Primorsko-Goranska Zupanija, or Primorsko Goranska County, found in the northwestern part of the country, is one of Coratia's 20 integral self-governing units. The Republic of Slovenia borders the area to the north, while in the west, it borders Istria County. To the east lies Karlovac County and Lika-Senj County, while to the southeast, it shares a marine boundary with Zadar County. It also contains part of the sea stretching to the state border, which is located 22 kilometers southwest of the island of Susak. Some islands belonging to the Primorsko-Goranska Zupanija include Cres, Lošinj, Krk, and Rab, to name a few. Geographically, the county can be divided into three subunits: the islands, the coast, and Gorski Kotar, the latter of which also features the highest elevated point in the region, Mt. Risnjak. Mt. Risnjak is part of the Risnjak National Park, encompassing mountains, forests, and diverse plant and animal species. Other natural protected lands in the area are the White and Samarian Rocks and Nature Park Učka, which boasts not only natural heritage but also historical landmarks. The capital city, Rijeka, is located in the central part of the region, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. The city boasts a considerable historical heritage as well as several beaches attracting visitors during the summer months.
Rijeka—the capital city of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and the third largest city in Croatia—features a number of historical and cultural landmarks attracting tourists to the city. Notable sites include the Torpedo factory, with the first European prototypes of a self-propelled torpedo; the Croatian National Theatre building, with artwork by Benvenuti and Matsch; the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Trsat; Trsat Castle, which can offer panoramic views; the Petar Kružić staircase leading to the sanctuary; the Roman arch; Rijeka Cathedral; and the Palace Modello. However, beyond culture and history, Rijeka is a holiday destination among people seeking beach and sea recreation, as the city lies on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Various events take place in Rijeka as well. One such occasion is Rijeka's International Carnival, held annually since 1982. With numerous events preceding the carnival itself, it has reportedly become the biggest carnival in Croatia.
Beyond sightseeing, people can enjoy the natural setting of Primorsko-Goranska by hiking some of the local trails. The county is often nicknamed the "Green Lungs of Croatia" since approximately 67% of its land is forested. Thus, nature enthusiasts can explore hiking areas in two national parks: Risnjak National Park, renowned for the Kupa River's origin, and Učka Nature Park, located on the Istria Peninsula. Additionally, Klek and White and Samarian Rocks offer natural reserves accessible via hiking trails as well. The islands, particularly Cres and Krk, present numerous hiking opportunities, secluded beaches, and diving spots such as Mali Bok and "Reef Mala Glavina" in Zavratnica Bay. Additionally, the Učka Nature Park has a history of continuous human settlement for over 13,000 years. This period has not only left behind a cultural heritage but also influenced the park's ecosystem. The inhabitants engaged in animal husbandry, agriculture, and forestry, shaping the landscape with dry walls, shepherds' dwellings, and field shelters that still exist today as a cultural and historical heritage. These man-made landscapes have become significant biological habitats, forming a distinctive ecosystem.
Kvarner Bay, encircled by the Absyrthian islands of Rab, Krk, Cres, and Lošinj, represents one of Croatia's holiday destinations. These islands feature landscapes of bora-sculpted cliffs and vegetation with over 2,700 plant species, including lavender, sage, myrtle, and umbrella pines. In the sea waters, animal species, such as dolphins and Mediterranean monk seals, can be spotted. For those seeking a more relaxed experience, the Crikvenica-Vinodol Riviera offers a climatic health resort, with the Therapia Hotel, which dates back to 1895.
The Primorje-Gorski Kotar County is found in the northwestern part of Croatia, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. The geographically diverse landscape consists of three distinct regions: the coastal area and its hinterland, the islands, and Gorski Kotar. The coastline is highly indented, with a total length of over 1,100 kilometers, making it a significant shipping and maritime center. Gorski Kotar is characterized by plateaus, fields, valleys, and mountainous regions, providing conditions for forestry and wood-processing industries. Mt. Risnjak, with an elevation of 1,529 meters above sea level, is the highest peak of the Primorsko-Goranska Zupanija, found in the western part of Gorski Kotar. The island region, including Krk, Cres, Rab, and smaller islets, has a Mediterranean climate, and its economy mostly relies on tourism, agriculture, and fishing.
There are a number of protected natural areas within the Primorsko-Goranska Zupanija. One of them is Risnjak National Park, found in the central part of the county. Risnjak and Snježnik, two mountain massifs, stand amidst the forested expanse of Gorski Kotar. Situated merely three kilometers apart, the mountains are said to appear as "face-to-face mountain twins." Part of the national park is also the Kupa River. Risnjak, covered by forests, earned its place among national parks primarily due to its diverse forest communities inhabiting the national park. Another protected area, located in close proximity to the county's eastern borders, is the nature preserve White and Samarian Rocks. The nature preserve features natural rock formations with sharp peaks towering over 50 meters tall, with faults, grooves, joints, and cliffs that make it inaccessible. The highest point, 1,335 meters above sea level, provides panoramic views of the surrounding nature. Toward the western borders of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County is located the Nature Park Učka, stretching across the county's borders into Istria County. The nature preserve encompasses Učka mountain and part of Ćićarija, situated along the northern Adriatic coast. Its diverse topography, proximity to the sea, and vegetation provide habitats for endemic and protected species.
Regarding climatic conditions and weather in the county's capital, Rijeka, the warmest month is generally July, with an average daily temperature of 26°C. Reportedly, January is the coldest month, as temperatures average a high of 5°C. January also tends to be the driest month in Rijeka because it generally receives 100 mm of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during October, which typically receives about 188 mm.
Primorsko-Goranska Zupanija, or Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, has a history dating back to ancient times, with traces of the original population found in various locations across the region, such as Lopar on the island of Rab; Osorčica on the island of Lošinj; the slopes of Istrian Ćićarija, especially in the area of Brseč; Mošćenica; and Lovran. Later, Illyrians played a role in shaping the region's culture. Primorsko-Goranska's millennial life was characterized by matriarchy, crouched burials, maritime activities, and early interactions with the Greeks.
Rijeka, the capital city of the Primorsko-Goranska Zupanija, has been inhabited since ancient times. A testament to that is the Roman arch, the oldest architectural monument in the town. During the time of Augustus, the Romans reconstructed the Celtic settlement of Tarsatica as a municipium Flumen on the right bank of the river Rječina. It was part of the Roman Province of Dalmatia until the 6th century and formed a part of the Liburnia limes, with remnants of the walls still visible today. After the 4th century, the city was rededicated to St. Vitus and ruled by various entities such as the Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Lombards, and Avars. In the 7th century, Croats settled the area known as Rika svetoga Vida. Throughout its history, the city of Rijeka experienced various rulers, including the Frankish forces and the House of Frankopan, before coming under Austrian Habsburg rule for over 450 years until the end of World War I.
One of the predominant historical landmarks within the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County is Trsat Castle, which is believed to be situated on the site of an ancient Illyrian and Roman fortress. Initially owned by the Frankopan family, the castle was rebuilt in the 19th century and later became the residence of Field-Marshal Laval Nugent von Westmeath. The castle offers panoramic views of the Rječina gorge and now includes a mausoleum dedicated to Nugent. Today, the castle courtyard has been transformed into a restaurant which attracts tourists during the summer months. Throughout its history, Trsat Castle played a role in various military events and was in the ownership of different noble families.
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