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Croatia  Osijek

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Image1 Osijek Croatia is the largest city in eastern Croatia (110.000 hab.) in the region known as Eastern Slavonia - Baranja. It is located by the Drava River which connects it to Hungary to the north and the Danube River flowing towards Bosnia in the south. The city is a river port and industrial centre as well as a student city. Textiles, leather goods, soap, and agricultural machinery are among its industrial products. Osijek grew around a castle built in 1091 on the site of the Roman colony and fortress of Mursa. It became an early episcopal see and was under Turkish rule from 1526 to 1687. It was later part of Austria-Hungary and passed to Yugoslavia in 1918. Osijek was the scene of fighting between Croats and Serbs in the early 1990 s after Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia. Nowadays it is an very nice city to visit.

History | The beginnings of man's residence in Osijek goes back to neolithic times, and the first known inhabitants belong to the Illyrian tribes. Roman emperor Hadrian raised the old settlement of Mursa to a colony with special privileges in AD 331. After that, Mursa had a turbulent history, with a lot of decisive battles that took place here, deciding on the destiny of the whole region. After the migration, the Croats made a settlement near the ruins of Mursa, giving it its present name, Osijek. First precise mention of this name can be found in Papal list of tithes from 1332, with a precise mention of Osijek parish. Life was thriving here in the Middle Ages, but only the traces of that life can be found today because the Turks destroyed everything they found and made a town to suit their style. Turks built several important buildings and mosques. Suleiman the Magnificent built here his famous, 8 kilometers long wooden bridge, considered to be one of the wonders of the world.

After liberation from the Turks in 1687, Osijek was once again completely devastated. Between 1712 and 1721, new Austrian authorities built a new fortress (authored by the architect Maximilian de Gosseau), known as Tvrdja. It is a unique urban and military complex that lies in the heart of the town. Its main central Holy Trinity Square is closed on the north by the building of the Military Command, on the west there is the Main Guard building and on the east is the Magistrate building (presently Museum of Slavonia). In the middle there is a monument to the plague, erected in 1729 by general Petras' widow.

Osijek town charter Three parts of the town, the Lower Town, Tvrdja, and the Upper Town were united in 1786, and Osijek became the administrative centre of Slavonia region. In 1779, new wooden bridge was built across the Drava river, connecting Osijek with Hungary and the rest of Central Europe. Upper Town became the new business centre of the town.

Last time Osijek was heavily damaged during the Serbian aggression, 1991-1995. The process of peaceful reintegration of the Eastern Slavonia and Baranja region will give a new impact to the development of our city. Nowadays Osijek is partly rebuilt.

Places worth seeing

  • Ante Starcevic Square, located in the Upper Town, administrative and business centre of Osijek. Most buildings date from the late 19th and early 20th century.

  • The biggest church (Sv. Petar i Pavao) in Osijek, consecrated to SS Peter and Paul. Although it is only a parish church (the "real" cathedral for this region is located in Djakovo), it is called the cathedral because of its size (90 metres high) and monumentality. It was built at the end of 19th century in neo-Gothic style. The bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer especially supported its construction.

    Streett: Trg. Marina Drzica, Gorni grad
    Opening hours: Mo-Su 12.00-15.00 and 17.00-17.30

  • Galerija Lkovnih Umjetnosti (artgalery)
    Street: Europska Avenija 9
    Opening hours: Mo-Fri 09.00-12.00 and 17.00-20.00 Sa-Su 10.00-13.00
    Located in a nice building with renascence Italian style (1897) and an overwiew of Slavonian art.Croatian website

  • The biggest city park (Osijek has always been considered a green city) with a beautiful pedestrian bridge across Drava, and skyline of the Upper Town in the background

  • Kapucinska and Zupanijska street are the busiest ones in Osijek, fully revealing the urban spirit of the city. Just a few meters away form the business centre, main city park.

  • The Croatian National Theatre was founded in 1907. The building was designed and built in 1866, and is major cultural institution in town. It was heavily damaged in fire after Serbian attack in 1991, but now it is completely rebuild

  • The City and University library building, built 1905 (left) and The Fine Arts Gallery, built 1996 (right), both located in the Europe Avenue

  • The old part of Osijek, Tvrdja, combines military buildings with baroque family houses. Here you can see the baroque facade of the former Jesuit church of St Michael (left) and the building of the Museum of Slavonia

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