Kikinda (Serbian Cyrillic: Кикинда, pronounced [kǐkiːnda]) is a city and the administrative center of the North Banat District in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. The city urban area has 38,065 inhabitants, while the city administrative area has 59,453 inhabitants.
|City of Kikinda|
From top: Rotonda building, National Museum of Kikinda, Mammoth Kika sculpture, Villa Rizenfelder, Saint Nichola's Church, Suvača- horse mill, Kikinda's pond
Location of the city of Kikinda within Serbia
|City status||March 2016|
|• Mayor||Pavle Markov (SNS)|
|Area rank||20th in Serbia|
|• Urban||189.68 km2 (73.24 sq mi)|
|• Administrative||782.46 km2 (302.11 sq mi)|
|Elevation||78 m (256 ft)|
|• Rank||25th in Serbia|
|• Urban density||200/km2 (520/sq mi)|
|• Administrative density||76/km2 (200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
The city was founded in the 18th century. From 1774 to 1874 Kikinda was the seat of the District of Velika Kikinda, an autonomous administrative unit of Habsburg Monarchy. In 1893 Kikinda was granted the status of a city. The city became part of the Kingdom of Serbia (and Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes) in 1918, and it lost the city status. The status was re-granted in 2016.
In 1996, the well preserved archaeological remnants of a half a million-year-old mammoth were excavated on the outer edge of the town area. The mammoth called "Kika" has become one of the symbols of the town. Today it is exhibited in the National Museum of Kikinda. Other attractions of the city are the Suvača – a unique horse-powered dry mill, the annual Pumpkin Days and the International Symposium of Sculpture "Terra". The winter roosts of long-eared owl, with a large number of individuals, are easily accessible as they are situated in town parks and therefore they attract birdwatchers both from this country and abroad.
In Serbian, the city is known as Kikinda (Кикинда), while in other languages it is called Great Kikinda: in Hungarian as Nagykikinda, in German as Gross Kikinda or Großkikinda, in Latin as Magna Kikinda, in Romanian as Chichinda Mare, in Slovak as Kikinda, in Rusyn as Кикинда, and in Croatian as Kikinda. Until 1947 it was also known in Serbian as Great Kikinda — Velika Kikinda (Велика Кикинда).
The name of Kikinda is first found recorded at the beginning of the 15th century as Kokenyd, and most probably denoted, together with the name Ecehida, a number of small settlements, i.e. estates, firstly belonging to Hungarian and later to Serb local rulers. The name of the town first appears on a map of 1718 as Gross Kikinda, indicating an uninhabited area or a wasteland and not a settlement. The adjective Gross, Nagy or Velika (Great) in German, Hungarian and Serbian versions respectively, was in official use as the name of the town until the end of 1947.
Coat of armsEdit
The official coat of arms of the city dates back to the Austrian rule and the 18th century. It is derived from the coat of arms of the District of Velika Kikinda which was issued by Maria Theresa of Austria on 12 November 1774. The Coat of Arms represents a hand holding a sabre on which an Ottoman Turkish head is impaled. It symbolizes the fight of Serbs and the majority ethnic Hungarians at that time, against the Turks during the Military Frontier period and the military contributions of the population of Kikinda during the Austro-Ottoman Wars.
In 2007, Branislav Blažić, then president of the municipality of Kikinda, asked for the change of the coat of arms, criticizing it for being "morbid". The idea proved very controversial, and ultimately the coat was not changed. Most critics of Blažić stated that the coat of arms is a part of the history and tradition of Kikinda and so an important factor of the city identity.
The severed head of a Turk is also one of the common symbols in Austrian and Hungarian heraldry. It symbolizes the struggle of Serb soldiers of the Habsburg Empire (Austrian Empire) against Ottoman Empire during the Austro-Ottoman Wars.
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The city of Kikinda is located on a territory rich in remains of old and disappeared cultures. Numerous archeological findings are the testimony of people who lived here more than seven thousand years ago. However, the continuity of that duration was often broken. People arrived and departed, lived and disappeared, depending on various historical circumstances.
