The Saint Jacob’s Park

Saint Jacob's Park is the second oldest park in Opatija and it covers surface of 4,709 m2. It was declared a protected monument of park architecture in 2010. The conception of the park dates back to the 12th century, when in the momentum of building Benedictine abbeys throughout Istria, in the place of today's St. Jacob's Church, the St. Jacob's monastery (abbey) was erected. St. Jacob's Church is the oldest building in the town of Opatija. The town was named after the abbey, and 25 July is St. Jacob's Day, and also the Town of Opatija's Day.

The monks cultivated the agricultural community land around the monastery; they subsisted on selling Malvasia wine, olive oil and chestnuts and they nurtured rose gardens.

One of the abbey's numerous epithets was analysed throughout history: “de Rosacis” or “from the rose gardens”. The park as such was shaped exclusively as a public space somewhere around 1880. Distinguishing traits of the garden are: the division of the terrain connected with staircases, the fountain and a spacious grass plane.

The neo-baroque fountain from 1889 is a creation of the sculptor Hans Rathauski. The sculptural group represents the divinity of Helios and Selena, as an allegory of Day and Night. Between them is a rooster, symbolising the moment of their meeting – the dawn. The historicist – neo-baroque stylistic trait of the park was achieved with the pathway’s clear axis and the staircase, emphasized in relation to the plane. The space was shaped as a ground floor and geometrically with topiary forms. Today's design of the park is characteristic of the second half of the 20th century's free style. The art pavilion, Juraj Šporer, is the focal point of the park's lower terrace. The historicist building was originally built in 1900 as a cake-shop. According to the Plant Inventory from 2006, there are 44 plant species in the park, several being exclusive ones: Abies nordmanniana (Caucasian fir-tree), Cinnamomum tamala (Indian bay leaf), Poncirus trifoliata (deciduous Chinese orange tree), Olea fragrans/Osmanthus fragrans (fragrant olive) etc.