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Osijek

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Osijek

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Osijek[1] is a city in Eastern Croatia. It is an important transport hub and the principal city of Slavonia.

Understand[edit]

Tvrđa in Osijek, Croatia
Osijek Archeological Museum

Osijek is the largest city and the economic and the cultural centre of the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia, as well as the administrative center of Osijek-Baranja county. Due to its important location near the junction of the Drava and Danube rivers, this large and once prosperous town (the fourth largest city in Croatia with a current population of around 101,000) bore much of the brunt of the conflict in the 1990s. Many fine buildings have been restored to their former glory, though do not be surprised to see some scars still remaining as some buildings still have bullet holes or shrapnel markings in them.

Get in[edit]

Osijek is the major rail and road hub for all forms of transport in eastern Croatia.

By rail[edit]

Rail services to Osijek terminate at the 1880s railway building at the bottom edge of the centre of town. In addition to the numerous train services that operate each day to Zagreb, there are services to a number of other cities such as Koprivnica and Rijeka, as well as local services within Slavonia to towns like Slavonski Brod and Đakovo. You can access information about train schedules and tickets through the website for Croatian Railways [2].

By bus[edit]

Osijek's new and modern bus station is around the corner from the train station and offers international as well as domestic services. Some of the many destinations on offer include Zagreb, Split, Vukovar, Đakovo, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Pecs and Tuzla. Timetables, tickets and other information are easily accessible online. Bus companies Panturist[3], Polet, APP, Croatiatrans and many other smaller companies are daily connecting the city with all parts of the country.

By plane[edit]

During the summer months, there are flights with Croatia Airlines [4] from the Adriatic coast cities of Split and Dubrovnik to Osijek Airport [5] (located some distance from the city). This can be very useful to save back-tracking through Zagreb once again, or the very mountainous and windy journey through Bosnia. Buses and taxis connect the airport with the city center and hotels. There is also a secondary airport, used exclusively for sport and private flying purposes (Sport Airport Čepin). It is also used for exhibitions. When Pope John Paul II visited Croatia, this was the place where the service was held. The annual car-show is also held at this airport.

There is now also international service by Ryanair,which started servicing flights to London Gatwick. Connections between Osijek and Munich as well as Frankfurt are planned for 2015.

By road[edit]

A few highways pass nearby to Osijek including A3, which connects Zagreb to Belgrade (Beograd), and the pan-European corridor Vc from Budapest through to Sarajevo.

Highway A5 or Slavonika connects Osijek to A3.


Get around[edit]

Osijek is divided into two main regions - the upper town (focusing on the city square, Trg Ante Starcevic), and Tvrđa, the preserved fortress town to the east of the town centre along the Drava River. The whole city has 12 districts/blocks: Upper Town, Lower Town, Fortress, New Town, South 1, South 2, Green Field, Retfala, New Retfala, Industrial District, Tvrdjavica and The Left Coast.

Osijek has a tram system dating back to 1884, and the three main lines connect the railway station, town square, Tvrđa, industrial district, all city borders (tickets can be bought from the driver, or you can purchase a BUTRA-universal bus/tram card for unlimited riding). The network is currently being completely overhauled and more than doubled in length, and the city's old trams are being modernized. Local buses fill the gaps where the trams do not run and are quite frequent. A map of the local transport system can be found on the Tourist Board's website. You can also experience the ride with the oldest tram in Europe, which has been renovated for sightseeing tours. Buses are riding cca every 10-15 minutes in the city area, and every 20-25 minutes those which are connecting the settlements around the city (Tenja, Sarvas, Visnjevac, Josipovac, Cepin, Vladislavci, Bilje, Darda, Bizovac, Nemetin, Bijelo Brdo).

There are numerous bicycling routes all around the city, such as Donji grad-Bilje, Jug II.-Industrijska četvrt, and so on.

Taxis are serving the line within the main railway station/airport to the city center.

Otherwise, it is fairly straightforward and well-designed city to traverse by foot with few hills.

