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Rijeka (The Coast - Gorski Kotar County, Croatia)

Last modified: 2002-09-21 by dov gutterman
Keywords: coast | gorski kotar | croatia | primorsko-goranska | rijeka | fiume |
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by Zeljko Heimer

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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 CoA "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 CoA) 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 CoA 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.
Zeljko Heimer , 24 March 2000

Former Unofficial Flag

by Zeljko Heimer

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.
AFAIK, Rijeka still has not adopted the flag (and COA) due to discrepancies of opinion of locally ruling colation and local oposition that is ruling the country, wheater the COA 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 RYB flag is in unofficial use.
Zeljko Heimer , 1 March 1999

Coat of Arms

by Zeljko 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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