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Vršac
Вршац
—  Town  —

Coat of arms
Location of Vršac within Serbia
Coordinates: 45°7′N 21°18′E / 45.117°N 21.3°E / 45.117; 21.3
Country Serbia
District South Banat
Settlements 24
Government
 - Mayor Branislava Vukajlovic
Area [1]
 - Municipality 1,324 km2 (511.2 sq mi)
Population (2002 census)[2]
 - Total 40,000
 - Municipality 54,369
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 26300
Area code +381
Car plates
Website www.vrsac.com
Vršac town center
Vršac townhall
Saint Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Vršac
Romanian Orthodox Church.
The Chapel Hill with the new Orthodox church and the old Exaltation of the Holy Cross Catholic Church.
The St. Gerhard Bishop and Martyr Catholic Church
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross Catholic Church by night.

Vršac (Serbian Cyrillic: Вршац, Hungarian: Versec, Versecz, German: Werschetz, Romanian: Vârşeţ, Turkish: Virşac) is a town and municipality located in Serbia. In 2002 the town's total population was 36,623, while Vršac municipality had 54,369 inhabitants. Vršac is located in the Banat region, in the Vojvodina province of Serbia. It is part of the South Banat District.

Contents

Name

The name Vršac is of Serbian origin. It derived from the Slavic word vrh, meaning "summit". [2]

In Serbian, the town is known as Вршац or Vršac, in Romanian as Vârşeţ, in Hungarian as Versec, in German as Werschetz, and in Turkish as Virşac.

History

There are traces of human settlement in this area from paleolithic and neolithic times. Remains from two types of neolithic cultures have been discovered in the area: an older one, known as the Starčevo culture, and a newer one, known as the Vinča culture. From the Bronze Age, there are traces of the Vatin culture and Vršac 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 to 271. In Vršac, archaeologists have found traces of ancient Dacian and Roman settlements. 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 (Bodriči) 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 Hungarian Kingdom, the region was included in the latter state.

Information about the early history of the town is scant, but Serb sources claim that it was inhabited by Serbs,[3] 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, Verbeč, Veršet or Vegenje, but these theories are not confirmed. The name of the town appears for the first time in 1427 in the form Podvršan. [3] The town was at first in the possession of the Hungarian kings,[citation needed] and later became property of a Hungarian aristocrat, Miklós Perényi, ban of Severin. [4] In the 15th century, the town was in the possession of the Serbian despot Đurađ Branković [5] (It was donated to the despot by Hungarian king Sigismund in 1411).

The Ottomans destroyed the town in the 16th century, but it was soon rebuilt. In 1590/91, the Ottoman garrison in Vršac 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, Romanians and Serbs.[citation needed]

In 1594, the Serbs in the Banat started large uprising against Ottoman rule, and Vršac region was centre of this uprising. The leader of the uprising was Teodor Nestorović, the bishop of Vršac. The size of this uprising is illustrated by the verse from one Serbian national song: "Sva se butum zemlja pobunila, Šest stotina podiglo se sela, Svak na cara pušku 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-paša 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-paša 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 Nestorović, 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 Karađorđe.

In 1716, Vršac passed from Ottoman to Habsburg control, and the Muslim population fled the town. In this time, Vršac 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 new settlement known as Werschetz, which was located near old (Serbian) Vršac. Serbian Vršac was governed by knez, and German Werschetz was governed by schultheis (mayor). Name of the first Serbian knez in Vršac in 1717 was Jovan Crni. In 1795, two towns, Serbian Vršac 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 Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat, a separate Austrian province. After the abolition of the voivodship, Vršac was included in Temes county in the Kingdom of Hungary, one of two autonomous parts of Austria-Hungary. 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, and 3,890 spoke Hungarian.[6] The Romanian-speaking population was not counted.[citation needed]

From 1918, the town was part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later renamed Yugoslavia). During the Axis occupation (1941-1944) many Danube Swabians were forced into collaboration with the Nazi authorities and many men were conscripted into the Waffen SS. After 1944 Vršac citizens of German ethnicity were sent to local communist concentration camps, and often tortured or killed by Tito's communist partisans. This genocide is seldom heard of and in fact Tito and his men are often celebrated both inside and outside Yugoslavia. Since 1944 when it was "liberated" by the Red Army's 46th Army, the town was part of the new Socialist Yugoslavia, and the German majority was ethnically cleansed.

Industry

Vršac is a town famous for well-developed industry, especially pharmaceuticals, wine and beer, confectioneries and textiles. The leading pharmaceutical company in Vršac (and nationwide) is the Hemofarm Group, which helped start the town's Technology Park.

Agriculture

Vršac 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 city itself together with 22 surrounding communities has some 56,000 residents, whose lives are closely connected with agriculture.

Romanian community

The city's Romanian minority have a Romanian-language theater, schools and a museum. Romanian-language instruction takes place at a kindergarten, an elementary school, a high school and a teachers' university. The cultural organization and folklore group "Pentru Albu" hold many cultural events in Vršac and nearby Romanian-populated villages.[4][5] In 2005, Romania opened a consulate in Vršac.[6]

Historical population of the town

  • 1838: 18,481
  • 1857: 19,087
  • 1869: 21,095
  • 1880: 22,329
  • 1890: 21,859
  • 1900: 24,770
  • 1910: 26,941
  • 1921: 27,011
  • 1931: 29,411
  • 1948: 23,038
  • 1953: 26,110
  • 1961: 31,620
  • 1971: 34,256
  • 1981: 37,513
  • 1991: 36,885
  • 2002: 36,623

Inhabited places

Map of Vršac municipality

Vršac municipality includes the city of Vršac 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.

