|City of Vr?ac|
Location of Vr?ac within Serbia
|City status||March 2016|
|o Mayor||Dragana Mitrovi? (SNS)|
|Area rank||4th in Serbia|
|o Area||1,324 km2 (511 sq mi)|
|Elevation||93 m (305 ft)|
|o Rank||30th in Serbia|
|Demonym(s)||Vrani, Vranka (sr)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
Vr?ac (Serbian Cyrillic: , pronounced [?rat?s]) is a city and the administrative center of the South Banat District in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. As of 2011, the city urban area has a population of 35,701, while the city administrative area has 52,026 inhabitants. It is located in the geographical region of Banat.
There are traces of human settlement from the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods. Remains from two types of Neolithic cultures have been discovered in the area: an older one, known as the Star?evo culture, and a more recent one, known as the Vin?a culture. From the Bronze Age, there are traces of the Vatin culture and Vr?ac culture, while from the Iron Age, there are traces of the Hallstatt culture and La Tène culture (which is largely associated with the Celts).
The Agathyrsi (people of mixed Scythian-Thracian origin) are the first people known to have lived in this region. Later, the region was inhabited by Getae and Dacians. It belonged to the Dacian kingdoms of Burebista and Decebalus, and then to the Roman Empire from 102-271AD. Archaeologists have found traces of ancient Dacian and Roman settlements in the city. Later, the region belonged to the Empire of the Huns, the Gepid and Avar kingdoms, and the Bulgarian Empire.
The Slavs settled in this region in the 6th century, and the Slavic tribe known as the Abodrites (Bodri?i) was recorded as living in the area. The Slavs from the region were Christianized during the rule of the duke Ahtum in the 11th century. When duke Ahtum was defeated by the Kingdom of Hungary, the region was included in the latter state.
Information about the early history of the town is scant. According to Serbian historians, medieval Vr?ac was founded and inhabited by Serbs in 1425, although it was under administration of the Kingdom of Hungary. The original name of the town is unknown. There are several theories that its first name was Vers, Verbe?, Ver?et or Vegenje, but these theories are not confirmed. The name of the town appears for the first time in 1427 in the form Podvr?an. [permanent dead link] The Hungarian 12th century chronicle known as Gesta Hungarorum mention the castle of Vrscia in Banat, which belonged to Romanian duke Glad in the 9th century. According to some interpretations, Vrscia is identified with modern Vr?ac, while according to other opinions, it is identified with Or?ova. According to some claims, the town was at first in the possession of the Hungarian kings, and later became property of a Hungarian aristocrat, Miklós Peréyi, ban of Severin. In the 15th century, the town was in the possession of the Serbian despot ?ura? Brankovi?. [permanent dead link] According to some claims, it was donated to the despot by Hungarian king Sigismund in 1411. According to other sources, Vr?ac fortress was built by ?ura? Brankovi? after the fall of Smederevo.
The Ottomans destroyed the town in the 16th century, but it was soon rebuilt under Ottoman administration. In 1590/91, the Ottoman garrison in Vr?ac fortress was composed of one aga, two Ottoman officers and 20 Serb mercenaries. The town was seat of the local Ottoman authorities and of the Serbian bishop. In this time, its population was composed of Muslims and Serbs.
In 1594, the Serbs in the Banat started large uprising against Ottoman rule, and Vr?ac region was centre of this uprising. The leader of the uprising was Teodor Nestorovi?, the bishop of Vr?ac. The size of this uprising is illustrated by the verse from one Serbian national song: "Sva se butum zemlja pobunila, ?est stotina podiglo se sela, Svak na cara pu?ku podigao!" ("The whole land has rebelled, a six hundred villages arose, everybody pointed his gun against the emperor").
The Serb rebels bore flags with the image of Saint Sava, thus the rebellion had a character of a holy war. The Sinan-pa?a that lead the Ottoman army ordered that green flag of Muhammad should be brought from Damascus to confront this flag with image of Saint Sava. Furthermore, the Sinan-pa?a also burned the mortal remains of Saint Sava in Belgrade, as a revenge to the Serbs. Eventually, the uprising was crushed and most of the Serbs from the region escaped to Transylvania fearing the Ottoman retaliation. However, since the Banat region became deserted after this, which alarmed the Ottoman authorities who needed people in this fertile land, the authorities promised to spare everyone who came back. The Serb population came back, but the amnesty did not apply to the leader of the rebellion, Bishop Teodor Nestorovi?, who was flayed as a punishment. The Banat uprising was one of the three largest uprisings in Serbian history and the largest before the First Serbian Uprising led by Kara?or?e.
In 1716, Vr?ac passed from Ottoman to Habsburg control, and the Muslim population fled the town. In this time, Vr?ac was mostly populated by Serbs, and in the beginning of the Habsburg rule, its population numbered 75 houses. Soon, German colonists started to settle here. They founded a new settlement known as Werschetz, which was located near the old (Serbian) Vr?ac. Serbian Vr?ac was governed by a knez, and German Werschetz was governed by a schultheis (mayor). The name of the first Serbian knez in Vr?ac in 1717 was Jovan Crni. In 1795, the two towns, Serbian Vr?ac and German Werschetz, were officially joined into one single settlement, in which the authority was shared between Serbs and Germans. It was occupied by Ottomans between 1787-1788 during Russo-Turkish War (1787-1792).
