Bjelovar (Hungarian: Belovár, German: Bellowar, Czech: Bělovar or Bělovár, Kajkavian: Belovar, Latin: Bellovarium) is a city in central Croatia. It is the administrative centre of Bjelovar-Bilogora County as well as one of the youngest cities in Croatia, officially founded in the year 1756. At the 2021 census, there were 36,433 inhabitants, of whom 93.06% were Croats.[citation needed]

Grad Bjelovar
City of Bjelovar
Top: Preradović Street; Center left: Bjelovar Town Hall; Center right: Cathedral and city park; Bottom left: Stjepan Radić Square; Bottom right: Borik memorial park
Flag of Bjelovar
Coat of arms of Bjelovar
Bjelovar is located in Croatia
Location of Bjelovar in Croatia
Coordinates: 45°54′N 16°50′E / 45.900°N 16.833°E / 45.900; 16.833
Country Croatia
County Bjelovar-Bilogora
 • MayorDario Hrebak (HSLS)
 • City Council
26 members
 • City187.9 km2 (72.5 sq mi)
 • Urban
23.9 km2 (9.2 sq mi)
135 m (443 ft)
 • City36,316
 • Density190/km2 (500/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density1,000/km2 (2,600/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Bjelovarian (en)
Bjelovarčanin (hr, male)
Bjelovarčanka (hr, female)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code043
Vehicle registrationBJ
ClimateHumid continental climate Dfa

Name edit

For the origin of the modern name Bjelovar exists a theory that the name comes from the concept of white land, the name for land that was difficult to cultivate.[3] Older records of names like Belublathya or Bjeloblaće i.e. "white mud", indicate this possibility.

The name of the city itself consists of the Croatian adjective "bijel" added to the Hungarian word vár [4]or város [5] which roughly translates to city or fortress.

Name history edit

The name of a settlement similar to Bjelovar is mentioned several times in various historical records. In a letter dating to April 13, 1465, Belovarc (Belowarcz) was mentioned by the bans Emeric Zápolya and Nicholas of Ilok, addressed to the archbishop of Zagreb, about the return of said property, and in the archbishops eply to their letter.

In 1473, in a letter, king Matthias Corvinus gave the properties of the so-called "Belublathy" to several nobles.

In other documents from that period, the names Belowarcz, Beloblatje and Bjeloblaće are mentioned. Bjelovar is also mentioned around 1579 to 1611. Where a small fortress or schloss was built along the Bjelovacka stream to defend against oncoming Turkish invasions. This fortress is recorded on various maps as a fortress: Belouac, Belouax and Wellovar.

In 1756, with the establishment of the modern city and its becoming of the military center of the Varaždin Generalate, which was commanded by barron Philipp Lewin von Beck. Bjelovar was founded and named as Novi Varaždin (New Varaždin), which the local population did not accept, for which Beck ordered that those who do not accept the name New Varaždin be punished.

Panoramic view of the city atop the Bjelovar silo tower.

Geography edit

Bjelovar agricultural fair
"Return of the Pannonian whales" fountain

Bjelovar sits on a plateau in the southern part of the Bilogora a long, low elevation range, with an average height of 150–200 m (highest point: Rajčevica, 309 m). The geology of the area consists of Pliocene sandy marl and sandstones with lesser layers of lignite. Older rocks do not appear on the surface in this area. Deeper down can be found crystalline rocks. The city stands 135 metres above sea level. It is the capital of the Bjelovar-Bilogora county, and the natural, cultural and political centre of the area.

Bjelovar sits at an intersection of roads in this area: the D28 intersects with the D43, and it lies on the road between Zagreb and west Slavonia, Podravina and Osijek. Bjelovar is currently being connected by dual carriageway with Zagreb.

The city of Bjelovar has an area of 181.75 km2 (70.2 sq mi), and administratively it includes 31 other settlements.

History edit

Neolithic and ancient history edit

The oldest Neolithic location in this area is in Ždralovi, a suburb of Bjelovar, where, while building a basement for the house of Josip Horvatić, a dugout was found and identified as belonging to the Starčevo culture (5000 – 4300 BC).[6][7][8] Finds from Ždralovi belong to a regional subtype of a late variant of the Neolithic culture. It is designated the Ždralovi facies of the Starčevo culture, or the final-stage Starčevo. There are also relics of the Korenovo culture, Sopot culture, Lasinja culture, and the Vučedol culture.[9] as well as the Bronze and Iron Age cultures, found in the wider Bjelovar area.

Roman empire edit

The more intensive development of the area began with the arrival of the Romans, who first came to the area between the Sava and Drava rivers in 229 BC. The intersection of two Roman roads was located exactly at the place where the present-day Bjelovar developed, and in its immediate vicinity was a presumed military camp or station.

