Although there has been a church dedicated to the patron saint and protector of Rijeka since the Middle Ages the Cathedral as we see it today was founded in 1638 by the Jesuits, who were once an influential force in the Europeanisation of Rijeka under the Hapsburgs. It’s a rotunda, rather unusual in this part of Europe, with elements of baroque and gothic, including fine baroque statuary inside. A gallery was built in the 18th century, apparently to insulate devout novice monks from the allure of girls in the congregation. There is also some unusual stained glass work, including an image of St Vitus, and a gothic crucifix. Legend has it that a certain Petar Lončarić was playing cards outside the church, and in a fit of pique at losing, threw a stone at the crucifix. To the amazement of onlookers, the figure of Christ started bleeding. The ground opened and swallowed up the blasphemous Mr Lončarić, leaving just his arm waving gruesomely. It was cut off and burned in public. The cathedral has a separate belltower which once gave access from the gallery to a huge Jesuit college and seminary, which sadly are no more. By the main entrance, you can see a cannonball embedded in the wall and a Latin inscription referring to the Napoleonic wars which translates as “This fruit was sent to us by England when it wanted to oust the Gauls from here”. St Vitus’ was promoted to Cathedral status in 1925.