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Rijeka (Town, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Croatia)

Last modified: 2020-11-27 by ivan sache
Keywords: rijeka | sušak |
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Flag of Rijeka - Image by Željko Heimer, 23 August 2002

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Flag of Rijeka

The symbols of Rijeka are prescribed by Decision Odluka o izmjenama Odluke o grbu i zastavi Grada Rijeke, adopted on 26 September 1998 by the Town Assembly and published in the County official gazette Službene novine Primorsko-goranske županije, No. 24, modifying the symbols adopted a few months earlier, upon request of the Ministry of Administration.
Soon after the adoption of the new Town Statutes in 2009, the Decision was amendeded to Odluka o izmjenama i dopunama Odluke o grbu i zastavi Grada Rijeke, adopted on 23 July 2009 by the Town Assembly and published on 25 July 2009 in Službene novine Primorsko-goranske županije, No. 29, to reflect the new administrative structure of the town.
The current Town Statutes (2009) do not include the description of the symbols, just as the previous statutes, only prescribing their existence and a separate Decision to regulate them. In the Town Assembly when the new Statutes were discussed (news), an opposition party proposed that the descriptions were included in the Statutes as well, but the ruling party and the Mayor opposed, explaining that this was not necessary.

The symbols were designed by the Heraldic Art d.o.o. company, from Rijeka.

The flag is in proportions 1:2, blue with the coat of arms, bordered yellow, in the middle.

Željko Heimer, 6 December 2009

Coat of arms of Rijeka

[Coat of arms]

Coat of arms of Rijeka - Image by Željko Heimer, 23 August 2002

The coat of arms is described in the aforementioned Decision as "In an oval shield gules a double-headed eagle sable both heads looking to sinister with raised wings beaked and membered or and langued gules standing with its dexter on a cliff and its sinister holding an amphora proper from which is pouring water filling the space around the cliff".
This is a stylization of the coat of arms granted on 6 June 1659 by the Croatian King and Austrian Emperor Leopold I. This coat of arms is a reference to Rijeka (lit., "river") and to the short, swift river Rječina for which the town is named.

Željko Heimer, 12 September 2009

Symbols of Rijeka, 1998

[Flag]         [Coat of arms]

Flag and arms of Rijeka, 1998 - Image by Željko Heimer, 6 March 2005

The previous symbols of Rijeka were prescribed by Decision Odluka o grbu i zastavi Grada Rijeke, adopted on 26 March 1998 by the Town Assembly and published on 31 March 1998 in Službene novine Primorsko-goranske županije, No. 24.

The flag is prescribed as a tricolor of red (dark carmine) over yellow (dark goldish yellow) over blue (ultramarine) with the coat of arms in the middle.
As it was a separate "crown-land" under the Hungarian crown, separated from Croatian background to serve as Hungarian port town, Rijeka had its own landesfarben, a 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, 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 includes the Austrian Imperial crown above the eagles' heads with two blue ribbons attached to it. Below the shield is a white ribbon inscribed "INDEFICIENTIER".

Željko Heimer, 12 September 2009

Proposal of re-adoption of the flag, 2016


Proposed flag of Rijeka, 2016 - Image by Željko Heimer, 15 July 2016

The Town Assembly of Rijeka adopted unanimously (which is a rare occasion among dozen or more parties represented in the Assembly) on 14 July 2016 a proposal of Decision to change the town's flag back to the historical red-yellow-blue flag with the town's arms in the centre (report, report).
This is, basically, a reversal to the original 1998 Decision, when the tricolour was rejected by the central authorities (Ministry of Administration), arguing that the tricolour is used by an irrdentist organization in Italy. The Town Assembly explained that times are changed, and that the organization today cooperates with the town's authorities and recognizes the incorporation of Rijeka to Croatia. The Assembly also pointed out that the use of the town's flag by a civic society located in another country is irrelevant, at least, and should not be a reason for a town to shun its history.
The Decision has to be approved by the Ministry of Administration before the new-old flag may be officially used.

