The history of Vukovar city
The Vukovar area has always been an intersection of roads, the place where different cultures meet, but also a battleground in wars. The continuity of population in the Vukovar area can be followed for five thousand years through numerous archaeological sites. The Vučedol Culture, which was named for the location Vučedol, located five kilometres downstream on the Danube, holds particular importance for this area. The Vučedol Dove, found in 1938, became the symbol of the city. Also, the Orion from Vučedol, which is considered to be the oldest calendar in Europe, has equal importance.
There are numerous archaeological sites in the Vukovar area, they date from the Bronze Age and early and late Iron Age and they tell us about the lives of Illyrians and Celts. The Romans reached the Danube in their conquests during the final decades B.C. They constructed numerous fortifications as part of their border (limes) with the barbarian tribes. The Roman civilization in this area has brought the improvement of agriculture: marshes were drained and the first vineyards were planted. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Migration Period and the Avar and Slavic expansion from the sixth century onward, brought about significant changes. The area between the rivers Danube and Sava became the site of great conflict and interest of powerful states of that time. At that time Croats begin to inhabit this area. The preserved documents mention Vukovar in the early 13th century under the name “Volko”, “Walk”, “Wolkow”, and finally under the Croatian name “Vukovo”. From the 14th century onward the more Hungarian version of the name, Vukovar, is more commonly used. At that time Croatia was in a union of states with Hungary. Vukovar, as well as the neighbouring Ilok, became the guardians of Croatian identity in the area between the rivers Danube and Sava during that period. In 1231, as one of the first cities in the state, Vukovar gained the status of a royal free city proclaimed by the Charter of Duke Koloman. Vukovar then became the centre of the great Vukovar County which included the area between the Danube and Sava.
After the Ottoman dominion (16th and 17th century) a large part of the Vukovar area was bought by the German counts of Eltz, who will have a significant influence on the economic and cultural life of Vukovar in the following two centuries. At that time immigrants of German, Hungarian, Jewish, Rusyn, Slovak, and Ukrainian descent begin to arrive. In this process this Croatian area became multinational and in 1745 Vukovar became the centre of the great Syrmia County. After World War II Vukovar developed to become a powerful centre of textile and food industry and as such became one of the most highly developed cities in the former country, Yugoslavia. The dominant layer of style in the historic Vukovar is certainly the rounded baroque element with numerous architectural monuments of exceptionally high visual artistic and ambient value.