Rijeka is the principal seaport and the third-largest city in Croatia. It is located on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea and has a population of 128,624 inhabitants. The metropolitan area, which includes adjacent towns and municipalities, has a population of more than 240,000.
Historically, because of its strategic position and its excellent deep-water port, the city was fiercely contested, especially among Italy, Hungary, and Croatia, changing hands and demographics many times over centuries. According to the 2011 census data, the overwhelming majority of its citizens are presently Croats, along with small numbers of Bosniaks, Italians and Serbs.
Rijeka is the main city of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. The citys economy largely depends on shipbuilding and maritime transport. Rijeka hosts the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc, first built in 1765, as well as the University of Rijeka, founded in 1973 but with roots dating back to 1632 School of Theology.
Linguistically, apart from Croatian, the population also uses its own unique dialect of the Venetian language, Fiumano, with an estimated 20,000 speakers among the autochthonous Croats and various minorities. Historically Fiumano served as a lingua franca for the many ethnicities inhabiting the multicultural port-town.
In 2016, Rijeka was selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2020, alongside Galway, Republic of Ireland.
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