Two important medieval settlements existed near the location of modern Kikinda. Names of these settlements were Galad and Hološ. Galad was one of the oldest Slavic settlements in northern Banat and was built by Slavic duke Glad in the 9th century. In 1337, Galad was recorded as settlement populated almost exclusively by Serbs. This settlement was destroyed during Austro-Ottoman wars in the end of 17th and beginning of the 18th century.
Another settlement, Hološ (also known as Velika Holuša), was a local administrative center in the 17th century, during Ottoman administration. This settlement was also destroyed in the end of the 17th century.
According to some sources, an older settlement named Kekenj (Kekend, Keken) existed at this location. The name of Kokenyd is first found recorded in 1423 as a property of the Hungarian king Sigismund. In 1558, this settlement was populated by Serbs. It was deserted after Banat Uprising in 1594.
The history of modern Kikinda can be traced back to 250 years; by 1751–1752, when the area where the city is presently located began repopulating. The first settlers were Serbs who served in the Habsburg military as border patrols. They were tasked with protecting the borders against the Ottomans along the rivers of Moriš and Tisa. After the Požarevac peace treaty, where an agreement between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire was reached, the Ottomans lost the territory of Banat which led to huge job losses among the Serb population. As a result, they founded a new settlement in an effort to make a living from agriculture. Some decades later, along with the Serbs, Germans (Banat Swabians), Hungarians, and Jews also settled the area.
About twenty years after the establishment of the settlement, on 12 November 1774, the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, by way of a special charter, formed the Velikokikindski privileged district – Regio-privilegiatus Districtus Magnokikindiensis, as a distinct feudal governmental administrative unit with headquarters in Kikinda. Besides Kikinda, the district included another nine settlements of the Serb border military establishments in North and Central Banat: Srpski Krstur, Jozefovo (today part of Novi Kneževac), Mokrin, Karlovo (today part of Novo Miloševo), Bašaid, Vranjevo (today part of Novi Bečej), Melenci, Kumane and Taraš. During that period, the inhabitants of these places had substantial economic, and even political privileges within the Habsburg Monarchy. The District functioned, with some interruptions, until 1876 when it was abolished, and Kikinda was allocated both organizationally and administratively to the direct authority of the Torontal County with headquarters in Veliki Bečkerek (today Zrenjanin), which covered most of the territory of present-day Serbian Banat.
In 1848/1849, the famous uprising of the Serbs in Vojvodina took place. At the beginning, Kikinda's citizens expressed, almost unanimously, social revolt, while later the riot turned into a national one, and Kikinda became part of the Serbian Voivodship, a Serb autonomous region within the Austrian Empire. During the war, control over the city changed hands between the Serbian and Hungarian governments at the expense of great conflicts, which resulted in suffering and destruction. It was one of the most difficult and most complex periods in the history of Kikinda. Between 1849 and 1860 Kikinda was part of the Voivodeship of Serbia and Temes Banat, a separate Austrian crown land. In 1860, this crown land was abolished, and Kikinda was incorporated into Torontal county, in the Kingdom of Hungary after the compromise of 1867.
A railroad connecting Szeged, Kikinda and Timișoara was built in 1857 and is the oldest railroad on the territory of present-day Serbia and the entire southeast Europe, predating Belgrade by 27 years. Kikinda had 15,000 inhabitants at the time. First train arrived on 15 November at 15:00 at the, still unfinished, railway station. The railroad itself was part of a 700 km (430 mi) long railroad Vienna-Bratislava-Budapest-Timișoara-Baziaș, a spa and port on the Danube. Days before the first train arrived, public drummers were announcing the event and huge crowds gathered at the arriving ceremony. But, some complained. Farmers whose land was appropriated by the state for the route of the railroad were not satisfied with the compensation they received. Others spread stories that the fumes from the locomotive are toxic, that sparks from the wheels will set fields of grains on fire or that sound of locomotive will scare the cattle. However, the railroad brought economic boom to Kikinda, as in the next five years industry began to develop, including steam mills and brickyards. When at the end of 19th century Veliki Bečkerek was linked directly to Szeged, bypassing Kikinda, the economy slowed down. In 1953 connection with Szeged was cut as the bridge over Tisza was demolished. Connection to Timișoara was operational via railbuses until 2015. Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I visited Kikinda in 1872 by this railroad and it was also used for the original Orient Express route. As of 2017, trains operate only to Subotica and Zrenjanin.