With the stabilization of the northern border of the Roman Empire, a collection of settlements probably developed here in the period from II. to IV. century, unrecorded on Roman itineraries, but attested by archaeological remains on today's Matošev Square, Stjepan Radić Square and findings in the wider city area, such as the most prominent findings of a Roman rural settlement in the forest and area of Lug.

Origin of the city edit

By the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th century, many noble and church estates were located within the circle of today's Bjelovar, some of them were the settlement Jakobove Sredice, the fort of Gudovačka Gradina and church parishes in today's Veliko Korenovo, Međurača and Nova Rača.

The military frontier with the Varaždin Generalate, the center of which was the newly established Bjelovar.

With the Turkish invasions in the 16th century today's Bjelovar region became a border area and a humanly and materially devastated region that constantly changed hands. The population had dispersed and life had been mostly carried out in small forts along the unstable border with the Ottomans. Only with the establishment of an administrative and military system of defense against the Turks, better known as the Croatian Military Frontier within which the Bjelovar area was located did the situation stabalize. In the 17th century Bjelovar is mentioned as a military guardhouse, which indicates that it was already included in the Frontier defense system then. Stabilization of the Habsburg-Ottoman border on the Sava river and the new circumstances of the society in the region durring the first half of the 18th century conditioned the territorial and administrative reorganization of the Varaždin Generalate.

The Severin Uprising (also known as the Varaždin rebellion), which took place in 1755 in the immediate vicinity of the future city, pointed to the need for a new command center from which better control of the Krajišan could be projected out. Viennese military strategists decided to establish a new settlement that would take over the function of headquarters of regimental administrations. A location was chosen in the center of the generalate, on the dividing line between the Križevci and Đurđevac regiments.

The foundation and beginning of the construction of Bjelovar dates back to 1756, when the land was purchased and a permit was issued for the purchase of building materials, and the construction was led by Baron Philipp Lewin von Beck. From the very beginning, the city was conceived as the center of the Varaždin Generalate, and in accordance with the military function, the construction of military facilities and the settlement of the military population first began. As well as the resettlement of many Czech and Croatian peasants as workforce on the new fort. The exception is the block on the square where the parish church of St. Teresa of Avila (now the Cathedral of St. Teresa of Avila) and the Piarist monastery and school. Two Piarist monks, brothers Hubert and Ignacije Diviš, came to Bjelovar in 1761 and opened the first public school on the Đurđevac regiment side of town. By the decision of Maria Theresa construction of a new church started, which was completed in 1772, with which the parish of Bjelovar was established, which until 1790 managed by Piarists. In 1771, Empress Maria Theresa confirmed Bjelovar's status as a privileged "Krajina city", i.e. a military community, which resulted in demographic and significant economic growth. This trend continued at the beginning of the 19th century when the city began to expand beyond its original borders. And with time it became the administrative centre of the Bjelovar-Križevci county.

Map of the former Bjelovar-Križevci county.

19th century edit

The then town of Bjelovar was pronounced a free royal town by ban Ivan Mažuranić in 1874 after the conclusions of the Ottoman invasion. Peaceful life and economic boom was interrupted by the beginning of the First World War. As an important military town, Bjelovar made its contribution by recruiting the male population, converting many public buildings into hospitals, using the railway to transport soldiers and the wounded. Consequently with the war dragging on, the shortage of manpower and natural resources led to a difficult economic situation and a general shortage of food. With the end of the war Bjelovar became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and it retained its status as the administrative centre of the Bjelovar-Križevci county. The Vidovdan Constitution of 1921, and on the basis of the Law on Regional and County Self-Government (1922), the Kingdom of SHS was divided into 33 oblasts, and Bjelovar thereby lost the status of county center and became part of the Osijek oblast with the status of a district and a city.

Thanks to the economic foundations created in the previous period, based on trade, crafts and industry, the positive economic trend continued until The Great Depression, when the growth of registered merchants, craftsmen and industrialists was still recorded, but with much lower incomes. In the interwar period, the city received some new facilities. The football field of the Bjelovar Academic Sports Club was arranged in the modern-day city quarter of Logorište. Public city pools were also established.

Croatian "Sokol" building in Bjelovar, from the year 1924

20th century edit

The short-lived period of the Independent State of Croatia during the Second World War stopped the development of the city in all areas. Two days before the official proclamation in Zagreb, on April 8, 1941, from the balcony of the then city hall (now the building of the Bjelovar City Museum), the mayor Dr. Julije Makanec proclaimed the Independent State of Croatia during the event known as the Bjelovar Uprising. Within two months, a new territorial-administrative division of the state into 22 parishes followed. During the war, unlike the villages in the immediate vicinity of Bjelovar, the town did not experience severe material destruction. On several occasions the railway as well as the military bases in the quarter of Vojnović were bombed by Allied forces.

