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The Coast and Gorski Kotar County (Croatia)

Primorsko-Goranska ~upanija

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by dov gutterman
Keywords: coast | gorski kotar | croatia | primorsko-goranska | zupanija | rijeka | fiume | severin |
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by Željko Heimer, 22 October 2000

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The Coast and Gorski kotar County (or the County of Coast and Gorski kotar, or in Croatian Primorsko-goranska ~upanija, or earlier Z<upanija primorsko- goranska) is a county which consists of three geographic regions - the Croatian Coast (the Coast under Velebit range, which since middle age always belonged to Croatia, and was never [or rarely] claimed by others), the Kvarner bay islands and north-eastern coast of Istria, and the hinterland mountainous region of Gorski kotar. The seat of administration is the city of Rijeka (known also by her Italian name Fiume).
The County was notorious for its oppositional government in all elections in 1990's, and had many problems in costituting the assemby, so it is possible that the flag was adopted quite late - my guess is 1995/96."
The coat of arms of the county is based on the coa of the former Austro- Hungarian county of Severin, which excluded Rijeka and the islands, but was basically in the same territoy. The county of Severin was disassambled in 1786 and mosty added to the county of Rijeka (again excluding the city itself). I have not found info on the coa of that county, it seems it used the coa of Rijeka, which is unusual, since the city used the same (as Hungarian crownland).
Possibly at some time the coa was chnaged to something similar to the one that is used today: divided in three - 1. Croatia; 2. azure, a mountain range vert with snow-covered tops, in front a fortified city, in chief crossed spike-mace argent and schmittar or; 3. azure, between two clifs or a three-masted sailling vessel with long tricolour pennant and a mullet or.
The flag is light blue with the coat of arms in the middle and thin white stripes near the top and bottom (Israeli style). Ratio 1:2 (according my observation, and very probably official).
Source: photographs and drawings from D. Munic et al. "Zupanija primorsko-goranska - the County of Coast and Gorski kotar", Rijeka, 1996.
Željko Heimer, 28 June 1998

Concering County of Severin Coat of Arms, Zeliko's suggestion is possible. I have bought a book: Csa'ki, Imre: A magyar kira'lysa'g va'rmegyéinek ci'merei a XVIII-XIX. sza'zadban, Corvina, Budapest, 1995 , in which are shown (one big coat of arms in each page!) all the coats of arms of the counties of the Hungarian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the XVIII. and XIX. centuries.
The coat of arms shown for the "Modrus-Fiume va'rmegeye"-"Szeverin va'rmegyei" [Modrus (?) -Rijeka county - Severin county] is so described: cartouche shield divided per fess: 1- divided per pal: a- chequered of 25 gules and argent; b- azure an anchor argent with a palm leaf vert per bend and a sword argent and or per bend sinister; 2- azure (light) on a sea azure between two cliffs argent a little ship brown with two sails tierced per pal gules, argent and vert and a banner of the arms of Hungary. On the whole an inescutcheon or with the letters I.II.M.T [for Joseph II, Maria Theresia]. The supporters are: dexter, a lion regardant or tongued gules, sinster an eagle regardant sable armed or tongued gules.The shield is surmounted by a royal crown or. The whole is on a board. The coat of arms was adopted as a seal in 1778. I cannot understand Hungarian, but the text is also describing the coat of arms of Fiume county.
Pascal Vagnat, 28 June 1998

Description is indeed what was Severin county Coat of Arms. However, I am not sure if Modrus-Fiume continued to use it unchanged...
Željko Heimer, 2 July 1998

On the web site <> it is possible to see the correct flag of the Primorsko - Goranska zupanija (Croatian Coast and Mountains County).
Janko Ehrlich Zdvorak, 17 August 2000

