The Municipal palace is the building that served as the seat of the city council of Rijeka in the past. In 1872 the city of Rijeka was given a new statute book that defined that the city of Rijeka and its county is to be governed by 56 representatives with the major as the main figure. This new order required a new city council building to be built. The major Ivan Ciotta in 1873 hired a young architect dr. Filibert Bazarig to design the new building. Bazarig designed the new city council building in a classicist manner. The new Municipal palace’s most notable feature are the three forefronts that became a notable landmark of Rijeka. The forefronts seamlessly fit in with the baroque architecture of the Church of St. Jerome on one side and with what is now the building of Radio Rijeka on the other side. Leaning on renaissance forms, shallow pilasters, rhythmic exchange of triangular and segmented gables Bazarig managed to create a facade of a city house.
Since its creation, the Municipal palace has become a place where the autonomist movement of Rijeka fought against the centralization attempts by the Hungarian administration. The autonomist movement fought for the preservation of the municipal rights of the city of Rijeka.
Rijeka was struggling for autonomy for a long time. Even dating back to the middle-ages the city has been struggling to fight off various occupying forces, be it Venice or the Ottoman Empire. In 1508 during the Habsburg war with Venice, Rijeka was burned to the ground and robbed by the Venetian army. That same year, at the square where the Municipal palace is located today, Emperor Maximilian raised a stone pillar – called Stendardac – on which the Emperor wrote down a law that guaranteed the rights to freedom that the city has gotten from its previous governors. As a token of his appreciation for the city and for a reward for its loyalty to the Emperor, he raised a statue of Saint Vitus, the saint patron of the city of Rijeka. The statue holds a model of the city in one hand and the text of the guarantee in the other hand.
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