It’s not exactly Père Lachaise, but if you ask me, the Kozala cemetery is every bit as grandiose as its famous European counterparts. And while visiting a cemetery might not rank very high on your list of sightseeing priorities, is there a better place to learn about the local history and the famous citizens?
Opened in 1838, it’s one of the oldest cemeteries in Croatia and is composed of various sections such as a historic Jewish cemetery, a military one, and a special section dedicated only to dogs, now closed.
The grounds are a true museum in the open, a stunning display of elaborate funerary architecture and sculpture created by renowned architects and artists. The multi-level necropolis is lined with solemn mausoleums and family tombs, crowned by a lavish structure commissioned by one of Rijeka’s most famous inhabitants: Robert Whitehead, the English industrialist who developed the first self-propelled torpedo in history and opened a torpedo factory in Rijeka. Having died in England, Whitehead never got to be buried in his majestic mausoleum, but the structure stands to this day, guarding over the grounds below.
The Kozala cemetery is located a 15-minute walk from the city centre; if you’re dreading the idea of walking uphill in the summer sun, take city bus no. 4. It’s worth the short trip, not only for its historic significance, but because it’s one of the rare places in town where you can always find some peace and quiet.