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Županja: City full of historical sites and cultural heritage

Županja is a city that will delight every lover of history. It is located in the east of Croatia, more precisely in Vukovar-Srijem County. The cultural and historical heritage of this city consists of 14 cultural assets belonging to different categories, so you will be able to visit archeological sites, historical and sacral buildings. You will also be able to enjoy a rich museum collections.

Are you ready to be taken on a trip full of history, archeology, heritage and sights?

We certainly are!

(But first, a few unavoidable facts about Županja and its history that you should know before you grab your passport.)

Županja
Coat of Arms - Županja

The Coat of Arms of Županja

The Coat of Arms of the town of Županja is in the traditional form of a shield, while above it is a blue ribbon with the name of the town written in white letters. The Coat of Arms itself consists of 3 units on which different motifs are drawn, and the colors that appear are red, yellow, green and blue with white and black details. An important detail that separates the upper and lower part of the Coat of Arms is the Croatian triplet in yellow, which traditionally represents the literacy and culture of the Croatian people of the region.

gornji dio grba Županja
Coat of Arms - Upper part

Red and white fields (part of the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Croatia) appear on the Coat of Arms in the upper part, which serve as a background for the drawing of the Church of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist in Županja, two stumps as symbols of clearing the area on which the city is located and an oak leaf in green and gold, which represents the value of Slavonian forests.

In the lower part of the Coat of Arms, on a blue surface, there is a drawing of a plow that illustrates the importance of the basic activity that the people in Županja were engaged in, agriculture. Under the plow there is an ornament from the folk costume “zlatare” which represents a sense of beauty, expressed especially in the making and decorating of folk costumes.

donji dio grba Županja
Coat of Arms - Bottom part

Županja: A place where life has been bustling since prehistoric times

Archaeological sites in the area of ​​Županja and Posavina County suggest that people settled in this area in prehistoric times. Settlements in which people lived in smaller communities originated as early as the Neolithic (5000 to about 3500 BC) on elevated beams. The first inhabitants of this area came from southern Vojvodina and brought the Starčevo culture with them. Archaeologists have also found objects in the Županja area that belong to the Copper Age, Bronze Age, Early Iron Age and Younger Iron Age.

Origin of the name Županja

We believe that this is something that could definitely interest you. All speakers of the Croatian language immediately know how the city got its name – or at least they can guess! If you have not encountered the Croatian language before, it is natural that nothing concrete comes to mind.

So keep on reading!

The name Županja can be divided into two parts, and the first part is the more important one – “Župa” + “nja” or “Žu” + “panja”. The meaning of the word “župa” is “parish”. Apart from the word “župa”, the name can also be associated with the words “župan” and the surname Županci. The surname Županci was carried by a certain Ivan, a nobleman who is mentioned as the owner of Aljmaš. “Panja”, the second part of the name is related to the two stumps that appear on the Coat of Arms of the city.

Historical sites you must see!

Although Županja has 14 historically important places, on this occasion we decided to single out the 4 most interesting to us. (It’s hard to say which of them we liked the most!)

So let’s go!

Archaeological site "Velika greda - Lazine"

This is a prehistoric site on flat ground where fragments of pottery, microlithic stone objects, knives, arrows, awls and splinters and beautiful and semi-processed stone objects were found. The findings confirm the existence of a site of settlement character that has continuously existed from the Neolithic – Starčevo culture, to the Late Bronze Age.

Church of St. John the Baptist

Church of St. John the Baptist: It was built in 1800 in the spirit of late Baroque architecture as a single-nave building with a three-sided apse, a multi-storey sacristy along the north façade and a bell tower along the main façade.

Nemec houses

Two houses on the same plot, built next to each other in the center of the city as residential buildings. One is a two-storey house, built in the first half of the 19th century with the characteristics of classicism of the provincial type, and the second house is somewhat older. The second house housed the „Radnički dom“ in 1919 with a reading room and library, where workers’ meetings and assemblies were held. The county photographer Emil Nemec worked on the first floor. His legacy has been preserved (old cameras and a studio with a film development chamber). What we especially liked were the preserved brick stove, open fireplace, icebox and original exterior carpentry. For a moment, scenes like this take you back to a past where you want to stay at least a little longer.

Stjepan Gruber Homeland Museum

Archaeological Collection: The Archaeological Collection presents, in chronological order, testimonies of life in the Posavina County, from prehistory, through antiquity, to the developed and late Middle Ages. The collection is divided according to historical periods into a paleontological collection, prehistoric, ancient and medieval collection.
Stjepan Gruber Homeland Museum in Županja
Stjepan Gruber Homeland Museum
Image source: www.tz-zupanja.hr

Županja as the cradle of sports

In 1880, English manufacturers came to Županja and brought the first soccer ball with them. Since they lacked players for this game – they included locals. That the Croats liked the sport is indicated by the fact that the first public soccer match was held in 1895. in Zagreb.

On the site of the then Factory and the appearance of the soccer ball today are the premises and the Stadium of the first soccer ball NK “Graničar” from Županja.

In addition to football, another sport marked the history of Županja.

Tennis.

It was noted that in 1881, in the yard of the factory administrative building, gentlemen from England also played tennis. We do not know what the ball was like, but the racket, with an unusual square shape, has been preserved as a valuable museum exhibit, along with numerous photographs from that period. Županja has permanently marked these two historical sporting events with monuments to the First Soccer Ball and the First Tennis Racket in Croatia.

First soccer ball in Croatia - Monument - Županja
Monument to the first soccer ball in Croatia
Image source: qtour.org

Šokačko sijelo

Šokačko sijelo is a cultural and entertainment event based on the rich culture and tradition of Slavonia born in 1968 when a group of enthusiasts set out to realize the great project “Šokačko sijelo in Županja”. Šokačko sijelo is based on the roots of the national heritage. The customs that go along with – the carnival procession, brandy roasting, Slavonian pig slaughter and cavalry procession are among the rich tourist offer of Posavina County. 

Folklore groups from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland , Hungary and Romania also come to this event and make it even more special. Today, Šokačko sijelo is the most representative manifestation of the traditional culture of Posavina County and it gathers about 2,500 performers and more than 11,000 spectators every year. Traditionally decorated carriages and horses, coachmen dressed in folk costumes and their entourage are always a great attraction for all welcome guests.

Have we managed to interest you in the trip to Županja? Let us know!

Your CTC Team

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