Fireworks in Rijeka's port to celebrate the city's stint as a European Capital of Culture (Josip Regovic/PIXSELL) Fireworks in Rijeka's port to celebrate the city's stint as a European Capital of Culture (Josip Regovic/PIXSELL)

There were dozens of events throughout the day celebrating occasion, from modern dance in the streets, to a choir performance at the fish market. Things got off to an early start and culminated tonight in a visual and sound spectacle in the city's port that paid homage to the city's industrial heritage titled Opera Industriale. Grinding guitars, pounding drums, showers of sparks, and musicians and singers dressed in blue worker’s uniforms and yellow rain slickers alluded to Rijeka’s tradition of industry, which has had a huge influence on its arts scene. It all culminated in a crescendo of light and sound, topped off with a grand display of fireworks.

Over the next year, Rijeka will be a hub for the visual and performing arts. The ambitious year-long program envisages hundreds of events and performances.

Rijeka is also hosting 16 European culture ministers. Guests at the Croatian National Theater this afternoon were greeted via video link by the European Commissioner for Culture Maryia Gabriel.

European Commission Vice-President Dubravka Šuica presented the European Capital of Culture charter to the Mayor of Rijeka.

Earlier in the day, Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek hosted a meeting of her colleagues from south and east European member states.