Grocka (Serbian Cyrillic: Гроцка, pronounced [ɡrǒtskaː]), or Grocka na Dunavu (Serbian Cyrillic: Гроцка на Дунаву, "Grocka on Danube"), is a municipality of the city of Belgrade. According to the 2011 census results, the municipality has 83,907 inhabitants.
Location of Grocka within the city of Belgrade
|• Type||Municipality of Belgrade|
|• Municipality president||Dragoljub Simonović (SNS)|
|• Urban||30.70 km2 (11.85 sq mi)|
|• Municipality||299.52 km2 (115.65 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Area code||+381 011|
Location and geographyEdit
The municipality is located east of Belgrade, in the northern part of Šumadija region, with the northern section being part of the Podunavlje macro-region in the valley of the Danube, while the southern section is located around the valley of the Ralja River, which is a tributary to the Velika Morava's arm of Jezava. With an altitude of 71 meters above sea level, the town of Grocka is one of the lowest parts of Belgrade. Other rivers in the municipality are Bolečica and Gročica (Serbian Cyrillic: Грочица). Being polluted, in March 2019 the environmentalists described both rivers as "less of a watercourses, more of a sewage watersheds".
The municipality of Grocka became part of the wider Belgrade City area in 1955. In 1957 with the dissolution of the Mali Mokri Lug municipality, the eastern section (the villages of Kaluđerica, Leštane and Vinča) were attached to Grocka. In the early 1960s, the municipalities of Umčari and Vrčin were disbanded and incorporated into the municipality of Grocka as well.
The municipality of Grocka covers an area of 289 km² and includes 15 settlements, all of which are statistically classified as rural, except for the municipal seat of Grocka, which is urban. The small town of Grocka is located on the right bank of the Danube, where the small river of the Gročica empties into the Danube, 30 km east of Belgrade. Despite being seat of the municipality, in term of population, it is only the fourth largest settlement in the municipality, after Kaluđerica, Vrčin and Leštane.
According to the 2011 census results, the municipality has a population of 83,907 inhabitants. Due to the immigration and the natural increase of all of the city's municipalities, Grocka has been for decades one of the fast-growing areas of Belgrade. The population boomed in the last 40 years, increasing the number of inhabitants (1971–2011 by 2.38 times). As in other similar areas surrounding Belgrade, the rapid population growth has not followed by the equal development of infrastructure (roads, waterworks, sewage system, and waste disposal).
The ethnic composition of the municipality:
In both demographic and economic terms, the municipality is sharply divided into two opposing parts. The western part extends into one urban area with Belgrade, experiencing a boost of both population and economy, as hundreds of small companies are located there (Kaluđerica, Boleč, Leštane, Vinča, Ritopek are some), while the eastern part is agricultural, in particular a fruit growing area, and, apart from the town of Grocka itself, experiencing a net decline in population.
The Microclimate is perfect for the fruit growing and grapevines, so the area east of Boleč is one of the best known fruit growing areas in Serbia. Fruit growing developed in the late 19th century and Grocka, Boleč, Ritopek, Zaklopača, Begaljica and Brestovik became known as "Serbian California", producing apples, peaches, apricots, plums and grapes. Ritopek became a major producer of cherries. Production reduced since the 2000s but the capacity of the orchards is 65,000 tons of fruit per year. In 2017 orchards spread over the area of 70 km2 (27 sq mi), or almost a quarter of the municipal total area.
Of the other agricultural products, wheat is the most important. The experimental farm of Radmilovac is located near Vinča, as a section of the University of Belgrade Faculty of Agriculture. At the moment, Radmilovac is being expanded as an experimental ground for future agricultural production.
As a result of this, industrial processing of the fruit is developed in Grocka, Vinča and Boleč, where the large plantations and refrigeration plants of the agricultural company PKB Beograd are located. Also, several mills are located in Grocka and Vinča.
