Rijeka (Croatian pronunciation: [rijěːka]; Italian: Fiume, [ˈfjuːme]; Slovene: Reka; German: Sankt Veit am Flaum;) is the principal seaport and the third-largest city in Croatia (after Zagreb and Split). It is located in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea and has a population of 224,784 inhabitants (2018). The metropolitan area, which includes adjacent towns and municipalities, has a population of more than cca.540,000. st.
Historically, because of its strategic position and its excellent deep-water port, the city was fiercely contested, especially among Italy, Hungary (serving as the Kingdom of Hungary’s largest and most important port), and Croatia, changing hands and demographics many times over centuries. According to the 2011 census data, the overwhelming majority of its citizens (94.52%) are Croats, along with small numbers of Bosniaks, Italians and Serbs. The city has a strong local sense of identity and the autochthonous inhabitants of Rijeka are referred to as Fiumans.
Rijeka is the main city of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. The city’s economy largely depends on shipbuilding (shipyards “3. Maj” and “Viktor Lenac Shipyard”) and maritime transport. Rijeka hosts the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc, first built in 1765, as well as the University of Rijeka, founded in 1973 but with roots dating back to 1632 School of Theology.
Apart from Croatian and Italian, linguistically the city is home to its own unique dialect of the Venetian language, Fiuman, with an estimated 20,000 speakers among the autochthonous Italians, Croats and other minorities. Historically Fiuman served as the main lingua franca between the many ethnicities inhabiting the multiethnic port-town. In certain suburbs of the modern extended municipality the autochthonous population still speaks the Chakavian tongue, a dialect of the Croatian language.
In 2016, Rijeka was selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2020, alongside Galway, Republic of Ireland.