Written by: Larry Ambrozich
The unbreakable bond between Rijeka and the sea can be observed at every step in the city, and many events are dedicated to that bond between the city and the sea, which is especially noticeable at the beginning of summer when the sea becomes more approachable and peaceful. One of the many events by the sea is Fiumare.
The Kvarner festival of the sea and maritime tradition. It takes place at the beginning of June and it sends Rijeka a hundred years back into the past. It revives the time when the area by its Dead Canal (Mrtvi kanal) used to be a location of intense commercial traffic. It was a time when boats from the Kvarner islands, as well as other parts of Primorje, sailed into the Dead Canal full of goods for sale or for further transport, and sailed out of it overloaded because when they had unloaded what they had, they uploaded what they did not have. For example, salt would be traded for flour, and fish, olive oil and wine for tools, leather products, fabrics, etc.
Fiumare is an opportunity for the citizens of Rijeka and their guests to see traditional boats, try authentic products, admire beautiful national costumes from all over Croatia, take part in interactive workshops of maritime and fishing skills, ship-modelling workshops, etc. It is also an opportunity to enjoy traditional songs and dances, guided tours of theatres and historic locations in the city's nucleus, and regattas of traditional sailing boats. An opportunity to get acquainted with fishing, calafat (shipbuilding) and maritime skills, to "have a peek" into the Rijeka from the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century.
There is another event in June that returns Rijeka to the sea after the winter rest. Fiumanka, a sailing festival that gathers almost two hundred sailing boats and more than two thousand participants every year. It always takes place mid-June, and this queen of sailing events offers a variety of pleasures. Among others, the "Big Fiumanka" (OPEN regatta for cruisers), the EMSR (European Media Sailing Race), and the European media regatta. There are also the Liburnia Race, i.e. a navigation cruiser race from Mali Lošinj to Rijeka, the Rotary Race, a humanitarian Rotary Club race, then there’s the Virtual Fiumanka, a race you can sale from your armchair because it uses the "Virtual Skipper" computer game, the best on-line sailing simulation. Many people find the Liburnia Race and the Big Fiumanka the most interesting because they are, as the organizers of Fiumanka will say, OPEN class regattas in which amateurs can race as well.