Demographics (2002 census)

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Ethnic groups in the municipality

The population of the Vršac municipality (54,369 people) is composed of the following ethnic groups:[7]

Some Romanian organizations from Serbia claim that the above official results from the Serbian Statistical Office underestimate the number of Romanians.[8]

Settlements by ethnic majority

Within the municipality, the settlements with a Serb ethnic majority are: Vršac (the city itself), Vatin, Veliko Središte, Vlajkovac, Vršački Ritovi, Gudurica, Zagajica, Izbište, Pavliš, Parta, Potporanj, and Uljma. The settlements with a Romanian ethnic majority are: Vojvodinci, Jablanka, Kuštilj, Mali Žam, Malo Središte, Markovac, Mesić, Ritiševo, Sočica, and Straža. Šušara has a Hungarian ethnic majority, while Orešac is an ethnically mixed settlement with a Romanian plurality.

Tourist destinations

Vinik winery in Vršac

The Millennium sport center, built in 2002, is located in Vršac. The region around Vršac is famed for its vineyards.

Vršac Tower

The symbol of the town is the Vršac Tower (Vršačka kula), which dates back to the mid 15th century. It stands at the top of the hill (399m) overlooking Vršac.

Vrsac tower pictured from a nearby hill

The tower is a remain of the medieval Vršac fortress. There are two theories about origin of this fortress. According to the Turkish traveler, Evliya Çelebi, the fortress was built by the Serbian despot Đurađ Branković. The historians consider that Branković built the fortress after the fall of Smederevo in 1439. [7] 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 Vršac Tower is a remain of the medieval fortress known as Erdesumulu (Hungarian: Érdsomlyó or Érsomlyó, Serbian: Erd-Šomljo / Ерд-Шомљо or Šomljo / Шомљо). However, the other sources do not identify Erdesumulu with Vršac, but claim that these two were separate settlements and that location of town and fortress of Erdesumulu was further to the east, on the Karaš River, in present-day Romanian Banat.

Monasteries

There are two Serbian Orthodox monasteries in the Vršac municipality: Mesić monastery from the 15th century and Središte monastery, which is currently under construction.

Winery

One of interesting places to visit in Vršac is the family winery, Vinik, which produces the Vržole Red, Vržole White and Bermetto wine.

Famous residents

See also the related Category:People from Vršac.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Vršac is twinned with:

References

  1. Dušan Belča, Mala istorija Vršca, Vršac, 1997.
  2. Dr. Dušan J. Popović, Srbi u Vojvodini, knjige 1-3, Novi Sad, 1990.
  3. Slobodan Ćurčić, Broj stanovnika Vojvodine, Novi Sad, 1996.
  4. Györffy György, Az Árpád-kori Magyarország történeti földrajza, 1987 (third edition). (Geographia historica Hungariae tempore stripis Arpadianae.)

Notes

  1. ^ "Municipalities of Serbia, 2006". Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. http://webrzs.statserb.sr.gov.yu/axd/Zip/OG2006webE.zip. 
  2. ^ (in Serbian) Popis stanovništva, domaćinstava i Stanova 2002. Knjiga 1: Nacionalna ili etnička pripadnost po naseljima. Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. 2003. ISBN 86-84443-00-09. 
  3. ^ Dušan Belča, Mala istorija Vršca, Vršac, 1997.
  4. ^ 1ROMANII%20DIN%20BANATUL%20SARBESC.doc "Românii din Banatul Sârbesc"
  5. ^ Comunitatea Românilor din Serbia
  6. ^ (Romanian) Anca Alexe, "Consulat Nou" ("New Consulate"), Jurnalul Naţional, 22 January 2005
  7. ^ Final Results of the Census 2002, Republic of Serbia Republic Statistical Office
  8. ^ Dhttp://www.romanii.ro/romanii_de_langa_noi/
  9. ^ [1]

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Contents

Vršac (in Serbian Вршац) is relatively small town in Serbia, 84 kilometers from Belgrade. It is located in eastern part of Vojvodina, close to border with Romania. City has around 50000 residents.

  • By car E-70 road (will be highway in the close future) connects Belgrade and Vršac. The road is in very good conditions due to reparation made because of European basketball championship in 2005.
  • By bus There are many buses going from both Novi Sad and Belgrade, but they are inappropriate expensive (for such a small distance), but still the best option. Ticket from Novi Sad costs more than 900RSD and it's only 140 kilometers distance.
  • By train There is only one train per day from Belgrade, the one that further continues to Bucharest in Romania.

Although Vršac is just 12 kilometers from Romanian border, connections are rather poor.

Get around

Town is very small and very compact, easily covered by foot, but reaching for example Vršac Tower can be time-wasting, good solution may be taking taxi which is very affordable.

  • The Millennium sport center, built in 2002, is located in Vršac. European championship in basketball 2005 was played in this beautiful hall.
  • Vršac Tower (Vršačka kula) is the symbol of the town and dates back to the mid 15th century. The tower is a remain of the medieval Vršac fortress. It stands at the top of the hill (399m) overlooking Vršac. From that place you can see whole city and, when weather is nice, a lot more.
  • There are two Serbian Orthodox monasteries in the Vršac municipality: Mesić monastery from the 15th century and Središte monastery, which is currently under construction.
  • Wineries is must-see, the region around Vršac is famed for its vineyards.

Do

Stroll around pedestrianized city center without rush, like typical local. For breath-taking view on the whole area, go to the hill where Vršac Tower is.

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