Apart from that, the textile industry is also important (Grocka, Dunav factory, aka:Partizanka), while hundreds of small family-owned factories and workshops are located in the settlements in the western part of the municipality.
Some major traffic routes, like the Smederevski put (Smederevo road) and both the railway and highway Belgrade-Niš, pass through the municipal territory. Also, there are several docks in the settlements on the Danube (Vinča, Grocka) with the prospect of a future marina to be built in Grocka in the next few years.
Other important facilities in the municipality are the Geomagnetic observatory in Brestovik, Nuclear Institute (with now defunct nuclear reactor) and Belgrade City dump in Vinča.
Tourism is the most developed part the municipal economy. Almost every village has its own summer festival (like Zlatni kotlić (Golden Cauldron) in Grocka or Dani trešnje (Days of cherry) in Ritopek. The women's monastery of Rajinovac in Begaljica, the possible marina and aqua park in Grocka and the archeological find of Vinča culture are potential opportunities to boost the tourist economy.
There is a game hunting ground of Gavranski Potok ("Raven's Creek") in the municipality.
One of the main characteristics of Grocka are weekend-settlements, mostly build by the inhabitants of Belgrade. Booming in the 1970s and 1980s, building of weekend-houses largely stopped in the 1990s. In the 1980s, having a weekend-house in Grocka was almost a matter of prestige. It is estimated that there are 4,000 such houses in the municipality, in several settlements. Largest of them are Rujište, on the slope above the Danube in Grocka itself, with 200 houses, and Ritopek with 300. Weekend-settlement of Čair, at the entrance into Grocka, is developing into the regular neighborhood.
|Agriculture, forestry and fishing||100|
|Distribution of power, gas and water||89|
|Distribution of water and water waste management||324|
|Wholesale and retail, repair||2,681|
|Traffic, storage and communication||759|
|Hotels and restaurants||291|
|Media and telecommunications||180|
|Finance and insurance||85|
|Property stock and charter||4|
|Professional, scientific, innovative and technical activities||1,304|
|Administrative and other services||122|
|Administration and social assurance||654|
|Healthcare and social work||797|
|Art, leisure and recreation||73|
Since the elections in 2000, Grocka became the most politically turbulent of all Belgrade municipalities. Recent Presidents of the Municipal Assembly:
- 1992 - 1996 - Bogoljub Stevanić (1943)
- 1996 - November 24, 2000 - Milan Janković (1954)
- November 24, 2000 - June 28, 2002 - Vesna R. Ivić (1962)
- June 28, 2002 - December 8, 2002 - Milan Tanasković
- December 8, 2002 - April 15, 2003 - Sava Starčević (1955)
- April 15, 2003 - December 15, 2004 - Vladan Zarić (1972)
- December 15, 2004 - June 23, 2005 - Blažo Stojanović
- June 23, 2005 - November 4, 2005 - Dragoljub Simonović (1959)
- November 4, 2005 - June 12, 2008 - Blažo Stojanović (second term)
- June 12, 2008 - June 15, 2012 - Zoran Jovanović
- June 15, 2012 – present - Dragoljub Simonović (second term)
As a result of the economic and demographic discrepancy between the western and eastern parts of the municipality, there is a movement for splitting the municipality in two, or perhaps three parts. Primarily, it is about the division in two, with western half becoming new municipality of Vinča, while eastern remaining the municipality of Grocka. Also, there is a possibility of Vrčin splitting from Grocka and forming new municipality of Avalski Venac with other sub-Avalan settlements in the municipality of Voždovac (Beli Potok, Zuce, Pinosava).
Town of GrockaEdit
Grocka is at the center of one of the best known fruit growing areas in Serbia. Conditions are especially favorable for growing peaches, apricots, plums, cherries and grapes. Industrial processing of the fruit has been developed. There are also several mills and a textile industry (Kluz factory).
Traffic is also important as Grocka is located on the road of Smederevski put. It also has a small harbor on the Danube, at the Gročica's mouth (which regularly floods Grocka).