we had some specualtions regarding the previous use of this Coat of Arms, but based on info from the County site (<>) one can get the official description of the Coat of Arms and it's origin. Based on that here it is:
The coat of arms is in shield of so called German shape, divided per fess and upper part per pale: 1. chequy Gules and Argent; 2. Azure, a coastal fortified City Argent with buildings roofed Gules surrounded with Mountains Vert topped with Snow and in chief a Sabre Or and a spiked Mace Argent in saltire; 3. Azure, a Sail Boat proper with white sails and Croatian triband pennant at mizzen-masthead, in chief dexter a Frankopan Star Mullet) Or all between Cliffs proper. The coat of arms is the same as those used by the Rijeka County between 1786 and 1886, that is in turn based on the coat of arms of Severin County. The flag is light blue with a thin white stripe near both horizontal edges (width of the stripe 1/16 of flag hoist, as it is the offset from the edge). In the middle there is the County coat of arms.
The Severin County 1778-1786 used another CoA (similar, but with anchor in second field, and with inescutcheon). Afterwards, since 1886 to the end of Austian-Hungarian Empire, the Modrus-Fiume County used the same Coat of Arms as Severin County. So, the modern County decided to readopt the one used inbetween for Fiume County (as can be seen from images on the mentioned site).
Željko Heimer, 22 October 2000

The decision on adoption of the symbols: Odluka o grbu i zastavi Primorsko-goranske ~upanije, 15.06.1995. Slu~bene novine Primorsko-goranske ~upanije, br. 13/95, 26. lipnja 1995.
Source: [osg02]
Željko Heimer, 15 June 2003

In 1993, there were published two decision regarding the comission to adopt the symbols:
- Odluka o osnivanju Komisije za grb i zastavu, 17.06.1993. Slu~bene novine }upanije primorsko-goranske, br. 5/93, 20. srpnja 1993.
- Odluka o imenjovanju clanova Komisije za grb i zastavu, 17.06.1993. Slu~bene novine }upanije primorsko-goranske, br. 5/93, 20. srpnja 1993.
The name of the members of the comission are this: Akademik Lujo Margetic, Akademik Branko Fucic, Dr. Petar Strcic,
Nenad Labus, Daina Glavocevic, Berislav Valuaek, Prof. Goran Crnkovic, Prof. Goroslav Oatric, Kap. Branko Kundih, dipl. iur., Dr. Rozalija Sokolic-Maruaic, Prof. dr. Nikola Matejcic.

The next is the decision adopting the symbols, already quoted by me: Odluka o grbu i zastavi Primorsko-goranske ~upanije, 15.06.1995. Slu~bene novine Primorsko-goranske ~upanije, br. 13/95, 26. lipnja 1995.
The decision as issued contains also two black-white illustrations, the flag and the coat of arms each in a full size of the page (ca. 23 cm. in size).

In 1997 there are two decisions.
- Odluka o koriatenju grba }upanije primorsko-goranske, 28.02.1997, Slu~bene novine }upanije primorsko-goranske, br. 4/97, 12. o~ujka 1997.
- Odluka o koriatenju grba }upanije primorsko-goranske, 26.11.1997, Slu~bene novine }upanije primorsko-goranske, br. 24/97, 28. studenog 1997.
The two are permitions for usage of the Coat of Arms by various organizations, in the first case on the "Croatia Airlines" airplane name "Rijeka" (I was flying by it some time ago, and the Coat of Arms is indeed there, next to the front door). The other is the permition to the county firefighters organization to use the county Coat of Arms on their flag.
Željko Heimer, 15 August 2003

Coat of Arms

by Željko Heimer, 22 October 2000

Historical County of Severin Flag

by Željko Heimer, 24 March 2003

Coat of arms was granted in 1778. The County of Severin was dissembled in 1786, most of it parts were given to the newly formed County of Rijeka. The flag was in use together with the flag of the County of Rijeka for a long time. Adopted: 18th century.
Source: Jelena Borosak-Marjanovic: Zastave kroz stoljeca, zbirka zastava i zastavnih vrpca Hrvatskog povjesnog muzeja, Hrvatski povjesni muzej, Zagreb, 1996.
Željko Heimer

The flag is supposed to be sideways, i.e. it has a sleave at the left edge of the image. With this sleave it is attached to the flagstaff. However, design is "read" properly only when this flagstaff is held horisontally.
Željko Heimer, 24 March 2003

Municipalities' Ceremonial Flags

It is highly probable that all of the The Coast and Gorski Kotar County cities and communities also have a ceremonial flag, similar in design to the one that is used by Kraljevica. If I don't report them it is only because I have no info on them and their existance. This is because they are produced in one example each and are not that often seen. If they are not docummented in legislation on otherwise in media (TV, newspapers, web) they remain virtually "hidden".
Željko Heimer, 24 June 2003

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