Rijeka architect I. Hencke designed the Orthodox Church of St Nicholas in 1787, and the street that leads from the City Tower connecting the Korzo promenade to the waterfront, bears his name. The Church’s facade does not show any denominational affiliation; on the contrary, it entirely reflects the representations of the central European late Baroque period.
The drafts of the original construction project with the architect’s signature have been preserved. The construction of larger gates was ordered by the city authorities to ensure coastal cannons could be housed, if necessary. Although the building’s location on the coastline of that time was actually detailed in a document by Rijeka’s town planner and architect A. Gnamb, a legend about the construction of St. Nicholas’ Church goes rather differently.
Most of Rijeka’s Orthodox community was formed by Serbian immigrants, who were the traditional mediators in the trade ties linking Austria and Turkey. It is said that at one time, upon their constant insistence, Rijeka’s governor got so angry that he granted them a special “building licence”. Standing on the seashore at that time in front of the City Tower, he cast a stone as far as he could into the sea, with the words “build your church there”. According to the legend, Rijeka’s Orthodox citizens immediately started reclaiming and levelling the land in that area. To the north, in Adamićeva Street, there were shops alongside the church which were redesigned by architect B. Slocovich at the beginning of the 20th century, very much in the Art Nouveau style.