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Destination Details

Opatija, Croatia

In Croatia, tourism plays an important role and Opatija is the place where the story of Croatian tourism begun. It all started back in 1844 when Ignacio Scarpa, a wealthy merchant tired of living in the neighboring, noisy and hectic harbor town of Rijeka, was searching for a place where he could escape for a while and have a rest from his everyday life. He found such a place some fifteen kilometers away in a peaceful grove close to the church of St. James in Opatija. There he erected a summer residence and called it after his late wife Angiolina.

It is impossible to list all the names of the famous guests. However, we must not omit Friedrich Schüller, the General Director of the Southern Railroad from Vienna and the initiator of the tourist development of the city, and Dr. Julius Glax and Theodor Billroth who deserve thanks for assisting in the development of health tourism. Others included numerous members of European high society such as Croatian governor Josip Jelačić, the archduke Ferdinand, empress Maria Anna, Austrian heirs Stephanie and Rudolph, Austrian emperor Franz Joseph, German emperor Wilhelm, Swedish-Norwegian King Oscar II, Romanian royal couple Karol and Elizabeta, composers Gustav Mahler and Giovanni Puccini, author James Joyce, Nobel prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz, Russian novelist Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, and popular dancer Isadora Duncan who found inspiration for her dance moves from Opatija’s palm trees.

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