


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