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Osijek Travel Guide, Croatia

Osijek is the fourth largest city in Croatia. Osijek is located on the right bank of the river Drava, 25 kilometres (16 mi) upstream of its confluence with the Danube. The name was given to the city due to its position on elevated ground which prevented the city being flooded by the local swamp waters. Its name Osijek comes from the Croatian word “oseka” which means “ebb tide“.Due to its past and its history within the Habsburg Monarchy and briefly in the Ottoman Empire and also due to the presence of German and Hungarian minorities throughout its history, Osijek also has (or had) its names in other languages, notably Hungarian: Eszék, German: Esseg, Latin: Mursa, Turkish: Ösek. All those names were adjusted variations to the original Croatian given name. In Roman times Osijek was called Mursa Maior, but its official Roman name was Colonia Aelia Mursa, as it was established by emperor Hadrian. The origins of human habitation of Osijek dates back to Neolithic times.

During the war in Croatia, from 1991 to 1995, the city avoided heavy destruction (unlike nearby Vukovar, for example) and sustained moderate damage, especially to the centre and Co-cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul and to the periphery. While some buildings still have mild damage, most often the occasional superficial pockmark from artillery and mortar fire, the city’s facades are generally in good shape, due to extensive restoration in recent times, preserving the charm of its intricate Austro-Hungarian Baroque architecture in the older quarters of town.

Visit Osijek

The Old Town

Tvr?a is the Old Town of the city of Osijek in Croatia. It is the best-preserved ensemble of Baroque buildings in Croatia and consists of a Habsburg star fort built on the right bank of the River Drava. Tvr?a has been described by the World Monuments Fund as “a unique example of an eighteenth-century baroque military, administrative, and commercial urban center”.The star fort was constructed in the immediate vicinity of medieval Osijek after the defeat of the Ottoman forces in 1687. When complete, it was the largest Habsburg fortress on the border of the Ottoman Empire. Tvr?a had street lights by 1717 and was the site of the first public water supply in Croatia. While the fortifications have largely been removed, the fort’s interior remains intact and is now home to churches, museums, schools and other public buildings, as well as numerous bars and restaurants.

The fort interior is now a centre of Osijek’s nightlife. There are numerous bars and restaurants in Tvr?a. The fort hosts theMuseum of Slavonia, the largest general-type museum in Croatia, located in Tvr?a since 1946. The former town museum and archives building today houses the State Directorate for Monument Protection, a department of the Croatian Ministry of Culture. The patron saint of the Tvr?a is Saint Michael, and his feast day of 29 September is celebrated as the day of the Tvr?a city district.

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