Rijeka tales


The greatest Rijeka catastrophes of the 20th Century
Rijeka tales (Tales from Rijeka and its' environs)
Monograph 'Palach'
People from the end of the Century


Legends and traditions

The Story of Moro
, The Little Frog Girl, Stoning the Crucifixion, Chapel of the Votive Gifts, Fourteen Witnesses, Our Lady of Trsat, Ala Ala, Vicar of Brsec, Legend of the origin of Kosljun Island's, The Last Frankopan, On the Stairs, Whirl of Lucin, The Solicitous Milkmaid, Beautiful Countess of Veprinac, Treasure Underneath Trsat, Bell-tower of Kastav, Killing the Old Men, Sack of Rocks, Our Lady of Gorica, How did Kastavians Throw Captain Into the Well, Crest Nearby Kraj, Madonna of Opatija, Caroline of Rijeka, Girl Called Bora, Asparagus Cave, Three boats on Buka

Humorous tales and Stories

Why is Bora Healthy
, Grobnik Men who Spoke Italian, Wow that is not a Wow, How did Fafalo Find a Wife, First Chestnuts, Bulin the Forgetful Groom, Mary Goes to Hollywood, Chamber of Bakar, Men from the Islands and Women from the Coast, Two Grobnik Stories, Two Stories about Fran the Varnisher, Dog's School, Woman's Law, Vicencio Kriskovic Sends His Son Away to University, Recipe for the Shoemakers, O Lord, Give Me the Big Head, The Deceased One, Snow Statue, Vileness of Eterled Karletski and Pisisstrat Weinberg, Philip - I can't do it, Fisherman Casts a Glance, Headless Comrade Ive, Administrator of Grobnik and Mrzle Vodice, How a Girl Proposed to her Sweetheart, Nina and Pierrin, Beaconing Tower, Widow, Man of a Five Crown Coin

Illustrations by Vjekoslav Vojo Radoicic


Long ago, in the battle of Grobnik Plain in 1242, Tatars were destroyed, loosing an entire army of 30,000 people lead by the notorious army leader Buchuk Batukan, grandson of the legendary Genghis Khan. They were beaten by units from all the corners of Croatia, and so natives could be at peace, until the new danger from the east started advancing. From the end of the 15th to the beginning of the 17th century, people were in constant terror of the Turkish force.
During the last advances by the Turkish army towards the Croatian Littoral around 1600, Uskok pirates of Senj often used to tell inhabitants of Rijeka about their fierce battles with Osmanli soldiers. News spread of what the Turks did in Lika, and fear began to reign when it leaked out that they raided the county of Gorski Kotar, the mountainous district at the back of Rijeka. Panic caught hold of Rijeka and its' environs when the powerful Turkish Army raised camp in the nearby Grobnik Plain. During the siege, inhabitants of Rijeka looked toward Heaven and prayed St Michael to release rain of stone on the Turks.
In these fatal days in 1601, the Croatian nobleman Zrinski stood on his Gradina Castle near Jelenje, above Grobnik Field and observed the Turkish army preparing for the final onslaught. He looked and was upset, because he knew his handful of brave men would be obliterated, when the swift Muslim Cavalry comes at them. In the meantime, the Turks raided the whole of Grobnik Plain, its churches and villages. Barbarians drunk wine from the sacred chalices, and held their horses inside the churches. In the middle of the camp, sat a Turkish pasha and smoked his giant pipe, which was steaming like a factory chimney. The poor people escaped in all directions and the Grobnik mountains were full of them. People had no arms except for slingshots and catapults at the best. On the top of the Grobnik mountain Obruc, two brothers sat, both with their slingshots. Looking on the Plain, where Turks and pasha dwelled, one brother said to the other:
- Brother, where shall I shoot him? - thinking of pasha.
- In the eye! - came the answer.
Upon hearing this, the brother who was the more skilled shooter, shot his rock from a slingshot and pasha fell down dead, in the midst of Grobnik plain. When Turkish soldiers lost their leader, they fled, without thought of return. During their escape, heaven granted prayers of the local people and showered rain of burning stones, that buried the Turks on that very Grobnik plain, leaving only their turbans above.
As a memory of this event, the goldsmiths of Rijeka, called moorettists, created earrings with a figure of the Negro with a Muslim turban on his head. These earrings represented Turks, and were named Moorettes or Moros (coming from the word Maurus, meaning Arabs). These earrings were widely accepted among Rijeka ladies and also by women from the city's environs. The goldsmiths made only earrings at first, but later they started to produce other jewellery; rings, bracelets and necklaces, brooches and hairpins, all adorned with the figure of either female or male Moro.
This is the story of MORO that became a part of the traditional jewellery of this region, reminding everyone of that fatal day when 'rain of stone showered from Heaven'.