See[edit][add listing]

Europska Avenija/Europe Avenue has many beautiful, though some decaying seccessionist buildings
Palace of the Slavonian General Command

Tvrđa is the self-contained 18th-century Hapsburg defensive fortress just east of the city centre and a must-see on a trip to Osijek. Aside for the demolition of most of its outer walls in the 1920s (save those facing the river, known as "Water Gate"), this preserved baroque military compound has changed little since first being built. On the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites[6], construction began in 1712, on the design of Maximillian de Gosseau, to fortify the city against further occupation by the Ottomans (who had captured the city from the Habsburgs in 1526 and ruled until defeated at the Battle of Battle of Mohács in 1687). Tvrđa contains a number of museums (including the Museum of Slavonia and Museum of Archeology), the Palace of Slavonian General Command (now home to the University of Osijek), as well as restaurants, bars and cafes--making it a good night-life destination. Located here as well is the Church of St. Michael, the second biggest church in the city, built in high-baroque and royal style off of models from Vienna and Budapest. The priest lives right next door and will proudly take you inside the church and explain everything about the history, architectural style, and other interesting facts. On the square in front of the church can also be seen traces from where a Muslim mosque had been built during the brief Ottoman occupation. The Municipal Park of Petar Krešimir IV and Tomislav Park date back to the beginning of the 20th century and offer a nice transition from the city to Tvrđa, or vice versa. Down the street from the parks, Europska Avenija is known for its row of magnificent secession style buildings, some restored more than others. Just behind the City and University Library of Osijek (located at the corner of Europska and Ulica Vjekoslava Hengla) is Kino Urania, another great example of secessionist architecture. Built in 1912, Croatian-Jewish architect Viktor Axmann received a prestigious prize at the 1st International Cinema Exhibition in Vienna for its design.

From Europska Avenija, you can make your way to the upper town, where you will find the Co-Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. The tallest church in Croatia and has a spire of 90m, it was done on the initiative of Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer in the late 1880s. The interior is a treasure trove of neo-Gothic ornamentation, with a succession of pinnacled altars overlooked by exuberant stained glass windows. The interior was finished off in 1938–1942 when leading Croatian painter Mirko Rački covered the walls and ceilings with brightly coloured frescoes illustrating famous episodes from the Old and New Testaments. The internal stonework was done by renowned Austrian sculptor Hauser, while the pipe organ constructed by the Walcher firm of Linz, Austria. Classical and religious music concerts are often held here. Around the corner you will find the Croatian National Theatre(Zupanijska Ulica), a beautiful building designed in 1886 and severely damaged in the recent conflict. A painstaking restoration has restored it to its former glory, though shortly afterwards a McDonald's restaurant opened up on the ground floor. Shows, concerts and opera are performed weekly. Directly across lies the City Area Administration Palace as well as the tourism board's office.

Pejacevic Manor is an 18th-century neoclassical building located on the edge of the Upper Town and the entrance to Retfala district. One of a number of castles owned by the Pejačević Family (the nicest of which is in nearby Našice), it was built after Maria Theresa gifted the lands in 1750. Part of the castle is owned by Little Sisters of St. Mary (the other, renovated portion, to a clinic), and they will be delighted to show you around. Do not be afraid of the dog in the yard, which is a pet of the nuns. There are around 10 sisters in the convent, with a few candidates. Pass by on your way to Baranja.

Do[edit][add listing]

