greatest Rijeka catastrophes of the 20th Century
tales (Tales from Rijeka and its'
People from the end of the
BEAUTIFUL COUNTESS OF
WHY IS BORA HEALTHY
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
Illustrations by Vjekoslav Vojo Radoicic
STORY OF MORO
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
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'.
BEAUTIFUL COUNTESS OF VEPRINAC
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
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
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.
WHY IS BORA HEALTHY
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,
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...