At the end of the 19th century Kikinda was the most densely inhabited place in Torontál County, with 22,000 inhabitants. The period from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the First World War was a peaceful and fruitful period in the history of Kikinda and was marked by a strong economic and urban development of the city. Moreover, the core of the city was formed, and the city received a defined local government in 1895 (statute, senate, town representative, mayor(Karlo Radovan), etc.). According to the 1910 census, the population of Kikinda numbered 26,795 inhabitants, of whom 14,214 (53.00%) spoke Serbian, 5,968 (22.27%) Hungarian, and 5,855 (21.85%) German.
A date around the end of the First World War (20 November 1918) denotes one of the most crucial moments in the modern history of Kikinda. The entry of the Serbian army into the city represented the achievement of the Serbs of Kikinda in striving to unite with Serbia. From 1 December 1918, the city was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (renamed Yugoslavia in 1929). However, the city suffered greatly in the economic realm, as it was located in the hinterland, between two borders, with communication lines disconnected. The period between the two world wars was not a period of economic prosperity. In 1921, the population of Kikinda numbered 25,774 people and included 15,000 (58%) Serbs and Croats, 5,500 (21%) Germans (Banat Swabians), 4,000 (16%) Hungarians, and 5% Romanians. Between 1918 and 1922, Kikinda was part of Banat county, Between 1922 and 1929 it was part of Belgrade oblast, and between 1929 and 1941 it was part of Danube Banovina.
After only twenty years of peace, in 1941 Kikinda entered the stormy period of World War II, during which it was occupied by German troops. The Banat region, which Kikinda belonged to was made an autonomous region within Serbia and was placed under the control of the region's German minority. The city was overtaken on 6 October 1944, and since 1945, it has been part of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina within the new Socialist Yugoslavia.
During and after the war, the city's economic and political organizational structure significantly changed as well as there were major changes in the ethnic structure of the city also. The German (about 22%) and Jewish (about 2%) populations vanished. In 1940, there were about 500 Jews in the town. In August, 1941, they were deported to the Sajmište death camp near Belgrade and murdered. In 1944, one part of the German population fled the region, together with the defeated German army. Between 1944–1948, those who remained were detained in work camps. After the abolishment of the camps, most of the remaining German population left for Austria and Germany in search of better living conditions. In 1948, shortly after the end of World War II, Kikinda had a population of 28,070. From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, the city saw continuous economic and cultural development: new factories and production plants, new blocks of flats and residential settlements, various objects of general social interest, and paved streets definitely stressed and formed the urban dimension of Kikinda. In 1971 the city had a population of 37,487.
In March 2016, Kikinda was re-granted city status.
The City of Kikinda comprises the town of Kikinda, nine villages and two hamlets. The nine villages are:
- Banatska Topola
- Banatsko Veliko Selo
- Novi Kozarci
- Rusko Selo
- Sajan (Hungarian: Szaján)
The two hamlets are:
Note: for settlement with Hungarian majority, name is also given in Hungarian.
The city belongs to the group of so-called planned organized settlements. Plans of streets and crossroads were completed in the second half of the 18th century according to the standard city plans of the time used for the construction of new settlements in Banat. Those plans defined settlements with regularly lined and wide streets cutting at right angles, with a central town square, market place, church, city hall, school, pub, etc.
According to the last official census done in 2011, the city of Kikinda has 59,453 inhabitants.
Most of the settlements in the city have an ethnic Serb majority, while one settlement has a Hungarian ethnic majority: Sajan (Hungarian: Szaján). Two others have over 20% Hungarians: Banatska Topola and Rusko Selo.
The ethnic composition of city administrative area:
The principal branch of the city's economy is agriculture, with its 598.17 square kilometres (230.95 sq mi) of arable land. The annual production of wheat is about 60,000 tons, 114,670 tons of sunflower seeds. Soy, sugar beet and other fruits and vegetables are also produced.
