||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
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.
ARCHDUKE JOSEPH’S VILLA – A UNIQUE ACHIEVEMENT OF HISTORICISTIC ARCHITECTURE
On location of today's State Archive’s of Rijeka in the Nikola Host Park, the country-house of baron Mihovil Androch was built in the beginning of the 18th century. It was built as his summer residence in conformity with the baroque mode of building country-houses and manors far off from city centers. Placed within a huge estate that stretched from the Ka╣tel area to the foot of Kozala hill, the first mention of it was in 1701. As of 1753 its owners were Carniolan noblemen and the patrician Orlando family of Rijeka, and from 1799 the Pasquale family. In the 19th century the villa also changed several owners. The large estate owner, Andrija Ljudevit AdamiŠ bought it in 1803, and we are familiar with its appearance in 1830 from photogravures of aquarelles . It is a classicistic low-rise building with seven window lines on the main fašade. In the mansard area of the central elevation, the roof was opened to create additional living space, which was resolved with a concluding triangular gable, with a central oculus. After AdamiŠ, the villa was owned by John Leard, the English consul in Rijeka and thereafter by the mayor of Rijeka, Giovanni Ciotta . In 1881 Archduke Joseph purchased it from Simeon Vranyczany.
With the arrival of the new owners the villa changes its name to Villa Giuseppe (Archduke Joseph's villa) and becomes a meeting and partying place for numerous aristocrats who came here from various European cities. The Archduke undertook a thorough reconstruction of the building, expanding and adding another story to the central building, and two more levels to the eastern wing. The renovation and construction of annexes lasted from 1892 to 1895. The archduke engaged Raffaello Culotti of Rijeka as project designer and contractor, however Raffaello went into the works with his father Pietro, who signed the plans for annexing of the eastern wing (1892 and 1893), while Raffaello signed the projects for the expansions and renovations of the central building in 1894 (the year in which his father died). The townspeople of Rijeka were proud that this Habsburg chose a native builder to put his house into order, but this was not all that surprising when one knows that Raffaello was a student of the Venetian Academy of Fine Arts who worked with his father who was a well known builder whose firm built the Main Marketplace . The works took until 1895 and the result was a monumental residence worthy of the importance and rank of the ordering party and his family. The daily papers underlined the elegance, harmony and beauty of the architecture that was projected by our fellow-townsman, especially of the central building that was embellished with loggias, verandahs, columns and other ornaments . The building’s interior had a spacious and splendidly arranged auditorium for receptions, a large dining room, salons, cabinets, bedrooms, bathrooms and all other possible conveniences .
Not at all a conventional member of the Habsburg line, he demonstrated a particular zeal for studying the language and customs of the Romas , and for cultivation of exotic plants which were sent to him by maritime ship lines from all parts of the world. He put a lot of energy into acclimatizing plants in the littoral climate, and he cultivated the craggy plot of land that stretched from the zones of Stara and Ka╣tela to the foot of Kozala into a botanical garden – an experimental arboretum. The residence was surrounded on all sides with winding promenades, and the plant life sprouted from between the rock in irregular lay-outs, creating a lively picturesque scene of somewhat wild but tamed nature in the manner of romantic English parks.
The historicistic villa fit into the picturesque park decorated with fountains, garden sculptures and stairs that connected the uneven levels of the plot is a unique entity of the architecture of historicism in Rijeka and beyond and it bears eloquent testimony to the elegant and cultivated life of its former inhabitants.
After the archduke’s death in 1905 the villa remained in the ownership of his wife, Clotilde and she used it until 1916 as her family’s winter residence. The entire complex will be purchased in 1916 by the Rijeka Savings Bank and it becomes the ownership of the city of Rijeka. During the interwar period it was renamed into the villa of Queen Margerite, and the city administration begins its restoration and reconversion as a cultural and representative facility. The building became the home of the Library, State Archives, as well as of The Museum of Modern Art and representative auditoriums of the City. The museum was placed on the second floor and it had four exhbition rooms facing south with exhibits of modern art, a history room and a room dedicated to D'Annunzio.
The present indoor appearance of this building differs significantly from what had originally been conceived, due to numerous devastations which after the Second World War (the stuccowork and various equipment had been removed, the rooms were divided to meet the needs of the new users). Some of the original stuccowork and a part of the decorative repertoire have been preserved in the ground floor, within the entrance vestibule (the original fireplace), and on the staircase. The original stucco decoration has been preserved only in two rooms of the second story, one of which (the central one) has been redecorated for the occasional exhibitions organized by the State Archives in Rijeka, the institution that is the owner and present user of this building.