Once upon a time, Countess Anna Stell dwelled in Veprinac castle, on the very spot where the church lies today. There was a small chapel in front of the castle. This noble lady had a very good nature and was also very beautiful. She gladly offered help, but preferred praise of her beauty to a usual thanksgiving. If someone told her ' thanks for your good heart', she would give him a coin, but if one - enchanted with her beauty - told her, instead of thanking - 'your beauty equals that of Madonna', she would give him two coins. Countess Anna was very vain about her looks, so she didn't even want to bear children, in fear of loosing her appearance. She feared even to think of the fact that when she grows old and ugly, no-one would remember her beauty.
And what did she think of? From Venice, she summoned the best sculptor of the time and commissioned a statue of Our Lady sculpted to her very own appearance. The sculptor said, 'All right milady, but after whom will I carve Jesus Christ? Maybe after your son?'
The Countess answered to the artists: 'No, I will be Madonna without a child'. And so, the sculptor created a statue without a child. No-one saw such a statue before and everyone thought it was a sinful act.
When the statue was finished, Countess Anna set it on the shrine of the small chapel, thinking that everyone who comes to adore Madonna will in fact admire her own figure. She knew it was a sin, but since she did lots of good deeds and helped the poor, she believed God would forgive her.
When the Countess was on her deathbed, she composed a will, assigning all of her possessions to the project of building a great church, much more beautiful than the already existing chapel. It was understood that the main altar of the future church would have Madonna's statue on it with the Countess's appearance.
After many years, when the castle finally collapsed and when people could start building the new church on the very same spot, workers went ahead with taking off the statue of Madonna from the chapel alter and at that very moment, ropes holding the statue snapped. The statue fell down and broke into thousands of pieces.
Thus, even today people remember the good Countess Stell that legated her money for the church, but no-one can remember how she looked. Someone's goodness always counts more than his or her outer appearance, because beauty is transitory, while goodness performs great deeds.


In the beginning of the 20th century, the city of Kraljevica near Rijeka, invested all its' efforts in order to become a renowned climatic sanatorium. At that time, Mika Kosic, M.D., published a booklet describing all the benefits of the Kraljevica climate. There was nothing strange with such a fact, because lots of our towns and cities of that time were proud of different tourist publications, if Doctor Kosic did not attempt to foist on tourist our most unpleasant wind, Bora.
This physician, born in the continental town of Samobor near Zagreb says that Bora has a healing effect on our bodies. Inhabitants of the littoral area consider Bora to be a real benefaction to their health. This wind's influence disables the gathering of carbonic acid between our body and our clothes. Further on, when we fight against it, walking outside, almost all of our body's muscles are engaged, which produces significant heat. Dr Kosic claims that this effort strengthens muscles and toughens skin. After a walk in the Bora, we excrete the mucus from our respiratory system with a certain unusual ease. And the heart is bound to perform more vigorously after each walk in such a wind.
Exposure to Bora is also obvious, says Kosic, in activities of the stomach, because previously unperceived hunger demands a make up of the lost energy. Summit of Bora's benefices is certainly a long and peaceful sleep.
Lots of wind prevents the gathering and multiplying of micro-organisms. And what to tell about men and women of this region? Kosic thinks of them as the symbol of longevity, especially when it comes to women. The littoral area does not have many diseases, because Bora carries them away before they even start 'plundering'. This sanatorium physician concludes that, no doubt, in the near future we will witness Bora becoming acknowledged as a medicinal means, despite those who wanted to defame the littoral area on the same basis.
And now, let's quickly go to the city of Kraljevica...