The material related to the proposal prepared for the Town Assembly includes the original 1870 documents and other interesting background information. Nenas Labus, former Vice President of the HGZD provided a short history of the town's flag.

Željko Heimer, 15 July 2016

Symbols of Rijeka, 1967-1998

[Flag]         [Coat of arms]

Flag and arms of Rijeka, 1967-1998 - Image by Željko Heimer, 6 March 2005

The symbols used in the Socialist period were adopted after a competition held in 1967. The winning proposal was made by Dorian Sokolić (1928-2005), a painter and scenographer in several theatres in Rijeka, Novi Sad and in various theatres in Europe, also Commissioner of the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka, 1969-1980. The type-written sheet explaining the proposal says:

Idea: Rječina, the flow of which in history divided the two banks connects them today in a singular unit - the town of Rijeka.
Shape: the basic shape recalls the cross section of a ship's hull and the classic form of old coats of arms. In the middle is an amphora from which water is flowing as a symbol of endless movement and flow of life. At the same time this is also the oldest symbol of this town.
Colours: Blue - reflection of the sea and the sky; Golden - richness of the town in the past, present and the future.
Flag: simplified contents or stylization of the flow and the delta of river Rječina.

The flag is light blue with two white trangles next to the hoist representing the flow and the delta of the Rječina river. The flag has unusual, elongated proportions, 1:4. The width of the central blue stripe is 1/4 of the hoist size and the triangles are reaching 3/5 of the length.

The coat of arms is a variation of the historical coat of arms of Rijeka in accordance to the style of the period. Neither the coat of arms nor the flag did include the red five-pointed star, otherwise a necessary element in the emblems of the period.

This flag was often hoisted often in Rijeka, together with the contemporary flags of Yugoslavia, Croatia, the Italian minority and the League of Communists. The flags were usually hoisted publicly on the lamp posts, so that each lamp post was adorned with as many as 6 or 8 flags of the same kind. While all the flags except that of Rijeka were in proportions 1:2, the flag of Rijeka preserved its unusual proportions so that it was made equally long but noticably less wide. On several places in the town the masts were also set in a line where the order of the flags was from observer's left to right: Yugoslavia - League of Communists - Croatia - Rijeka - Italian minority. Houses used the usual combinations used at the time elsewhere in the country with only three flags Croatia - Yugoslavia - League of Communists. A large flag of Rijeka was also regularly hoisted from the watchtower of the Civic Dome on the Corso in Rijeka.

These historical symbols have not been totally forgotten, even if they were formally abandoned in 1998. The coat of arms was until today used in some occasions, for instance by the Rijeka public transport company Autotrolej and in the emblem of the F.C. Rijeka. Their fans use the blue and white flags (photo) together with the historical red-yellow-blue tricolours and as well as the current flags of the town.
At the time when this flag was official, its opponents mockingly compared it with hospital pajamas.

Željko Heimer & Robert Grubiša, 30 May 2005

Proposed symbols, 1996

[Flag]         [Coat of arms]

Proposed flag and arms of Rijeka, 1996 - Images by Željko Heimer, 15 July 2016

In 1995-1996, a Commission headed by Petar Strčić was working to define the town's flag. After a competition had been held, the final proposal was presented on 26 February 1996 to the Town Assembly, under the title "Lege Artis". As it was afterwards confirmed, the proposal was designed by the designer of the 1967 flag, Dorian Sokolić. The flag was formally adopted by a thin majority, but the final Decision was never drafted nor published, and the new (tricolour) flag was adopted in March 1998.

The 1996 proposal was quartered white and blue, with the coat of arms in the centre. The coat of arms was in a concave shield, quartered, chequy gules and argent, argent a muller of six or, argent and blue and overall a vase or from which golden water issues through the third quarter.

