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Today the Archives supervises more than twenty thousand linear meters of current records in the County and in the city of Senj. Inside, there are four thousand linear meters of archival storage as well as seven hundred and forty archival collections. The oldest document deposited in the State Archives in Rijeka comes from the year 1201.

Particular value among the older records represent the following collections: 

Charters and Muniments (starting from 1201), 
Collection of Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths (starting from 1560), and 
Statutes of Municipalities (starting from 1423). 

The language of the older records was predominantly Latin and Italian; only occasionally Croatian.  

Tradition of safe keeping of records in public offices has been practiced in Rijeka continuously since the 15th century. However, the systematic activity of gathering, keeping and processing historical archival material began only when the independent institution of the Royal State Archives (R. Archivio di Stato in Fiume) was founded on the 1st of September 1926. Royal decree issued on the 6th of December 1928 attested the existence of the Archives in Rijeka, but only as a branch of the Royal State Archives in Trieste. That status and the same name (R. Archivio di Stato – Sezione di Fiume) has remained until the year 1945; until the end of the Italian rule in Rijeka. In the Yugoslav State Rijeka  was united with the People’s Republic of Croatia, which ended the unnatural separation from her Croatian hinterland. From 1945 until 1947 the Archives was run as an independent institution, as Državni Arhiv Rijeka. In February 1948 it became an integral part of the Zagreb State Archives under the name Ispostava Državnog Arhiva u Zagrebu. By the  end of 1949 the former name and status of an independent institution had been returned. From 1959 the name was changed to Historijski Arhiv Rijeka, and  under that name it operated until 1993, when the name changed into Povijesni Arhiv Rijeka. In the independent Croatian State the Archives has been renamed in 1997 into Državni Arhiv u Rijeci, the name which is used today.

In its seventy years long existence the Archives has been sharing the destiny of the town of Rijeka. Its achievements were restricted by specific conditions, in particular by the administrative and practical parameters in which the Archives worked. Congruently with the latter, the sphere of the Archives’ activity has been changing. From its foundation until 1945 the archives was active in the Kvarner Region which, in addition to Rijeka and the Liburnian part of Istria, encompassed a substantial part of Slovenian Karst. During the Second World War the scope of the Archives extended over parts of the south-western Croatia annexed by Italy. In the period after 1945 the Archives’ area of activity extended over the whole of Croatian Istria and over the islands of Cres, Loąinj and Krk. When the Archives was founded in Pazin, in 1958, the Archives in Rijeka was left with reduced sphere of activity which covered only the eastern, Liburnian part of Istria. Loss of mandate in these parts was compensated by extension of the area of activity in Primorje (Croatian Littoral) and Gorski Kotar. At that time the Archives has encompassed the regional sphere of activity which includes today the entire area of the Primorsko-Goranska county as well as the city of Senj in the Ličko-Senjska county. Frequent changes of governments in the area over which the competence of the Rijeka Archives extended resulted in extinction of a number of administrative, legislative, military, educational and economic organizations, which left behind very extensive archival material. It is, therefore, characteristic for this institution the speed by which the quantity of the archival material has been increased, so that since the foundation of the Archive the length of archival storage has increased tenfold.

 

Today the Archives supervises more than twenty thousand linear meters of current records in the County and in the city of Senj. Inside, there are six thousand five hundred linear meters of archival storage as well as seven hundred and forty archival collections. The oldest document deposited in the State Archives in Rijeka comes from the year 1201.
Particular value among the older records represent the following collections:

  • Charters and Muniments (starting from 1201),
  • Collection of Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths (starting from 1560),
  • Statutes of Municipalities (starting from 1423). 

The language of the older records was predominantly Latin and Italian; only occasionally Croatian. 
In the second half of the 19th century German, Hungarian and Croatian languages predominated, while the material from the time of Italian rule (1918-1943) was written in Italian. Roman alphabet was the prevalent script, while the earlier documents were written in a variety of Gothic and Roman scripts. Of particular significance are the documents written in ancient Croatian Glagolitic characters. The ever increasing needs of the Archives demanded gradual increase of staff. From only three employees at the inception of the Archives the number has  grown to twenty presently, among them ten professional archivists with the highest qualifications. 

Their work is organized in the following departments:

  • Department for Archival Material, headed by Boris Zakošek, dipl.soc.
  • Department for Current Records, headed by Zoran Stanković, dipl.iur.
  • Library and Reading-room, headed by Mladen Urem, prof.
  • Department for Conservation and Restoration, headed by Iva Gobić Vitolović, prof.

By the number of professionals employed and by the quantity of archival records the State Archives in Rijeka is among the leading archives in the network set up by the Croatian Ministry of Culture.

The Palace Housing the Archives
Since the inception in 1926 the Rijeka State Archives has been based in the same building - - in the former residence of the Archduke Joseph, a relative of the Austrian Emperor and Croatian King Franz Joseph I. Due to disagreement with the Emperor, the Archduke Joseph was forced to take up residence in the Hungarian half of the Monarchy and settled down in Rijeka. There he bought a country house from the Rijeka patrician Mihovil Androche, built at the end of the 17th century. The house was enlaged for the Archduke according to the design of the architect Rafael Culotti from Rijeka. The
 reconstruction of the residence was completed in 1895, and Rijeka had been enriched with one of the best-proportioned palaces from the turn of the century, built in elegant historicism. The surrounding grounds laid out as an English park, ennobled with a number of exotic plants, have been transformed into one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in this part of Europe.

Today the building has a reading room sitting twenty researchers, a small lecture room with forty places and a fine exhibition hall.

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