On behalf of the City of Rijeka, the delegation was welcomed by Rijeka’s deputy mayor, Nikola Ivaniš, accompanied by Gabrijela Kiš Jerčinović, Head of the Land Management Division of Rijeka’s City Department of Development, Urban Planning, Ecology and Land Management, and Sonja Lukin, senior associate in the Division for the protection and conservation of cultural heritage of Rijeka’s City Department of Culture.
The Chinese delegation was led by Xu Weiliang, deputy Chairman of the Hangzhou City Construction Commission, Yongjiang Group, Office of the Leading Construction and Development Group. He was accompanied by his closest associate Zheng Ping, Liu Feiyan and Yang Maocheng from the Hangzhou Urban and Rural Construction Commission, Zhou Huijie, Manager of the General Office of the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Centre Headquarters, and by Xu Jianming from the Hangzhou Bureau of Gardening and Cultural Relics.
The City of Hangzhou fosters a friendly relationship with Split, Croatia, as its sister city, but, moved by the fact that Rijeka became Croatia’s European Capital of Culture 2020, members of the delegation specifically wanted to visit our city. The main objective of the visit by the delegation from this ancient city, which has for centuries been known for its multiculturality and world cultural heritage sites, was to meet the Port of Diversity, and in particular to familiarize themselves with facade conservation and the restoration methods and techniques used on protected historical buildings and facilities found within the historical complex of the city of Rijeka.
After the introductory address, Rijeka’s deputy mayor Nikola Ivaniš introduced our Hangzhou guests to the basic features of Rijeka as a port that has undergone a transformation from a formerly strong industrial centre into a centre of new industries and well-developed urban tourism, backed by the University of Rijeka as the driving force behind its overall development. Our Chinese guests then showcased the city of Hangzhou as the capital of culture, not merely of China, but of the entire Asian continent. The hosts then went on to familiarise our guests with the details of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project. The project was presented by Dorian Celcer, Partnership and Protocol Coordinator of Rijeka 2020, while Dominik Damiš, Head of Marketing at the Rijeka Tourist Board, showcased Rijeka as a tourist destination.
Hangzhou is the largest and capital city of the Chinese province of Zhejiang. It is situated 180 km to the south of Shanghai on the Yangtze River Delta, which is also the starting point of the eponymous Hangzhou Bay, which separates Shanghai from Ningbo, a sister city of Rijeka. It is a city with a population of more than 22 million. It is home to one of the cradles of Chinese civilisation. The beginnings of the city date back to the year 221 BC. Hangzhou was one of the most famous and most advanced cities of China during much of the last millennium, and over time it became famous as the southern end of the Grand Canal. It is also home to the West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a few temples of great value, such as the Hangzhou Confucius Temple and the Fenghuang Mosque, one of China’s oldest mosques, as well as to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which finds its place among the oldest Catholic churches in China. Hangzhou has long been known as a city of silk and tea, particularly green tea. The city is also home to the global headquarters of Alibaba, China’s largest IT company and one of the top 10 largest companies in the world in 2018.