[After Robert Grubiša. Usvajanje riječkih simbola 1990-ih | Adoption of the Symbols of Rijeka in the 1990s, Grb i zastava 2012, 11, 14-16]

Željko Heimer, 15 July 2016

Polytechnic of Rijeka


Flag of the Polytechnic of Rijeka - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 3 June 2020

The flag of the Polytechnic of Rijeka (photo) is blue with the institute's logo.
The logo of the Polytechnic is round in shape. The plane of the horizon divides the sky and the sea, the vertical of the sail with the sail curve repeats the reflection in the water. The perfection of the circle defines the meaning of the Polytechnic of Rijeka.

Tomislav Šipek, 3 June 2020

Sports clubs

Sailing Club "3 May"


Burgee of Sailing Club "3 May" - Image by Željko Heimer, 27 June 2001

The sailing club (website) bears the same name as a big shipyard in Rijeka. I guess it was founded by the workers, and it may still be strongly connected with the company.
The burgee of the club is a triangular pennant quartered white and light blue with two white sails over the two hoist quarters.

Željko Heimer, 27 June 2001

Sailing Club of Rijeka


Burgee of SCOR - Image by Željko Heimer, 3 July 2001

The burgee of SCOR is a triangular pennant horizonatlly divided into purple, yellow and light blue stripes, the first being of double width with a white eight-pointed star. The shade of the upper stripe varies much in different sources from bright red to very dark purpule. The colors are based on the traditional landesfarben of Rijeka originating from the period of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Željko Heimer & José Carlos Alegria, 27 June 2001

Mountaineering Club "Duga"


Flag of PD "Duga" - Image by Ivan Sache, 20 June 2013

The mountaineering club "Duga" (laninarsko društvo "Duga" - PD "Duga"; website) was founded on 23 November 2000 in Rijeka.

The flag of PD "Duga" (photo, photo) is light blue (like the flag of Rijeka) with the club's emblem in the middle.
The emblem of PD "Duga" features a rainbow (in Croatian, duga).

Ivan Sache, 20 June 2013


[Coat of arms]

Coat of arms of Sušak - Image by Željko Heimer, 23 October 2016

While the town of Rijeka (Fiume) was part of the Austria-Hungary ruled as part of Hungary proper, the neighbouring parts, east of river Rječina (Fiumara), were under the administration of the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia. The municipality was first called Trsat, with its seat just above the modern town; in the late 19th century the seat was moved to the coast and renamed Sušak. After the First World War, Rijeka proper was awarded the status of Free State, eventually annexed to Italy, while Sušak remained part of Croatia, within the newly forming South-Slavic state. Regent Crown Prince Alexander, in the name of hist father, King Peter I, signed on 23 October 1919 a Decree granting the status of Town to Sušak (text). The town soon became an important port and industrial centre of interbellum Yugoslavia.
During the Second World War, Sušak was first occupied and then annexed to Italy. After the Italian capitulation, the town was disputed by the Germans and the Yugoslav partisans,
The municipalities of Rijeka and Sušak were formally unified in late 1947; the first session of the united Town People's Commission was held on 12 February 1948. The municipality of Sušak continued to exist until 1962, as the 3rd Rayon of the Town Municipality of Rijeka.

Lašovski [lsv39] shows the arms of Sušak as a blue shield charged with St. Lawrence holding a gril. This design, based on the arms used by the community in the 18th century, were replaced in the 1930s by a new design (image*), probably granted by the King of Yugoslavia.
The Rijeka historic archives kept the proposal of arms sent by Omer Mujadžić, a renown painter born in Bosanska Gradiška, to the Magistrate. Whether this was the pinter's original proposal or his personal rendition of someone else's proposal is not known.
The municipality susequently released revenue stamps (image, image) depicting the coat of arms, which remained in use, with appropriate overprints of name and values, until the unification with Rijeka.

*This cast iron version of the arms is said to be probably from the facade of the Magistrate's house, kept in the Rijeka Maritime and History Museum and presented by Goroslav Oštrić (Monumenta Heraldica: Izbor iz heraldičke baštine Primorsko-goranske županije [osg02]).

Željko Heimer, 23 October 2016