Take a city trip to Galway and Rijeka, European Capitals of Culture 2020

two side by side images showing buildings in a city

Galway, in Ireland, and Rijeka, in Croatia, are the European Capitals of Culture for 2020.

Both cities have a wide range of cultural activities planned throughout 2020. As their year-long celebrations begin, let’s take a tour of both cities illustrated with digitised cultural heritage collections from around Europe and discover some interesting connections.

Cities by the sea

Galway, a city of around 80,000 people, is located on the west coast of Ireland, facing the Atlantic Ocean. Similarly, Rijeka, a city of almost 130,000 people, is situated by the waters of the Adriatic Sea. Both cities are important harbours, on Galway Bay and Rijeka Bay.

Their maritime histories are important to both cities. Galway, and the west coast of Ireland generally, is known for the currach wooden-framed boat. Rijeka is home to large shipbuilding yards.

EXPLORE MORE Maritime heritage of ports and harbours across Europe

Cities of culture

Both cities are home to cultural celebrations. Galway has celebrated the Galway Arts Festival since 1978, with Rijeka’s International Carnival taking place since 1982.

Galway and Galway Bay have been immortalised through many traditional Irish songs – listen here.

Claddagh rings origins lie in Galway. Named for a fishing village in the county of Galway, a Claddagh ring features two hands holding a heart wearing a crown. The hands represent friendship, the heart represents love and the crown represents loyalty.

Rijeka is home to the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc, a theatre and opera house which opened in 1885, named after composer Ivan Zajc who was born in Rijeka.

Landscapes and landmarks

Both Galway and Rijeka are home to many beautiful views, buildings and impressive architecture. Let’s take a look at sights and views of both cities.

EXPLORE MORE European landscapes and landmarks in this gallery

Have you already visited Galway or Rijeka? Will you travel to either in 2020? Let us know in the comments below.

By Adrian Murphy, Europeana Foundation

Feature image: View of Rijeka, C. v. Mayr, Gradska knjižnica Rijeka, Public domain + Lynch’s Castle, Severin Worm-Petersen, Norsk Teknisk Museum, CC BY

5 thoughts on “Take a city trip to Galway and Rijeka, European Capitals of Culture 2020

  1. Even as a child growing up in Galway, I never knew how touristic it was. I grew up on the other side of Galway city so never knew how busy the city centre got. Until 2013 when I had to walk through Shop Street and Quay Street to get to school. For years I wondered why Galway was so busy. Now as I work in a hotel by River Corrib end of Quay Street or better known as end of Latin Quarter or Spanish Arch area. I got to learn more about Galway than ever before and in 2020, I’m going to have a time of my life time to say I’m a Galway native and one of the volunteers for Galway European Capital of Culture. And I’m lucky enough to see everything this year has to offer to the world and to natives. There is no better time to travel to Galway than 2020. See you this year guys!

  2. I am in Rijeka Croatia at the moment & enjoying it very much.
    It’s my 3rd visit to this city since 2017.
    I find that generally, it’s a fairly friendly city, with a smallish population and fairly much laid back in terms of atmosphere.
    It’s within easy reach of both Slovenia & Italy, which makes for some interesting travel possibilities.
    It currently has some magnificent sunny & calm weather, around 14 deg.C
    It’s definitely a place worth visiting.

  3. cheap communist scenery, the glorification of totalitarianism hidden behind the European Capital of Culture project, all for the purpose of stealing money

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