Bjelovar "Home of Culture" previously a synagogue prior to the events of the Second World War

With the end of the war and the arrival of the new socialist government, tendencies towards the modernization of the state and the restoration of the failing industry and communal infrastructure were evident from the very beginning. Housing construction was intensified mainly in the northern part of the city such as the quarters of Sjever, Zvijerci, Logorište, Ivanovčani and Pemsko Polje as well as to the south in the quarter of Jug. in 1960 a new post office building was built on the site of the old post office building. In 1955, the Koestlin plant moved from the city core to the industrial zone south of the railway. In addition to Koestlin and the already existing factories of Tomo Vinković, Česma, Tehnogradnja and Elektrometal, new plants were built in the area from the 1960s, while the United Paromlin (later renamed 5 .maj), stayed in its historical location by the old mill, where it was reorganized and built upon.

In addition to demographic and economic growth, the aforementioned built infrastructure contributed to the strengthening of all functions, which turned Bjelovar into one of the most important centers of northwestern Croatia.

Bjelovar during and post the breakup of Yugoslavia edit

Remnants of the former Barutana depot, now the Barutana memorial area.

After the first multi-party democratic elections in the SR Croatia held on April 22 and 23, 1990, the newly founded Croatian Democratic Union won power in Bjelovar. After the referendum and the declaration of independence, the crisis worsened and conflicts began. For this reason, on September 12, the President of the Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tuđman, made a decision to block all JNA barracks in Croatia and suspend the supply of electricity, water and food to these barracks. After a series of unsuccessful attempts to get the JNA army to peacefully leave the barracks located in the city or in its immediate surroundings, namely the barracks or military facilities in the quarters of Logorište, Vojnović, Zvijerci, the forest of Bedenik (The Barutana depot) and the Preradović barracks on the main city square, known as the Božidar Adžija Barracks.

On the morning of 29 September, ZNG (Zbor narodne garde) and Croatian police attacked the JNA facilities in Bjelovar. In response, Kovačević contacted the JNA 5th Military District in Zagreb and requested airstrikes against the city and the ZNG. The sources do not indicate if the requested airstrikes were carried out. The 5th Military District instead pressured the central Croatian authorities to order the ZNG in Bjelovar to observe a comprehensive ceasefire previously agreed between Croatia and the JNA on 22 September. In order to verify the ceasefire, the European Community Monitor Mission (ECMM) deployed a monitoring team to the city. However, the authorities in Bjelovar ignored the order they received from the General Staff and stopped the ECMM team before it reached the city. According to Šimić, the move was made after Lieutenant General Petar Stipetić telephoned him and urged him to continue the attack. The authenticity of Šimić's account of has been disputed by Admiral Davor Domazet-Lošo, who claims it was an attempt to discredit Croatia before the ECMM. At 19:00, the ZNG captured Božidar Adžija Barracks. By that time, all other JNA facilities in and near Bjelovar had been captured.

Before Barutana Depot was captured by the ZNG, one of the four storage structures, containing 1,700 tonnes (1,700 long tons; 1,900 short tons) of ammunition and explosives, was blown up by JNA Major Milan Tepić. The explosion occurred at 10:43, killing Tepić, and eleven ZNG troops who were blockading the depot in Bedenik Forest. The blast knocked down trees in a circle 200 metres (660 feet) wide, caused damage to nearby structures, prodomenantly in the then suburb of Hrgovljani and could be heard 20 kilometres (12 miles) away. The JNA lost another soldier in the area of the depot, killed by an antitank missile while he was engaging the ZNG using an infantry fighting vehicle gun.

September 29, 1991 became one of the most important dates in the modern history of Bjelovar. In 1997, the City Councilr declared that date the Day of the City of Bjelovar. Since 2007, September 29th has been marked as Bjelovar Veterans' Day.

In 2009. the then Bjelovar parish church was officially pronounced as the Cathedral of Teresa of Ávila. by the Pope Benedict XVI making it the youngest cathedral in Croatia. On the same day, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bjelovar-Križevci, of which the Bjelovar cathedral is the centre, was created.

Demographics edit

Population by settlement:[10]

Population by ethnicity[citation needed]
year total Croats Serbs Yugoslavs others
1991 66,039 53,113 (80.42%) 5,898 (8.93%) 2,631 (3.98%) 4,397 (6.65%)
1981 66,553 48,819 (73.35%) 5,897 (8.86%) 9,249 (13.89%) 2,588 (3.88%)
1971 65,824 52,580 (79.87%) 8,689 (13.20%) 1,726 (2.62%) 2,829 (4.29%)
City of Bjelovar: Population trends 1857–2021

Politics edit

Minority councils and representatives edit

Directly elected minority councils and representatives are tasked with consulting tasks for the local or regional authorities in which they are advocating for minority rights and interests, integration into public life and participation in the management of local affairs.[11] At the 2023 Croatian national minorities councils and representatives elections Roma (elected only 11 members) and Serbs of Croatia each fulfilled legal requirements to each elect their own 15 members minority council of the City of Bjelovar while Albanians and Czechs of Croatia were electing individual representatives.[12]

Climate edit

Bjelovar has a temperate continental climate. Winters are moderately cold and summers are warm. Precipitation of about 900 mm (35 in) per year is normal. The prevailing wind during winter is northerly, with easterlies becoming stronger in spring, when it may be quite cold, often blowing for several days consecutively. In summer the wind is southerly; it is warm and more humid. The mean yearly temperature in Bjelovar is about 12 °C (54 °F).

