Tunnels seem to be in vogue these days: following Pula and Zagreb who restored their underground passages and made them accessible to the public in recent years, Rijeka has done the same with its underground tunnel system and opened it for passengers.
The tunnels were built between 1939 and 1942 for civil protection during World War II. The main branch measures 330 meters in length, connecting the cathedral of St.Vitus to Dolac street on the other side of the city centre. Apart from being a welcome addition to existing tourist attractions in Rijeka, the tunnel network will provide citizens with a convenient route to cut through the crowd on their way around town.
An opening ceremony was held on Friday, May 5th, attracting a lot of intrigued spectators that got the first chance to walk under Rijeka. What could’ve been an average experience was leaning towards surreal instead, thanks to a video installation created by the multimedia artist Sandro Đukić from Zagreb; alternating images were projected onto the walls, transforming the existing layout into a completely different space using light and colour. The tunnels will house various events and art projects – if the technical conditions allow it, seeing the vault is leaking a bit as it is.
„It’s a good tourist product that will also enable our citizens to pass through town without an umbrella when it’s raining, or enjoy a pleasant walk when it’s hot outside“, said Petar Škarpa, head of Rijeka Tourist board. Knowing the whimsical weather in these parts, the first scenario is a much safer bet.
Have a sneak peek of the experience and see this video by Sergej Drechsler from Novi list:
The entrance to the tunnels is free and available from 9 AM to 9 PM daily.