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Opatija celebrates 120 years as a health resort


At the beginning of March, Opatija, a prominent tourist destination in the Kvarner Bay, celebrated its 120th anniversary as a health resort.

In the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, extensive research that was carried out 120 years ago into the characteristics of this region’s climate led to the official proclamation of Opatija as a health resort.

The climate of Opatija is unique in the Mediterranean, with specificities that come from the region’s rich vegetation cover and Opatija’s position in the lee of the forested Mountain Ucka. In addition, Opatija is sheltered from the direct impact of winds, including winter storms, which means that there are no unbearable heat-waves during the summer. This makes a stay in Opatija
particularly pleasurable and contributes to the development of year-round tourism.

Prior to World War I there already were 12 sanatoriums in Opatija is testimony to the incredible pace of Opatija’s development as a health resort. This is mostly due to Emperor Francis Joseph, who issued an imperial decree in 1889, officially proclaiming Opatija a health resort in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy ( see some Old Photos of Opatija)

At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, Opatija was one of the most prominent and visited tourist destinations in Europe. Royalty and other distinguished public figures, including artists such as the Russian writer Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, American dancer Isadora Duncan, Austrian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler and Czech violinist and composer Jan Kubelik, have visited Opatija. In the many tourist guide books of the time, a stay
in the mild Opatija climate is recommended to convalescing patients, especially those recovering from severe diseases of the respiratory or cardiovascular system.

A stay in Opatija during spring and autumn was particularly recommended. These guides also mention the coastal promenade Lungomare and describe the rooms in the hotels of the time as “clean and comfortable”. “The prices are not low,” says one guide about Opatija. “On the contrary, they are higher than in other Austrian winter destinations”. However, the guide is quick to add that Opatija is worth the price and the strenuous long train journey that visitors needed to take in those times to get to it.

Continuing the tradition, Opatija still enjoys the reputation of a destination that is extremely enjoyable throughout the year on account of its favourable climate. Thalassotherapia, a leading centre for cardiologic rehabilitation in the region, is located in Opatija.  It is one of the largest laboratories for functional non-invasive diagnostics in cardiology.

Thalassotherapia features a new wellness centre spread over 2,500 square metres. Most of the hotels in Opatija boast extensive wellness facilities. It can be said, therefore, that Opatija has done justice to its 120-year long tradition as a health resort.

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