Trsat hill, Trsat hill, Trsat hill
Trsat hill is a steep hill that rises above the city of Rijeka and the river Riječina. It is about a kilometer removed from the sea and it rises 138 meters above the sea level. Trsat stands out compared to the rest of Rijeka’s surroundings thanks to its height. It is a focal point of speculations related to life in the pre-Roman era. Some speculate that it was a home of a prehistoric fort thanks to its location, but no archeological evidence was ever found to support that theory.
First factual evidence about Trsat dates to the 13th century from when there is written evidence that suggests Trsat’s castle was under control of the count family Frankopan from the Island of Krk. Throughout its history, Trsat was often the target of various aggressors. 15th and 16th century were filled with battles with both Ottoman Empire and Venice. Venice never got the control of the castle, but the Ottomans managed to briefly take it under their control in 1527. The castle was often changing owners between the Habsburg monarchy and the family Frankopan, until 1671, when Fran Krsto Frankopan was executed for his role in a conspiracy against the Habsburg monarchy. From then, Habsburg monarchy is the sole owner of the Trsat castle.
While the Ottomans slowly withdrew from the area and with the development of gunpowder weapons the role of the castle slowly dwindled and it was left to decay. The decay was expedited due to a terrible earthquake that struck it in 1750 and almost completely destroyed it. Ruins were bought by count Laval Nugent who rebuilt the towers, renovated the interior and constructed a mausoleum for himself. He also gathered artwork from all over Europe and he essentially created the first museum in all of Croatia in 1813. After his death, the castle was slowly left to decay once again until it was restored in 1960. Today it is a cultural-historical monument and a viewpoint from which you can see all the way to the mountain Učka on one side and the entire Kvarner bay with islands Krk and Cres on the another side.
The sanctuary of the Lady of Trsat was built on the site of the reported sighting of the birth home of the Virgin Mary from Nazareth. As the legend says, the house of Saint Mary showed up here one day in 1291 and then it mysteriously disappeared just as it appeared. It was later found in the Italian city of Loretto, where it still stands. A church was built in the location that same year and it soon becomes a place of pilgrimage for all Catholics. The Pope Urban the 5th gifted a picture of the Virgin Mary to the church, and that picture is said to be painted by the evangelist Luke. The picture is still hanging above the main altar in the church.
The Trsat Stairs are the stairs that lead from the bank of the river Riječina up to the plateau that rises 138 meters above the sea level. There are 561 steps, and they were built to allow an easier access to the church of Saint Mary of Trsat for the pilgrims. Its construction was started in 1531, by a hero of the war with the Ottomans, Petar Kružić. The stairs most notable feature is the entrance porch located at the bottom of the stairs that is built like an arch in a baroque manner.
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