The history of the place we now informally call the Benčić culture park starts in the 18th century, when a sugar refinery was established in Rijeka as one of the first companies to show Rijeka’s industrial potential. It was a big company from which we now have only the Administrative building, looking at the Rijeka central train station. When the sugar refinery collapsed, a tobacco factory took its place. Not until 1945 was there mention of Benčić’s name, but at that point the Rikard Benčić Factory of Engines and Tractors came to the scene, and was there until 1995, the age of Croatian transition, when all industry collapsed and we had to rethink our purpose.
One of them is the culture, which nowadays has started to use those former industrial complexes as its venues. So, in ex-complex Benčić, we hope that by 2020, when Rijeka becomes European Capital of Culture, there will be the City of Rijeka Museum, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the City Library and the Children’s House, a place where children can become not just culture consumers, but active & creative citizens.
If you come to Benčić culture park now, you will find construction work going on, but also a Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art and a park, or a makeshift parking lot, in which you can let your dog do its thing. And then you can sit on a bench near the little fountain and observe how once industry and now industrial heritage become a livable place of culture.