Many people automatically think of the coast and summer vacation while basking in the warm Adriatic sun when they think of Croatia. But that is only a part of Croatia!
There are so many parts of this beautiful country that deserve more attention and recognition, and Slavonia might be the first of that kind. Eastern region of Croatia is like a magical golden river made of endless wheatfields and the most friendly people you could imagine.
And this region has its capital that hides so many amazing stuff to see- Osijek!
A city that is largest and most populated in the region lies on the Drava river and is definitely a place to see before this area becomes more and more popular, and that might be soon!
So, where to start with Osijek?
In the old age here was the Celtic and Roman city of Mursa. For the first time in history, the name of the town in the Hungarian version Eszek is mentioned in 1196, and the Germans call it Esseg. During the Middle Ages at the time of the Croatian-Hungarian kingdom, Osijek lived as a wealthy trading and craft town, and in the summer of 1526, it was conquered by soldiers of the mighty Ottoman (Turkish) empire.
Since the end of the 17th century, Osijek has been returned to Croatia as part of the Habsburg (Austro-Hungarian) empire. A great fortress was built along the river Drava; the city was restored in baroque style. In the 19th century, Osijek experienced a great economic and cultural flourishing. The building of the Croatian National Theater, the County Palace, the St. Catherine’s Cathedral was built.
History of Osijek followed the history of Croatia in the 20thcentury and all the changes of the government that happened after the very bad times during World War II and in socialism.
By the end of the 1980s, the horrors of previous wars were a far-reaching past that can never be repeated. The city lived full of lungs, changed and became more open; the future seemed better than ever before. Unfortunately, in 1991, Osijek was attacked again. With the proclamation of independence in Croatia, the military units of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia entered Osijek. The city has been devastated for months, but its inhabitants at all times of the war tried to live as if peace was “already tomorrow”. Osijek then once for all showed that it would remain, as well as the most famous city graphite, saying, “The unbowed city”!
So what kind of attractions you might see in Osijek? The Bridge of Youth, a fantastic symbol of architecture that connects the city with its other, more natural part where the famous Osijek Zoo is settled, as it is also an attraction worth to see.
And did you know that Osijek has the title of one of the greenest cities in Croatia? You can check that by walking through one of its beautiful 17 parks surrounding the city center.
Any cat-lovers here? Because Osijek hides an amazing and cute monument made of oak and it shows the figure of baroness Paulina Hermann who lived in late19th century and had no problem showing admiration for animals and especially cats, which is why her statue is depicted with a few cats.
In the center of Osijek you can be sure that the first thing you’ll notice is the stunningly beautiful Neo-gothic cathedral of St. Paul and St. Peter, and just wait to see the interior of the cathedral!
And that is just the tip of the iceberg of all the interesting things you can see in Osijek, so stay tuned and think about visiting the other side of Croatia while you’re there, it would be a shame to miss that chance, right?