Opatija - the Adriatic fairtytale that once hosted European royalty

in Pinmapple6 months ago (edited)

Hello to everyone.

We're off on another journey, and this time we're going to a beautiful spot together. Opatija is truly the crown jewel of our Kvarner region. With stunning sea vistas, stunning architecture, and a variety of activities.

I hope you appreciate this post as much as I did taking photographs to better represent the wonderful Opatija to you. #haveyoubeenhere


Opatija, a city with a rich history and remarkable culture, is the ideal combination of elegance and breathtaking sea views - both of which are required for an unforgettable trip.

Opatija was a desirable European destination at the beginning of the development of tourism in this area due to its great location between the sea on one side and the lush vegetation of the Učka mountain in the hinterland.

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Opatija, often known as the "Queen of the Adriatic," is a tourist resort in Croatia with the longest tourism tradition. Because of its geographical location, Opatija began to emerge as a tourist destination at the end of the nineteenth century, and today Opatija is a symbol of our tourism and a site where many Croats 'escape' for the weekend to enjoy the beauty of the city, rich vegetation, and pleasant climate.


It's time to take a trip to the Opatija Riviera!

Opatija was a little coastal town that was poorly populated and of little importance, but the pleasant climate and stunning terrain would draw an increasing number of nature enthusiasts. In the 15th century, there was a little church of St. Jacob , a Benedictine convent (Opatija in Croatian - meaning Abbey) that eventually took on its current look and shape, and from which this old lady of the Adriatic earned her name. Opatija is becoming more accessible, particularly to the elite from outside, as roads and infrastructure improve. Hotels are increasingly being created for Habsburgs and celebrities.

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St. Jacob's Church

Dates from the 15th century, and it was the Benedictine abbey that gave Opatija its name. It no longer has its original form because it underwent considerable changes in the 16th century, and restorations and reconstructions towards the end of the 18th century give it an entirely different appearance. Today, there is a duplicate of our famous sculptor Ivan Meštrović's monument "Pieta." Today, the Church of St. Jakov is an important piece of cultural and monumental heritage, as well as one of Opatija's symbols.

The monastery (Opatija) was built in the XII century , and it is considered that the church was built on the site of a former shrine to another gods. We can only assume if it was Apollo or Anzotica, the Liburnian goddess of love, health, and fertility. Love has always been a welcome guest in the magnificent Opatija, in the territory that we still call Liburnia today after the ancient tribe who resided here.


Villa Angiolina

The villa was created in the 19th century by order of Rijeka aristocratic Ignacio Scarpa, who had a luxurious villa built in honor of his loving wife. Its history and the beginning of the development of tourism in Opatija are intertwined, and the building itself served as a gathering place for the wealthy Rijeka elite as well as a venue for all major social events. Not far from the structure is a lovely charming garden and park called Park Villa Angiolina, which was named after the villa.


I'm not sure how it is in your cities, but in ours, as you can see in the photo, they have gradually begun with Christmas songs and decorations, and I'm very excited about that. I simply adore Christmas, Christmas carols and decorations.

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I have to say that this is one of my favorite aspects about Opatija. Such a lovely garden and villa, and knowing it was built in honour of beloved wife... Of course, for us ladies, romance is in our blood.:)

Statue of violinist Jan Kubelik, Park Villa Angiolina

Wall of fame in Angiolina park, Opatija

Graffiti Angiolina park Opatija depicting famous people who visited this Croatian touristic city: Gustav Mahler, Isadore Duncan, Albert Einstein, Zucchero, Franz Joseph I., Rikard Katalinic Jeretov, Leo Sternbach, Andrija Mohorovicic, Drago Gervais, James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, Robert De Niro, Kirk Douglas, Auguste and Louis Lumiere


Maiden with the Seagull


What follows is a photograph of one of my favorite sculptures in Opatija. There are two legends about a girl with a pigeon, one authentic and the other presented to me as a child who came to swim there in the summer. Of course, I'm going to tell you both. :)

A maiden extends her hand to a seagull on the cape in front of the former cemetery. It is, however, a modern sculpture, the work of sculptor Car, which was built here in 1956 and has since become one of Opatija's icons. Until it was damaged by a storm, a statue of Rathauski's "Madonna del Mare" from Graz stood in its stead (his is also the fountain "Helios and Selene" in the park between the church of St. James and the Hotel Imperial). "Madonna" was commissioned to guard the spirit of Count Arthur Kesselstadt, who went missing near the cape in the pre-Easter waves of 1891. Countess Fries also died on that journey, but her son Georg was saved.

The original Madonna statue is now preserved in the Croatian Museum of Tourism in Villa Angiolina, and a gilded version of the Madonna may be seen in front of the church of St. Jacob.

