An industrial town with a population of around 170,000, the second largest in Croatia. It has an important European transit port, which is the largest in Croatia. Due to its industrial function, holiday tourism has not developed, but Rijeka is an important Croatian business centre.

The history of Rijeka is very interesting. In the Roman era, the settlement was called Tarsatica and had the rights of a municipium. A Slavic settlement was built in the 7th century. The name Tarsatica persisted well into the 10th century, and was later Croatianised into Trsat, which is now the name of a town district. The account of the town's history resumes in the middle of the 13,h century. In 1223, the medieval fortification became the property of the Frankopans, followed by the lords of Duino and Wallsee. In the 15th century, the town became a powerful trade centre. In 1509 and 1511, it was burnt down during the war against the Venetians. It was granted autonomy at the end of the 16th century, and was declared a free town by Emperor Charles VI in 1719. A special territorial unit called Littorale Hungaricum was established in 1776.

Croatian rule was not re-established until 1822. The Hungarians reclaimed it in the revolutionary year of 1848, but the Croatians forcefully won it back. The status of Rijeka was not resolved until the end of World War I, and in 1919 it was occupied by Italy. In 1924, the Treaty of Rome ceded it to Italy. After the capitulation of Italy in World War II, it was occupied by the Germans in 1943. The Yugoslav army liberated it on May 3, 1945. After the 1947 peace conference in Paris, it became part of Croatia and Yugoslavia again. Rijeka has a rich cultural heritage. The oldest architectural monuments from the Roman era are the Roman Arch (the old town gate) from the 4th century, and part of the town wall with the town tower, which was one of the town gates. Stendardac, a stone pillar for the town flag from 1508, has a special historical background.

The Church of St. Sebastian from 1291 was reconstructed in 1885. The Church of sv. Vid (St. Vitus) began to be built in 1638 but was not completed until 100 years later. The Church of the Assumption (Duomo) was built in the early Middle Ages on the ruins of a Roman spa, and has been reconstructed several times. The free-standing bell tower bears the inscription of the year 1377. The Church of sv. Jerolim (St. Jerome) was built in 1408.

There are a number of magnificent buildings in the old part of town, including the Capuchin church with its elaborate facade. The town has a maritime, a historical and a natural history museum and a gallery of modern art. On a 138-m-high hill above the ravine of the Rijecina River stands the old Trsat Fortress, which is accessible by a famous staircase (Trsatske stube), built in 1531. The Tarsatico Fortification was part of the Roman defence system. As a medieval fortification, it was the property of the Frankopans from the 13th to the end of the 15th century, after which it was ruled by the Hungarians and the town of Bakar. When the Turkish invasions ceased towards the end of the 17th century, it lost its function as a fortification.

In 1750 it was severely damaged in an earthquake and was abandoned. In 1826 it was purchased by the Austrian Marshall Laval Nugent, who reconstructed it while preserving the original early medieval design. The fortification is now a cultural and historical monument, and a viewpoint of the Gulf of Kvarner, Mt. Ucka and the Velebit. Next to the fortification stand the Pilgrimage Church of Our Lady of Trsat, built in 1453, and the Franciscan monastery with a valuable treasury and an art gallery.