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Historic guide through Raša

Turistička Zajednica RašaHistoric guide through Raša

The town of Raša, built between 1936 -1937 on the dried up area of Krapan Lake, stands as the finest example of planned construction starting from the urbanism and architecture up to individual architectural units’ interior design. Furthermore, Raša is an example of the complete urban adjustment to the configuration of the environment in which it was created and the local architectural traditions. Once the fascists took over the government in Italy, in 1928, a program of planned construction of new cities (Citta di fondazione) was inaugurated, by which Mussolini tried to prove the power and enthusiasm of the new regime. Under this program, there were twelve brand new towns and a large number of rural settlements to be built. It should be noted that the new settlements were not made as a product of the fascist ideology, or an expression of Mussolini’s wish, but primarily as a result of the needs of the Italian economy. Under this program, there were twelve brand new towns to be built from the ground up (Mussolinia/Arborea, 1928, Littoria/Latina, 1932, Sabaudia, 1934, Pontinia, 1935, Fertilia, 1936, Guidonia, Aprilia, Arsia/Raša, 1937, Torviscosa, Carbonia, 1938, Pomezia, 1939, Pozzo Littorio d’Arsia/Piedalbona/Podlabin, 1942), some of which were planned specifically for the needs of mining. The first built was Raša (Arsia 1936-1937- 1940), followed by Carbonia in Sardinia (1937 to 1938) and Podlabin (Pozzo Littorio di Arsia, 1938 – 1942) in Istria. All settlements were designed according to that time highest quality standards of rationalist design. The main reason to build Raša was strong expansion of the mine and the constant increase in production, accompanied by the increase in the number of workers. The author of economic boom was Guido Segre. Together with the authorities he realized that residential buildings should be built in order to accommodate the workers. Consequently, the idea to build a new settlement matured. Segre was a Jew, and he entrusted the planning of the new settlement to Gustavo Pulitzer Finali, who also had Jewish roots. Gustavo Pulitzer Finals was born on October 17th, 1887 in Trieste to Geza Pulitzer of Jewish descent, and Carolina Finaly, who was Hungarian. From 1893 to 1907 he completed his primary and secondary education in Trieste, and already in 1908 started to study at the Polytechnic in Munich at Professor and architect Theodor Fischer. He stayed there until 1911. After completing his three year study he spent some time traveling through Europe. In order to avoid the mobilization, in 1914 he moved to Sao Paulo to visit his brother and stayed there until 1919, creating his first architectural works. In 1920 he returned to Trieste and together with his colleague Ceasa opened a studio for interior design “Stuard”. Five years later, the studio got an order from the ship-owners family Cosulich to design the interior of the ship “Saturnia”. From 1925 to 1934, Finali designed interiors of most vessels built in Trieste and Monfalcone, as well as ships of Italian and foreign companies.

Like all the other towns, Raša was also built under the supervision of Trieste Instituto per la autonomo case popolari dell’Istria orientale and was designed for three thousand inhabitants. According to the plans in the next phase it was expected to expand up to six thousand people. But, in order to even start the town construction, due to flooding terrain, it was first necessary to carry out land improvement works. On November 4 1937, the town was officially inaugurated by the government representative, State Secretary Deputy Host Venturi accompanied by the King’s representative, Duke of Spoleto. Besides residential buildings, the new town included a mining and industrial complex, public buildings, a hotel, a post office, a school, a church, a kindergarten, a hospital, a cinema, a theater hall, a telephone operator’s center, public lighting, urban heating plant… The following numbers serve to support the impressive construction works: total of 70.000 m3 soil excavated, 35.000 m3 of erected walls, 15.000 m3 of set mortar, 50.000 m2 of brick parting walls built and about 80.000 m3 of stone used, partly crushed into gravel. About 380.000 wages have been done.