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ViaIndustria, routes of industrial heritage in Rijeka, Croatia


Terms of reuse
CC BY 2.0

Type of best practice
Innovation (including 3D, AI, Big data, Metaverse, etc)

Industrial Heritage, Mobile Application, Cultural Routes of Industrial Heritage, Rijeka


The ViaIndustRIa application offers an overview of Rijeka's most significant industrial heritage sites and suggests themed industrial routes for locals and visitors to explore. The app aims to bring the city's recent industrial heritage closer to tourists in a modern and engaging way, thereby strengthening Rijeka's identity as a city of industrial heritage. Interpretive writing played a crucial role in making the app's content interesting and the app has been designed with utmost care to ensure that it is easy to use. The app is available in both Croatian and English and is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

Organisation in charge of best practice
Centre for Industrial Heritage, University of Rijeka (UNIRI), Croatia - ECTN associate member

Rijeka, Croatia

August 2021 - September 2022


Rijeka is a city with a rich history of industrial and manufacturing activities that date back to the mid-18th century. Various industries contributed to the city's development, which influenced the construction of a road and railway network that connected it to major European centers in the late 19th century. Until 1990, the city was recognized for its continuous industrial and port operations, leading to the construction of various buildings such as warehouses, silos, factory halls, power plants, chimneys, and roads. However, the deindustrialization that followed left many of these buildings abandoned, and the city became known for its derelict industrial structures. In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to research and redevelop these factory premises, which are increasingly undergoing a revitalization process. As a result, these buildings have become a popular destination for tourists visiting Rijeka. Following the success of the website, which listed and presented the most significant objects of the industrial heritage of the city, the Center for Industrial Heritage has taken the second step towards showcasing the most important objects of the city's industrial heritage by creating a mobile application called ViaIndustRIa. It offers 8 thematic routes that feature recent buildings of former industrial use. The app tracks the user's current location and suggests the nearest object and starting position of the route. The routes have interesting names like Rijeka Dream, Keeping up with the Wheels, Which Warehouse Have I Left My Keys In?, Launched!, Following the Ships, Oil and Torpedo, From Industry to Culture, One Street So Much History, Short Stories Make History, and Hidden Mills. The aim of the interpretation tools used in the app is to bring the local industrial story closer to visitors. Rijeka Dream leads to the beginning of the 20th century and endless lines of people waiting to board a ship to America, on route Following the Ships, Oil and Torpedo, visitors can take a journey through time and visit the Oil Refinery, the Torpedo Factory, and shipyard 3rd May. The route From Industry to Culture takes you from the industrial past to the cultural present, ending in the Art-kvart Benčić and gives the opportunity to visit enlivened spaces huge industrial history. Ružićeva Street is a must-visit, with so much history to discover. The , Keeping up with the Wheels recalls the old roads of Lujziana and Karolina, as well as the first trains that arrived in Rijeka. The indispensable warehouse spaces can be explored on the Which Warehouse Have I Left My Keys In? route. Finally, Lounched! tells the fascinating story of the Rijeka torpedo. Former and current students of the University of Rijeka cooperated with the Center for Industrial Heritage to create an application for both Android and iOS platforms. They also researched and wrote texts for the application. Studio B took care of the photos, while Degu design was responsible for the visual identity. Proofreading and translation were done by Jana Kegalj. Kristina Pandža, external associate of Centre led the project. For ten years now, the University Center for Industrial Heritage has been dedicated to scientific and research projects related to cultural heritage, with a focus on digitalization projects of cultural and industrial heritage. The Story of Krk, Rijeka baština, Visit Krk, Heritage Omišalj, and now Via Industria projects are a testament to this effort, which aims to present local cultural heritage using modern tools. "Be prepared to share the sidewalks with workers who walked to their workplaces in the industrial plants of the time decades ago, even a century or two ago!" The local tourist board and the City of Rijeka are collaborating with us in promoting the application. The application has garnered significant interest among the residents of Rijeka, and the feedback from tourists has been positive. The modern representation of the city's history is a valuable asset in showcasing the identity of the city and in developing new tourist products. Additionally, it serves as an effective tool for enhancing the overall tourist experience.


Resources needed
The application was created by conducting research on the history of individual productions and interpreting the findings in written form. Sources such as photos and archival material were also used. The application features contemporary photos, texts in both Croatian and English, and was designed and programmed specifically for its purpose. The University of Rijeka provided funding for the development of the application.

Challenges encountered
The main challenges we faced were to create an application that is fast, clear, and user-friendly, while also ensuring that the application structure is easy to navigate and accessible to users. Additionally, we had to write interesting and attractive text to engage our users. One of the biggest challenges was selecting which buildings to include in the application. We wanted to make sure that all the buildings presented were safe to tour and accessible to the public. However, some of the buildings in the port area are not open to the public, which made this task even more challenging.

Evidence of success
We measure the success of the application by the number of downloads, which slightly exceeded 800 in a year. The application has garnered significant interest among the residents of Rijeka, and the feedback from tourists has been positive.

Potential for transfer
This particular application has the ability to adapt to various themes, with one example being local industrial heritage. It is an effective and uncomplicated tool for exploring the city, learning about its history, and visiting different locations. The application has proven to be an excellent advocate for industrial heritage and a valuable contributor to its presentation.

Further Information

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004545.

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