Tourism is important for the town's economy, with several festivals during the year (most notably, the Zlatni kotlić). Large weekend-settlement called Rujište is built on the eastern extension of the town.
One of the landmarks of Grocka for decades was the restaurant "Vinogradi" (vineyards). It was built on the hill of Agino Brdo, among the orchards and vineyards, 500 m (1,600 ft) from downtown Grocka and 25 km (16 mi) from Belgrade. It was known for the great cuisine and a magnificent panoramic view on Pančevo, Smederevo, Avala, but also on the distant Vršac Mountains and the Carpathians in Romania. Construction began in 1960. It used to be visited by President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito, who often came via Danube in his yacht Šumadinka. In his 17 visitations, Tito was also bringing his guests to the restaurant, like Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Henry Kissinger, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Sukarno and Neil Armstrong. Luxurious venue served as the location of many movies, but from 1990s it started to decline and by early 21st century was completely abandoned and covered in overgrowth. In that period it was discovered that the restaurant had power generators, independent water system with the well and pools of drinking water and the soundproof room, apparently used for listening and taping of the guests. In the 2010s, a local investor purchased the edifice, demolished the ruined remains and built a new building in traditional style. It is expected that the restaurant will be reopened in 2018.
Culture and historyEdit
There are over 80 archaeological sites on the territory of Grocka, which point to the long and continuous habitation of the area. The 1974 digging at the location of the Rančić Family House produced artifacts and fragments from the Neolithic Starčevo and Vinča cultures (including fragments of the figurines), non-enamel ceramics from the 15th century, Turkish ceramics from the 16th-18th century and various objects from the 19th-20th century.
The area on which modern town Grocka is located was once part of Limes, a border defense system of Ancient Rome. The remains of several watch-towers and small forts were found in nearby villages along the banks of the Danube River. The municipality of Grocka is the richest in archaeological localities of all Belgrade municipalities, but they are also among the least explored. Only in the village of Brestovik there are three localities: "Podunavlje-Hladna Voda-Vrtlog-Mikulje" Localities Complex (under preliminary protection), "Beli Breg" and "Goli Breg" (artifacts from Goli Breg are being kept in the National Museum in Belgrade and Museum of the city of Belgrade. Roman tomb in Brestovik, an ancient tomb, dating from c. 300, was discovered in 1895. Though evidence points to the tomb of a wealthy local, popular belief is that the "martyrs of Singidunum", Hermylus and Stratonicus, were buried inside. As one of the most important monuments from the Late Roman period in Belgrade and Serbia, the tomb is protected since 1948. There are also Stones of Brestovik, which 2017 were transported into the yard of the Rančić Family house in Grocka. Preliminary examination showed that the stones are indeed archaeological artifacts. Based on their size, detailes and robust frame, it is believed that they were part of some monumental construction from the Roman Antiquity period. Reliefs, or the "stone plastics", are still visible and they form a singular pattern on all three stones. That points to the conclusion that they are either segments of a sacral architecture, but more likely of a large public building, most certainly built before the 4th century, from the period of the golden age of the nearby Singidunum, modern Belgrade.
The town was mentioned for the first time in 878, under Slavic name Gardec, in the list of the settlements by the local Bulgarian bishop. The present settlement was established in 1550 and given the title of varošica ("small town").
Town has a historical main street (čaršija) with shops, green market and a small administrative center, which has been turned into a pedestrian zone.
Annual festival "Gročanske svečanosti" (Grocka festivities) is held since the 1960s. Fruit producers and artists meet in čaršija, while musical performances, sports tournaments, theatrical shows and the contest in preparing fish soup are held. The 50th "Gročanske svečanosti" were held in July–August 2017 and to mark the occasion, a sculpture of "Gročanka" (Girl from Grocka), which symbolizes the fruit production, was dedicated.
- Milan Nedić, born in Grocka. A general, but mostly known as a Prime Minister of the Nazi-backed Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia during World War II.