Industrial production includes the production of oil derivatives by the "Naftagas" branch in Kikinda, metal processing, machine tools, special tools, car parts and flexible technologies by the former "Livnica Kikinda" (metal foundry) and IDA-Opel (now owned by Slovenian Cimos Koper), roof tile and brick production by "Toza Marković", the production of chemicals by "MSK" and "Hemik" and the processing of agricultural products by a number of factories.
The following table gives a preview of total number of employed people per their core activity (as of 2016):
|Agriculture, forestry and fishing||566|
|Distribution of power, gas and water||138|
|Distribution of water and water waste management||388|
|Wholesale and retail, repair||1,826|
|Traffic, storage and communication||677|
|Hotels and restaurants||394|
|Media and telecommunications||141|
|Finance and insurance||194|
|Property stock and charter||26|
|Professional, scientific, innovative and technical activities||314|
|Administrative and other services||387|
|Administration and social assurance||680|
|Healthcare and social work||1,357|
|Art, leisure and recreation||200|
Rail line Banatsko Aranđelovo – Kikinda – Romanian border at Jimbolia, part of the former Szeged – Timișoara railway is the second oldest railway in present-day Serbia. The city is also connected by rail to Subotica and to Belgrade through Zrenjanin.
Regional roads connect Kikinda with all the neighbouring cities and villages. Buses operate regularly to the surrounding villages and major domestic and some European cities.
The only transport waterway in the city is the Danube-Tisa-Danube Canal. There is a dock which is used for industrial transport.
There is also the Kikinda Airport, a sports plane airstrip close to the city. The local flying club organizes lessons in parachuting, aviation and space-modeling. Planes are also flown from this airstrip to dust agricultural fields.
Before the break-up of former Yugoslavia, hunting tourism was widespread in Kikinda. There are a number of hunting grounds in the city covering an area of 300 square kilometres (116 sq mi), mostly around the banks of the Danube-Tisa-Danube Canal, where rabbits, pheasants and deer are hunted.
On the location of the former clay pit of the "Toza Marković" company, an artificial lake was created. Located at the southern entrance into the town, it was named Plava banja ("Blue Spa"). Though it is not officially classified as a spa, the water is highly mineralized, microbiologically suitable for swimming and chemically has an elevated levels of sulfates and chlorides, so as higher electroconductivity and pH values. That means the water may be beneficial for the skin and some skin diseases, like the eczema. Until the early 2000s, the lake was arranged with numerous recreational activities and was visited by several thousand people daily. It was busy in the evenings as the lake was place for many concerts and other artistic and entertaining happenings. As the lake is on the lot of "Toza Marković", new owners stopped all that and by 2017 the lake was neglected and without even the basic infrastructure (showers, toilets, etc.). However, the locals still visit the lake, though on a much smaller scale. In the summer of 2017, the lake shores were cleaned from garbage and vegetation. There is another lake, Staro jezero ("Old Lake"), in the town itself.
- Primary schools
There are eight primary schools in the city:
- Đura Jakšić Primary School . Language of instruction: Serbian.
- Feješ Klara Primary School. Language of instruction: Serbian and Hungarian.
- Jovan Popović Primary School. Language of instruction: Serbian.
- Sveti Sava Primary School . Languages of instruction: Serbian and Hungarian.
- Vuk Karadžić Primary School. Language of instruction: Serbian.
- Žarko Zrenjanin Primary School. Language of instruction: Serbian.
- 6 October Special Primary School. School for children with special needs. Language of instruction: Serbian.
- Slobodan Malbaški Primary Music school. Language of instruction: Serbian.
- Secondary schools
All secondary schools in Kikinda use Serbian as the language of instruction:
- Dušan Vasiljev Gymnasium, founded in 1858. Students can choose between four main courses: socio-linguistic, mathematics and natural sciences, informatics and general.
- Technical School
- Economics and Trade Secondary School
- Miloš Crnjanski Secondary Vocational School. The school offers courses in food processing, building, and health sciences.
