Historical and cultural heritage
In the course of history, the present area of the Municipality of Matulji had belonged not only to various other municipalities, but also to various other states. This is why some historical documents are still today kept in various Austrian, Slovenian, Italian and Croatian archives.
Between the two world wars, the Treaty of Rapallo divided the territory of the Municipality of Kastav between the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, the Free State of Rijeka, and the Kingdom of Italy. In 1921, Matulji and its nearby villages became part of the Kingdom of Italy, forming the municipalities of Matulji, Podgrad (Vele Mune, Male Mune and Žejane), and Jelšane (Rupa, Lipa, Šapjane, Pasjak and Brdce). The first act of the Municipality of Matulji dates back to the 27th of July 1921.
The population of Matulji has been constantly increasing since 1880, with the exception of the year 1921. The increase in population can be directly linked to the construction of the railway.
In 1857, the Austrian Southern Railways Company built the Vienna-Trieste railway, adding the Pivka-Rijeka branch in 1873, on which Matulji became the station for Opatija. Other stations along this route are Šapjane, Jurdani and Rukavac.
With the development of Opatija as a climatic health resort, Matulji also became the starting station of the Matulji-Opatija-Lovran tramline in 1908. World War One suddenly interrupted the progress of Opatija, which resulted in the stagnation of Matulji as well. After becoming part of the Kingdom of Italy, this area started being regarded as too peripheral and a rival to some Italian tourist resorts, which resulted in a decrease in Matulji’s population in 1921.
People in the Matulji area speak the Čakavian dialect of the Croatian language. The syntax of this dialect is quite different in some respects to standard Croatian.
The Matulji area abounds in ethnographic architectural heritage. In addition to individual buildings, other important parts of the local heritage are the rural villages that have preserved their traditional structure, such as Kućeli, Zaluki, or Vele Mune.
The hamlet of Andrejići (a part of the village of Rukavac), the village of Veli Brgud, and the village of Lipa are all registered as monuments of culture.