- Vesna Pešić, born in Grocka. Is a retired university professor and a politician, one of the longest serving leaders of opposition movement in Serbia.
- Bojan Mamić, lived in Grocka. He is a Serbian footballer.
- Ivan Paunić, lived in Grocka. He is a Serbian basketball player.
- Vasa Čarapić, was the duke of Grocka. He was one of notable figures of the First Serbian Uprising.
- Ilija Čarapić, was the duke of Grocka at age of 18. He was the first Mayor of Belgrade.
- Ilija Garašanin Spent last years of his life and died on his estate in Grocka. He was Serbian statesmen and a politician.
- Milutin Garašanin, Serbian poltician; he spent a number of years on the family estate.
Twin towns – Sister citiesEdit
Grocka is twinned with:
- "Municipalities of Serbia, 2006". Statistical Office of Serbia. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
- "Насеља општине Гроцка" (pdf). stat.gov.rs (in Serbian). Statistical Office of Serbia. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
- "2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Serbia: Comparative Overview of the Number of Population in 1948, 1953, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2002 and 2011, Data by settlements" (PDF). Statistical Office of Republic Of Serbia, Belgrade. 2014. ISBN 978-86-6161-109-4. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- Politika, April 20, 2008, front page
- Branka Vasliljević (23 March 2019). "Sava i Dunav odolevaju zagađenju, rečice i potoci postali kolektori" [Sava and Danube resist the pollution, streams and brooks turned into collectors]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 12.
- Comparative overview of the number of population in 1948, 1953, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2002 and 2011 – Data by settlements, page 29. Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, Belgrade. 2014. ISBN 978-86-6161-109-4.
- "ETHNICITY Data by municipalities and cities" (PDF). stat.gov.rs. Statistical Office of Serbia. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
- Dimitrije Bukvić (14 April 2013). "Ruralni Beograd - dve trećine prestonice" (in Serbian). Politika.
- Danijela Davidov-Kesar (6 May 2017). "Pokradene protivgradne rakete nadoknađene novim" (in Serbian). Politika. p. 14.
- Branka Vasiljević (5 August 2018). "Lovci u Beograd stižu porodično" [Hunters travel to Belgrade with their families]. Politika (in Serbian).
- M.Janković & S.Dragaš (11 April 2009). "Parče raja van kruga dvojke" (in Serbian). Politika.
- "ОПШТИНЕ И РЕГИОНИ У РЕПУБЛИЦИ СРБИЈИ, 2017" (PDF). stat.gov.rs (in Serbian). Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
- A.M. (25 June 2017), "Tu je Dunav gledala Sofija Loren", Politika-Magazin, No. 1030 (in Serbian), pp. 26–27
- Z.Atić (8 August 2017), "Francuskinja i Španac rekli "da" na Aginom brdu", Politika (in Serbian), p. 17
- Zorica Atić (12 November 2019). "Arheološke tajne Rančićeve kuće" [Archaeological secrets of the Rančić House]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 14.
- Zorica Atić (26 August 2017), "Misteriozni kamenovi iz Brestovika", Politika (in Serbian), p. 13
- Aleksandra Mijalković (13 August 2017), "Vlastelinska grobnica u Brestoviku", Politika-Magazin, No. 1037 (in Serbian), pp. 25–27
- "Discover Belgrade - Ancient period" (in Serbian). City of Belgrade. 2018.
- "Opština Grocka - Istorija" (in Serbian). Grocka.publikacija.rs. 2008.
- A.Jovanović (19 July 2017), "Oldtajmeri, karneval, koncerti i lovački gulaš", Politika (in Serbian), p. 16
- Stalna konferencija gradova i opština Archived 2012-02-06 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2007-06-18.
- Branka Vasiljević (28 November 2018). "Гроцка се побратимила са руским градом Кољцово" [Grocka twinned with the Russian town Koltsovo]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 15.