- Higher School for the Education of Teachers
The Suvača is a horse-powered dry mill. Kikinda has one of the three remaining such mills in Europe (the other two being in Szarvas, Hungary and Otok). There were many mills like this in the city, the largest recorded number being 51 in 1847. The only remaining mill was built in 1899 and was operational until 1945.
Located in the center of the square, the Serbian Orthodox church was built in 1769. The icons of the iconostasis were done by Jakov Orfelin (nephew of Zacharius Orfelin) in 1773. Teodor Ilić Češljar is the author of the two large wall paintings "The Last Supper" and "Ascension of Jesus Christ" (1790). Both, the late baroque iconostasis and the wall paintings show significant influence of western European art of the period. New church bells were installed in 1899.
Serbian Orthodox Holy Trinity monastery is located in the south outskirts of the city. It was built between 1885 and 1887 as a foundation of Melanija Nikolić-Gajčić. The construction of the Roman Catholic Church in Kikinda was started in 1808 and completed in 1811.
According to a popular belief, the treasure of Attila the Hun is buried somewhere on the territory of the city of Kikinda.
Among the birdwatchers Kikinda is known as the prime hotspot for observing winter roosts of long-eared owl with large number of individuals. The roosts are situated in city parks so they are easily accessible.
Fossil remains of a mammoth, neamed Kika, were discovered in 1996. Kika was a female, 4 m (13 ft) tall, 7 m (23 ft) long with an estimated weight of 15 tons. That makes Kika one of the largest mammoth specimen ever discovered. It is still not determined to which mammoth species it belongs.
Kikinda is known for being a major European wintering area for the long-eared owl. In November 2017, 238 owls were numbered while the record was set in 2009 when 743 birds were counted in the town. The BBC crews visited Kikinda in 2015 and 2018, filming documentaries about the wild animals in urban areas and focusing on the owls.
Situated in the city square, the building of the National Museum of Kikinda was built in 1839. In the beginning, the building served as the city curia and the seat of the District of Velika Kikinda until its abolishment in 1876. In 1946, the National Museum of Kikinda and the City Archive  were founded and housed in the building. The Museum boasts numerous artifacts which are displayed in its four sections: archeological, historical, ethnological and naturalist. As of recently, it also possesses a mammoth skeleton which was excavated on the grounds of the "Toza Marković" brick factory in 1996.
The Jovan Popović National Library was founded in 1845 as Čitaonica Srbska (Serbian Reading Room). It was renamed in 1952 to Jovan Popović in honor of a prominent poet from Kikinda. Besides serving its primary function of loaning books, the library also organizes literary meetings, book promotions, seminars, lectures, exhibitions, and has published several works.
Although the National Theater in Kikinda was founded only 50 years ago, Kikinda has a long theatrical tradition. Kikinda witnessed its first theatrical play in 1796 in German. The first play in Serbian was performed in 1834. The theater has a continuous program all year round, including the summer when the stage is set up outside, in the yard of the theater.
The Pumpkin Days (Дани лудаје/Dani ludaje in Serbian) are an annual manifestation that takes place in mid-October. Every year people from all over the region gather in Kikinda to take part in a competition of who has the largest pumpkin and longest gourd. The term ludaja is specific to the Kikinda region, while the common Serbian word for pumpkin is bundeva. Kikinda has a special relationship with this plant because throughout its history, the locals used to say that one had to stand on a pumpkin while working in the fields in order to get a clear view of the whole city. This exaggeration is supposed to depict the flatness of the city's territory and symbolize the joy of finding way back home. A local man standing on a pumpkin, dressed in a traditional attire, and with his hand blocking the sun so that he can see into the distance, thus became the symbol of the region. A group of local enthusiasts started the Pumpkin Days celebration in 1986 and it quickly started attracting pumpkin and gourd lovers from all over the country. The three-day event also includes lectures and seminars on the advancement of pumpkin and gourd cultivation, a culinary competition in preparing meals from pumpkins and gourds, children's competitions in creating masks and sculptures, and various concerts and exhibitions. Over the past few years this event has gained prominence and has drawn visitors from Hungary, Romania and the former Yugoslav republics. The largest pumpkin measured at the event to date weighed 247 kg (545 lb), while the longest gourd was 213 centimeters in length. In 2006 the event celebrated its 20th anniversary and had the largest number of visitors so far, as well as a richer program. A tamburitza festival was included in the event, contributing to the authentic Banat experience.
