A city and port on the right bank of the Drava
river, 25 km upstream of its confluence into the Danube in eastern
Slavonia; elevation 94 m; population 104,761. Economic, traffic
and cultural centre of Slavonia. Osijek consists of Gornji Grad
(Upper Town), Tvrda, Donji Grad (Lower Town) and Novi Grad (New
Town) (19th c.), as well as of Retfala. Major institutions in the
city are: the University (established in 1975), the Croatian National
Theatre, the Museum of Slavonia (established in 1877), the printing
house from 1735, the gymnasium (grammar school) from 1729, the drawing
school (19th c.), the Zoological Garden, the Centre for the Promotion
of Livestock Breeding, the Institute for Sugar Beet Farming, etc.
Osijek is a powerful industrial centre: matches factory (established
in 1856), foodstuffs (mills, sugar processing plant, brewery), chemical
(Saponia), textile, wood and timber, metal-processing (agricultural
machinery) industries; production of footwear, synthetic material,
metal furniture, silk, brushes; printing industry. Economy is based
on farming (grains, industrial plants), livestock breeding and fishing.
The railway junction and intersection of Podravina and Posavina
traffic communications with the connections to Bosnia and Herzegovina
and Hungary. International river port (since 1975) and airport.
The largest city in eastern Croatia Osijek had
the town statues towards the end of the 17th century. Since then,
its administration has been developing according to the standards
of all developed central European cities. The cultural life was
mainly related to the theatres first the appearances of various
theatre ensembles, the museums (the first museum was opened in 1877
by private donations), collections and printing houses (the Franciscans),
and the social life, whose development was accompanied by prosperous
economy and developed trade relations, was related to religious
festivities, public events (fairs), entertainment and sports. The
development of tourism was facilitated by the notable cultural and
historical heritage (the Baroque-style Tvrda, one of the most attractive
structures of the entire Slavonia), and the geographical location
of the town on the Drava river.
The river port on the Drava, especially the winter
port (Zimska Luka) with a number of boats, renders a special atmosphere
to the largest town of Slavonia. The most important sights in the
city include the main square, Trg Ante Starcevica, Trg sv. Roka,
the promenade along the Drava ("promenada"), the suspension
pedestrian bridge toward Baranja; the Municipal Park of King Petar
Kresimir IV and the King Tomislav Park both from the beginning of
the 20th century, are protected as horticultural monuments. One
of the few Croatian zoological gardens is located in Osijek, along
the Drava river.
Numerous events take place in the city throughout
the year. The most important of them are the Croatian Tambura Music
Festival (in May), attended by tambura orchestras from the entire
Croatia, the Osijek Summer Nights (during June, July and August)
a series of cultural and entertainment programs in the open, accompanied
by excellent food and fairs. The Day of the City of Osijek is celebrated
with a cultural and artistic program and thematic exhibitions.
The recreational and sports centre Copacabana,
located on the left bank of the Drava river, provides opportunities
for various water sports (outdoor swimming pools, a sand beach with
various facilities) during the summer months. The city offers various
playgrounds: football, handball, basketball, tennis courts, etc.
The surroundings of Osijek provide excellent opportunities
for hunting and angling on the Drava river and its backwaters. Hunting
in the area known as Kopacki Rit (in Baranja) is famous beyond the
Croatian borders. The exquisite gastronomic offer includes traditional
Slavonia-style specialities (kulen, paprika-flavoured sausage, other
kinds of sausages, ham, bacon, dairy products, etc.), venison and
fish dishes (the famous fish paprika stew), making Osijek a kind
of gastronomic metropolis of Croatia. The Osijek beer (Eseker) and
Baranja wines are offered in restaurants in the town and its surroundings.