Climate data for Bjelovar (1949–2017)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.8
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.3
Record low °C (°F) −26.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 48.5
Average rainy days 7 7 9 12 13 12 11 9 10 10 11 9 120
Average snowy days 6 5 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 23
Mean monthly sunshine hours 59.8 89.8 147.6 183.2 233.7 248.8 274.8 259.5 188.0 135.8 70.9 46.5 1,938.4
Source: Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service[13]

Culture edit

Bjelovar contains three war memorials. The Barutana memorial area is dedicated to those who died defending the city on September 29, 1991, during the Croatian War of Independence. The Lug memorial area is dedicated to memorial to the Croatian victims of communism after the end of the second world war in 1945, and the Borik memorial area is dedicated to Partisans and victims killed during the Second World War.

Bjelovar hosts the yearly "BOK" (Bjelovarski odjeci kazališta or Bjelovar Echoes of Theatre) theatre festival. It was founded and is run by Bjelovar actor Goran Navojec, and it hosts a selection of the best plays performed in Croatia during previous year.

The building of a former synagogue in now used as a cultural center, the Bjelovar Synagogue.

Sport edit

In the 1970s, Bjelovar was known as the handball capital of Europe, when its local squad RK Bjelovar (under the name Partizan) dominated Croatian, Yugoslav, and European handball. The team came solely from Bjelovar and its environs.

International relations edit

Twin towns and sister cities edit

Bjelovar is twinned with:

People edit

For a complete list of people from Bjelovar and Bjelovar-Bilogora County see List of people from Bjelovar-Bilogora County.

See also edit

References edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Register of spatial units of the State Geodetic Administration of the Republic of Croatia. Wikidata Q119585703.
  2. ^ "Population by Age and Sex, by Settlements, 2021 Census". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in 2021. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. 2022.
  3. ^ "How cities and towns in Croatia got their names". Croatia Week. 2023-02-25. Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  4. ^ "vár in English - Hungarian-English Dictionary | Glosbe". Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  5. ^ "város in English - Hungarian-English Dictionary | Glosbe". Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  6. ^ Jakovljević, G. Arheološka topografija Bilogore, Bjelovarski zbornik ‘89, Bjelovar, 1989, pp 108–119
  7. ^ Dimitrijević, S. Das Neolithikum in Syrmien, Slawonien und Nordwestkroatien — Einführung in den Stander Forschung, Archeologica Iugoslavica X, Belgrade, 1969, p 39-76 (45, 47)
  8. ^ Dimitrijević, S. Sjeverna zona — Neolitik u centralnom i zapadnom dijelu sjeverne Jugoslavije, Praistorija jugoslavenskih zemalja II, Sarajevo, 1979, pp 229–360 (252–253)
  9. ^ Jakovljević, G. Povijest naseljenosti bjelovarskog kraja do osnutka grada ; in: Slukan Altić, M. Povijesni atlasi gradova : I. vol. Bjelovar, Croatian State Archives and the State Archives in Bjelovar, 2003, pp 11–19
  10. ^ "Population by Age and Sex, by Settlements, 2011 Census: Bjelovar". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012.
  11. ^ "Manjinski izbori prve nedjelje u svibnju, kreću i edukacije". T-portal. 13 March 2023. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  12. ^ "Informacija o konačnim rezultatima izbora članova vijeća i izbora predstavnika nacionalnih manjina 2023. VII. BJELOVARSKO-BILOGORSKA ŽUPANIJA" (PDF) (in Croatian). Državno izborno povjerenstvo Republike Hrvatske. 2023. p. 6-7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2023. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  13. ^ "Monthly values and extremes: Values for Bjelovar in 1949–2017 period". Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service. Archived from the original on 11 January 2019. Retrieved 10 January 2019.

Bibliography edit

  • Cresswell, Peterjon; Atkins, Ismay; Dunn, Lily (10 July 2006). Time Out Croatia (First ed.). London, Berkeley & Toronto: Time Out Group Ltd & Ebury Publishing, Random House Ltd. 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SV1V 2SA. ISBN 978-1-904978-70-1. Retrieved 10 March 2010.

External links edit