The 1848/1849 revolution disrupted the good relations between Serbs and Germans, since Serbs fought on the side of the Austrian authorities and Germans fought on the side of the Hungarian revolutionaries. In 1848-1849, the town was part of autonomous Serbian Vojvodina, and from 1849 to 1860, it was part of the Voivodeship of Serbia and Temes Banat, a separate Austrian province. After the abolition of the voivodship, Vr?ac was included in Temes County of the Kingdom of Hungary, which became one of two autonomous parts of Austria-Hungary in 1867. The town was also a district seat. In 1910, the population of the town numbered 27,370 inhabitants, of whom 13,556 spoke German language, 8,602 spoke Serbian, 3,890 spoke Hungarian and 879 spoke Romanian. On the other side, the Diocese of Vr?ac numbered 260.000 Romanians in 1847.
From 1918, the town was part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later renamed Yugoslavia). According to the 1921 census, speakers of German language were most numerous in the town, while the 1931 census recorded 13,425 speakers of Yugoslav languages and 11,926 speakers of German language. During the Axis occupation (1941-1944), Vr?ac was part of autonomous Banat region within the area governed by the Military Administration in Serbia. Many Danube Swabians collaborated with the Nazi authorities and many men were conscripted into the Waffen SS. Letters were sent to German men requesting their "voluntary service" or they would face court martial. In 1944, one part of Vr?ac citizens of German ethnicity left from the city, together with defeated German army. Those who remained in Vr?ac were sent to local communist prison camps, where some of them died from disease and malnutrition. According to some claims, some were tortured or killed by the partisans. Since 1944 when it was liberated by the Red Army's 46th Army, the town was part of the new Socialist Yugoslavia. After prison camps were dissolved (in 1948) and Yugoslav citizenship was returned to the Germans, the remaining German population left Yugoslavia due to being forced out by the Russians. Homes that had been in their families for decades were simply taken over by the Serbs.
Vr?ac was granted city status in February 2016.
The city of Vr?ac includes the settlement of Vr?ac and the following villages:
Note: For the places with Romanian and Hungarian ethnic majorities, the names are also given in the language of the concerned ethnic group.
According to the 2011 census, the total population of the city of Vr?ac was 52,026 inhabitants.
Within the city, the settlements with a Serb ethnic majority are: Vr?ac (the city itself), Vatin, Veliko Sredi?te, Vlajkovac, Vr?a?ki Ritovi, Gudurica, Zagajica, Izbi?te, Pavli?, Parta, Potporanj, and Uljma. The settlements with a Romanian ethnic majority are: Vojvodinci, Jablanka, Ku?tilj, Mali ?am, Malo Sredi?te, Markovac, Mesi?, Riti?evo, So?ica, and Stra?a. ?u?ara has a Hungarian ethnic majority (Székelys colonised from Bukovina during the World War I), while Ore?ac is an ethnically mixed settlement with a Romanian plurality.
Vr?ac is the seat of the Serb Orthodox Eparchy of Banat. Some notable Serb cultural-artistic societies in Vr?ac are "Laza Nan?i?", "Penzioner" and "Grozd". The city's Romanian minority has a Romanian-language theater, schools and a museum. Romanian-language instruction takes place in some kindergartens, elementary schools, high schools and one teachers' university. The cultural organization and folklore group "Luceafarul" hold many cultural events in Vr?ac and nearby Romanian-populated villages. In 2005, Romania opened a consulate in Vr?ac.
The population of the city (52,026 people) is composed of the following ethnic groups (2011 census):
Vr?ac is a city famous for well-developed industry, especially pharmaceuticals, wine and beer, confectioneries and textiles. The leading pharmaceutical company in Vr?ac (and nationwide) is the Hemofarm, which helped start the city's Technology Park.
Vr?ac is considered to be one of the most significant centers of agriculture in the region of southern Banat, which is the southern part of the province of Vojvodina. It is mainly because it has 54,000 hectares of arable and extremely fertile land in its possession.
The following table gives a preview of total number of registered people employed in legal entities per their core activity (as of 2018):
|Agriculture, forestry and fishing||420|
|Mining and quarrying||2|
|Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply||104|
|Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities||267|
|Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles||1,871|
|Transportation and storage||659|
|Accommodation and food services||669|
|Information and communication||194|
|Financial and insurance activities||230|
|Real estate activities||37|
|Professional, scientific and technical activities||472|
|Administrative and support service activities||566|
|Public administration and defense; compulsory social security||712|
|Human health and social work activities||1,449|
|Arts, entertainment and recreation||176|
|Other service activities||181|
|Individual agricultural workers||637|
Railways in the Vr?ac area
The symbol of the town is the Vr?ac Castle (Vr?a?ka kula), which dates back to the mid 15th century. It stands at the top of the hill (399m) overlooking Vr?ac.
There are two theories about origin of this fortress. According to the Turkish traveler, Evliya Çelebi, the fortress was built by the Serbian despot ?ura? Brankovi?. The historians consider that Brankovi? built the fortress after the fall of Smederevo in 1439. [permanent dead link] The fortress in its construction had some architectural elements similar to those in the fortress of Smederevo or in the fortress around monastery Manasija.
The other theory claim that Vr?ac Castle is a remain of the medieval fortress known as Erdesumulu (Hungarian: Érdsomlyó or Érsomlyó, Serbian: Erd-?omljo / - or ?omljo / ). However, the other sources do not identify Erdesumulu with Vr?ac, but claim that these two were separate settlements and that location of town and fortress of Erdesumulu was further to the east, on the Kara? River, in present-day Romanian Banat.
One popular place to visit in Vr?ac is the local family-run winery, Vinik, which produces the Vr?ole Red, Vr?ole White and Bermetto wine.
Vinik winery in Vr?ac
Vr?ac is twinned with: