Tourist Association of the City of Rijeka
Užarska 14, Rijeka,
Phone: +385 51 315 710,
Fax +385 51 315 720
Tourist Information Centre
Korzo 33, 51000 Rijeka,
Phone +385 51 335 882
Fax: +385 51 214 706
The town of Rijeka has been well known for its carnival festivities since the Middle Ages. In ancient
times, the guests of Rijeka Carnival were the nobles from the Austro - Hungarian Empire, Russia,
Germany and all of Europe. The most famous mayor of New York, Mr. Fiorello la Guardia, included his
impressions of the 1906. Rijeka Carnival Ball in his book 'Memories'.
The carnival festivities take place on Korzo, the main pedestrian street, and other squares.
One can find a real treasury of carnival customs in the folklore of the villages in the suburbs of Rijeka such as Halubje - Halubajski zvoncari (Masked dancers wearing bells), Pehlin - Pehinarski festari, Zejane - Zejanski zvoncari, V. Brgud - Brgujski zvoncari, Mune - Munski zvoncari, Crni Lug - Pesniki...
The colourful parade of masks from the rich carnival tradition of the Kvarner region as
well as those from the continental part of Croatia, and some masked groups coming from abroad, can be seen every year on the last Sunday of carnival festivities in Rijeka. On that day, the Mayor of Rijeka
gives the key of the town to more than 15000 masqueraders who then rule the town making no difference
among the people according to their age, property, race or religious beliefs.
In carneval time, regardless of weather conditions, 'Zvoncari' as a big group go from village to village in
the region, following always the same schedule drawn up centuries ago.
There is a legend telling how 'Zvoncari' scared away Tatars or Turks when they tried to invade the region: the shepherds of that time wore sheepskin, put a mask on their heads, belted on a bell, and producing a deafening noise scared away the enemy. That is why the equipment of a 'Zvoncar' includes elements of arms.
The magic function of 'Zvoncari' has nowdays been pushed into the background. With their impressive appearance they are a first-class touristic attraction. They are well known also outside their region.
'Zvoncari' are the best guardians of folk tradition and the identity of this region.
Mind that people from Susak are quite particular ones. So if you see a women or two taking their - you know what - don't mind. Just proceed as nothing happened.
In this place I would like to apologize to the people of Susak (they are all great) for being so direct, but after a long thinking I just decide to describe that event to show that habbits are different in the world. And what would the world look like if people were the same everywhere. It would be damned dull!
There are some "snappy" shoppers who come to the city to walk the Korso, and I guess look to buy someting, or practice walking on the rough stone pavement. They are used to it, as I note
Rijeka is perfect for a stroll without getting yourself lost along the way. The city is very self explanatory, so you don't really need a map, just take a wander.