Opatija, often called the Nice of the Adriatic, is one of the most popular tourist resorts in Croatia and a place with the longest tourist tradition on the eastern coast of the Adriatic...
Opatija, often called the Nice of the Adriatic, is one of the most popular tourist resorts in Croatia and a place with the longest tourist tradition on the eastern coast of the Adriatic.
In 1844 the powerful merchant Higinio von Scarpa erected Villa Angiolina, with beautiful green and a lavish park around it, visited by distinguished guests - the Croatian Viceroy Josip Jelacic, the Austrian empress Maria Anna - which soon made Opatija a popular excursion destination of the inhabitants from Rijeka, then of the Italians and Austrians. Opatija was the first in the region of the Adriatic to introduce tourist statistics already in 1884, and the first hotel on the Adriatic, called Kvarner, was built by the Society of the Southern Railways in 1884; situated on the very coast and luxuriously furnished, it attracted exclusively elite guests. With the construction of the hotel, Opatija became an elite summer resort, so that, apart from the 12km-long promenade (Lungomare) from Volosko - Opatija - Lovran, a mountain path from Opatija to Veprinac and farther to Uka was laid.
Already in 1889 Opatija was declared the first climatic seaside resort on the Adriatic, which strengthened its position as the most fashionable tourist resort. Numerous tourists and owners of the villas contributed by planting exotic plants to the horticultural grandeur.
Opatija was so attractive that, at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, it was visited by the then most prominent personalities of the noble rank - Princess Luise von Sachsen Coburg, the Romanian king Charles I, the Swedish-Norwegian king Oscar, etc. Tourist development is Opatija's main feature even today. Favourable climate, well-maintained landscape, maintained beaches and lively entertainment throughout the year make this place one of the most elite summer resorts in Croatia today. The offer includes 20-odd hotels, a large number of catering establishments, sports and recreational facilities, and especially entertainment opportunities.
Named after the Benedictine abbey of St. James first mentioned in 1449. Between 1560 and 1723 owned by the Augustinians from Rijeka, and since 1774 a property of the chapter of Rijeka. The present chapel of St. Jameswas built in 1506 and extended in 1937.
The beginnings of tourism in Opatija are linked to the completion of the road to Rijeka (1843) and construction of Villa Angiolina. In the mid-1880s several large hotels, boarding-houses, villas, summer mansions, sanatoriums, pavilions, public beaches, promenades and parks were built. The hotels Kvarner (1884), Imperial, Opatija, the park "1st May", the coastal promenade and the sanatorium path to Veprinac date from this period - all built in 1885, Villa Amalia (1890), etc. At the end of the 19th century Opatija was provided with municipal services; electric lights were introduced in 1896, waterworks in 1897, tram in 1908. In 1892 a zoning plan was adopted, according to which buildings were built mainly along the coast, with their fronts facing the sea, ringed by the green. The architecture of hotels, boarding-houses and villas has historicist neo-style features, with occasional examples of Art Nouveau; structured fronts, the size and type of the openings (balconies, loggias) and the ornamentation on the fronts render the buildings a Mediterranean aspect.
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