Every year, since 1982, 6 to 8 world-renowned sculptors are invited to Kikinda, to the premises of an old production plant of the Toza Marković brick factory, to take part at the international symposium of sculpture "Terra". The symposium takes place throughout the month of July. Over the years, "Terra" has hosted sculptors from all corners of the world who are drawn by the unique and peaceful ambience of the studio. All sculptures are done in terracotta and some have appeared at the Venice Biennale. Over 300 sculptors have so far participated at the symposium and together have produced more than 500 sculptures. The "Terra" museum was opened on 5 December 2017. A building of the old riding hall (manjež), built in 1871, was converted into a museum by sculptor Slobodan Kojić. When built, manjež served for the horse training of the Austro-Hungarian army and was the second largest such facility in the empire, after the one in Vienna. The exhibits, works of over 300 artists from all over the world since 1982, belong both to large and gallery format sculptures. The "Terra" exhibition is the largest collection of large size terracotta sculptures in the world and the first new museum of the contemporary art in Serbia since 1967. Previously proposed locations were within the brickyard complex, old brickyard II and old drier, but the adaptation of manjež began in 2012. There are over 1,000 sculptures in the exhibition space of 2,100 m2 (23,000 sq ft). Previously, the collection was shown in Venice, Paris, Ljubljana and Belgrade. Several sculptures are permanently exhibited in the parks of Kikinda and Belgrade, while 5 monumental ones were donated to Venice after the 1999 Venice Biennale.
- Nove Kikindske Novine, weekly newspaper. Printed in Serbian, using the Cyrillic alphabet, with a supplement in Hungarian.
- Kikindske, weekly independent newspaper. Printed in Serbian, using the Latin alphabet, with a supplement in Hungarian.
- TV stations
- TV VK, independent TV station, ceased broadcasting in November 2016.
- TV Rubin, TV station favoring the local government.
- Radio stations
- VK Radio (frequency: 98.3 MHz), independent regional radio station, ceased broadcasting in November 2016.
- Radio Kikinda (frequency: 93.3 МHz, ceased broadcasting in January 2016.), state-owned local station, which broadcast programs in both Serbian and Hungarian
- Radio Ami (frequency: 89.7 МHz), local commercial pop music radio station
- Miroslav Mika Antić, poet
- Radivoj Berbakov, painter
- Albert Bogen (Albert Bógathy; 1882–1961), Kikinda-born Austrian Olympic silver medalist saber fencer
- Predrag Bubalo, politician, former Government minister
- Dajana Butulija, professional basketball player, Olympic bronze medalist and European champion
- Vesna Čipčić, actress, was raised and schooled in Kikinda
- Jovan Ćirilov, dramaturge, poet, writer
- Dimitrije Injac, professional football player
- Đura Jakšić, poet and painter, lived in Kikinda for some time
- Mladen Krstajić, former football player of football club Partizan Berlgrade
- Peđa Krstin, professional tennis player
- Maja Latinović, supermodel
- Jovan Popović, poet
- Srđan Srdić, writer
- Srđan V. Tešin, writer and journalist
- Dušan Vasiljev, poet
- Goran Živkov, politician
Twin towns – sister citiesEdit
In 2003, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Mission to Serbia awarded the Municipality of Kikinda the Municipal Award for Tolerance.
Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).
|Climate data for Kikinda (1981–2010, extremes 1961–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||17.1
|Average high °C (°F)||3.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−0.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−3.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−29.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||34.3
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||12||11||11||11||12||12||9||9||10||9||11||14||130|
|Average snowy days||6||6||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||6||23|
|Average relative humidity (%)||86||80||71||66||64||66||64||65||71||75||82||87||73|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||67.8||103.2||154.2||198.3||256.9||275.6||309.3||285.9||207.6||165.7||94.5||58.5||2,177.6|
|Source: Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia|
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