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You're probably wondering who the Maiden with the Seagull is. No one knew the answer to this question for 55 years, until Mrs. Jelena Jendrašić of Crikvenica revealed that she was the model for the statue. The sculptor Zvonko Car, who created the statue, refused to reveal the name of the "Maiden with the Seagull," saying, "Those who wish to know should make a guess"!


My very own funny legend

And now for a somewhat more entertaining retelling of the tale of the maiden and the seagull. I used to go to Opatija with my family for walks and to spend time with them when I was a kid. In the summer, they would also go swimming at the beach. Of course, in order to see a maiden statue on every visit, my curiosity became a query. So my father told me that the maiden statue was there because once upon a time she was swimming there and came across a shark that ate her. You could conclude that the seashore had lost its allure for me. Not to mention how it wasn't fun for me to stay in the sea for more than 2 minutes because you never know what can happen. :))

I still wonder if there are sharks that swim around looking for human snack, ha ha.

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Hotel Kvarner - The first hotel on the Adriatic coast


It was originally meant as a sanatorium for aristocracy and dignitaries suffering from respiratory illnesses. Its remarkable structure took only ten months to complete. A lot of work was put into establishing Opatija's image as an international health resort, and it was likened to Nice at the time. Many gorgeous villas, hotels, beautiful summer residences, beaches, promenades, and parks were built at the period. Opatija was formally designated as a climatic health resort in 1889, and the honor was well merited.


Fountain - Helios and Selena

The "Helios and Selena" fountain is located near the church of St. Jacob. It is the creation of Graz sculptor Hans Rathautski, the creator of Madonna and Theodore Billroth's bust. The fountain personifies the Sun and Moon in the form of a legendary brother and sister.

Selena (Greek: Selene) is a Moon goddess and personification, while Helios is Selena's brother. Selena takes his place when he completes his voyage over the sky. Helios of the Sun and Selena of the Moon are both personifications.

Croatian Street of Fame

The Croatian Street of Fame is located in Opatija's Slatina, and the marble stars represent persons who have contributed to Croatia's advancement through athletic, scientific, artistic, and other endeavors.

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The first eight stars were set in honor and glory of Nikola Tesla, Miroslav Radman, Dragutin Tadijanović, Miroslav Krleža, Dražen Petrović, Janica Kostelić, Krešimir Ćosić and Oliver Dragojević.

DRAŽEN PETROVIĆ - He was one of the greatest basketball players in the world. While playing in NBA (New Jersey Nets), he unfortunately had a traffic accident. He was travelling to Berlin, to take part in a qualification game for Croatian national basketball team.
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NIKOLA TESLA - was an engineer and scientist known for designing the alternating-current (AC) electric system, and many other useful things we use today. He was born in Smiljan, Croatia.
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RADE ŠERBEDŽIJA - is a Croatian actor known for starring in many Hollywood movies. He is also a movie director and musician.
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Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation

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The Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, often known as the "Great Church" or the "German Church" by locals, is one of the most attractive features of Opatija's landscape. It solves Opatija and provides it the shape of a full city with its outward beauty and imposingness.



The church in Opatija (1913/1914) is a three-nave structure built of Kastav stone in the top section of town. The inside is mostly made up of granite and brick. A high dome rises above the altar, which has a ciborium identical to the one in Euphrasian basilica in Poreč. Carl Seidl (1858-1936), a Viennese pupil of Theophil Hansen, was tasked with the draft preparation of the new church. The church's building began in 1906, and the monastery's construction began at the same time.
The monastery, which was taken over by the Jesuits in 1960, is located next to the church, which is still under construction. The Lourdes cave (1942) is located at the bottom of the church, and next to it is the altar of the Mother of God of Trsat, which was erected during a time when visiting Trsat was difficult due to political reasons.

Lungomare, Opatija riviera

Lungomare is a 12 km beachfront promenade that connects the towns of Volosko, Opatija, Ičići, Ika, and Lovran on the Opatija Riviera.


The promenade restoration began in 1885, coinciding with the opening of Opatija's first hotels (Grand Hotel Kvarner, 1884 and Hotel Imperial, 1885). It was finished in 1889, when Opatija was designated as a climatic health resort, and amalgamated with Lovran in 1911, during the most rapid expansion of tourism on the Riviera.



How magnificent is a tree that emerges from the concrete and stands so proud and strong?

Before I end our vacation, I'll share a couple more photos that definitely deserve to be included in this post.







I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that you loved the photographs as well.

I have to say that I enjoyed the walk through Opatija; the day was made for a walk, with not a single cloud in the sky.

Till my next adventure, feel free to stop by and say hi ! :)

There is pleasure in the pathless woods. There is rapture on the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea and music in its roar. I love not man the less, but Nature more.

–Lord Byron


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the pictures look really great, certainly not only because of the weather haha. I will definitely remember Opatija... the church with its kastav stones looks incredibly beautiful.