„Gallerion“ of today is composed of two great exhibitions. The first of these is dedicated to the Imperial (and) Royal Austrian and Austro-Hungarian Navy from 1679 to 1918, and the second to the Adriatic naval and maritime history from 1918 until present day.
The exhibition on the Imperial and Royal Navy is showing us how after the centuries-long stagnation of the maritime matters on the Eastern Adriatic coast – under the influence of Venice, loath of having a competition at sea, and after the almost whole merchant and fishery fleets were destroyed during the Napoleonic wars – the arriving of Austrian rule to the Adriatic – finally established after the Berlin Congress of 1815 – was of greatest importance for the revival and the development of all maritime and naval matters. Austria stimulated the establishing of the industrial, cultural and economic base, to bring Istria, Croatian Coastland and Dalmatia “back to Europe”. During only one century Austria (from 1866 Austria-Hungary) developed small coastal flotillas into a respectable Navy, taking in 1914, as the First World War broke out, the eighth place under World´s Navies, and being for a short time in the early 20th Century even on the seventh place. Great shipping companies were founded, for the coastal and oceanic shipping, the harbour infrastructure developed in greater and smaller communities on the shore and on the islands and new shipyards built. Trieste was nearing Hamburg in importance, and the new Central Naval Base at Pola was comparable with the Italian La Spezia and the French Toulon.
The well developed Austrian and Czech industries brought the knowledge – together with numerous scientists from the Middle Europe – for building new industrial and cultural centres, opening factories, schools, universities, hospitals and theatres. The united power of all nations of the great Empire brought modern times to our coasts. Our seamen were sailing on all of the world´s oceans, meeting other cultures, exchanging experiences and impressions.
A-H warships were fighting in several important battles in the Mediterranean, on the North Sea and in the Adriatic. A-H training ships were sent to training cruises, diplomatic missions and scientific expeditions all over the world – from the Northern Polar Sea to the Southern Pacific – enhancing the glory of the new Navy, where for example in 1910 some 30 per cent of the crews were Croatians, fol
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