The Antique Market takes place the first Saturday of each month
  • Established in 1877 and housed in its current location in Tvrđa since 1946 (the 18th-century former City Magistrate building, constructed in 1702 for the purposes of the Vienna Chamber, town government and police), the Museum of Slavonia contains a wonderful collection[7] of textiles, books, furniture, pottery and other artifacts dating back to the Roman times--the most prized of which are the Roman Mursa and numismatic. The Museum regularly holds workshops and events as well as special exhibitions[8]. Come to learn more about the history and traditions of the region.
  • The Museum of Archeology, established in 2007 to house the archeological treasures of the region, can also be found in the restored City Guardhouse and adjacent Brožan House[9] in Tvrđa. It features artifacts from the various tribes that have lived in the city including the Celts and Romans. Opt for the joint ticket, which includes admission to the Museum of Slavonia, Archaeological Museum and the Gallery of Fine Arts.
  • Visit the Antiques Market, which takes place the first Saturday of every month in Tvrđa and features sellers from across Slavonia and as far as Austria and Hungary.
  • Visit the Franciscan monastery of St. Cross, situated in Tvrđa. Franciscan monks will be delighted to show you the beautiful church, with interior decorated in high baroque style. They can also take you to see the rich monastery library. Franciscans are very, very polite and they will help you if you have any questions, not only about the monastery, also about the city.
  • Located on Europska Avenija and recently restored, the Gallery of Fine Arts, Osijek[10] houses an important collection of Slavonian artwork--paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and medals from the 18th century to the present. The gallery also hosts Individual exhibitions and retrospectives including the Slavonian Biennale, The Memorial of Ivo Kerdić – the Triennial of Croatian Medals and Small Sculptures, and the annual Days of Graphic Arts. After a tour of the collection, have a coffee at the museum's outdoor cafe.
  • Take a walk along Promenada, which is a promenade located along the banks of the Drava River. There are a number of bars and cafes, including that of Hotel Osijek (4 star hotel) and Restoran Kompa (named after the old-school ferry that brings passengers to the Zoo across the river), as well as river boat restaurants such as Galija and El Paso.
  • Looking for something sweet? Slastičarnica Petar Pan[11] has been the go to place for ice cream and other desserts since the late '80s and more importantly, still serves ice cream that way. Truly a retro experience in the most fun way possible. Who doesn't like their ice cream decorated with waffle cones to make hats and mouse ears?
  • Cycle on any number of bike routes originating in Osijek. For example, explore the beauty of the region's golden fields and green forests by biking to the village Bilje (cca 10km from Osijek and close to Kopački Rit nature reserve). Here you can pick up the international routes "Pannonian Peace Route" and "Danube Route," which lead through Kopački Rit. NB! Pay attention to "Mine field" signs, and do not go into the forests on your own.
  • Catch a play, ballet, or opera at the Croatian National Theatre[12]; The Children's theatre Branko Mihaljević[13] offer performances and puppet shows, as well.
  • Visit Osijek Zoo Sjevernodravska obala 1, ☎ +385 31 285234 (info@zoo-osijek.hr, fax: +385 31 214784), [11]. Open from 9 am - 5 pm, it is the largest zoo park in Croatia.

Pannonian Challenge
The biggest extreme sport & music festival in the region, Pannonian Challenge attracts international competitors and spectators to Osijek each August.[14]

  • Festivals are held throughout the year in the city:
    *Festival of Tamburitza music[15] - Traditional Slavonian music festival that occurs each May
    *Summer Nights of Osijek - feature music, drama, performance and exhibition programs throughout the summer. Fairs are also held the last weekends of June, July, and August, at which you can buy traditional crafts and food.
    *UFO - Urban Fest Osijek[16] - Rock music festival within the walls of Tvrđa, the old fortress of the city each June.
    *Autumn in Tvrđa- Wine is king during Slavonian autumns, thus this festival features a wine growing fair along with food and traditional music concerts (specifically, tamburitza).
    *Osijek Beer Festival - happens for four days in late-September each year.
    *Days of Miroslav Krleža - a theatre and literary festival featuring lectures and discussions, followed by drama performances at the Croatian National Theatre held every December.
  • If you would like to see some excellent folk dance shows, there are two very good folk ensembles that hold concerts not only around the city and country, but travel the world. HKUD "Osijek 1862." and HKUD "Zeljeznicar" are one of the best ensembles in the country.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Handmade ethno souvenirs can be bought in a little shop "Rukotvorine" not far from the Croatian National Theatre. Antiquity shops and souvenirs shops are all around the city
  • There are several traditional instrument shops around the city
  • Traditional table cloths can be found on the city market for a very low and reasonable price
  • Fresh and delicious food can be found on every open-air market place

Eat[edit][add listing]

ćevapi, a popular fast food, at Restoran Kompa
Fish soup (catfish) with homemade egg noodles

With its rich, complex (and spicy!) flavors, Slavonia is renowned across Croatia for some of the best cuisine. As the economic and cultural center of the region, Osijek has many great restaurants--many of which are located in Tvrđa--serving traditional dishes such as fiš paprikas (fish stew with hand-made noodles); kulen (spicy sausages); "čobanac" (stew); "gulaš"; duck, lamb or pork "ispod peke" or "pod pekom," which is cooked under a clay bell-shaped lid; venison; "šnitzl" (schnitzel); and various kinds and preparations of river fish such as catfish, perch, and carp.

  • Kod Ruže [17] - Franje Kuhača 25a, Osijek // Tel. 031 206 066
  • Klub restoran Waldinger[18] - Županijska ulica 8, Osijek // Tel. 031 250 450
  • Gradski Podrum[19] - Županijska ulica 8, Osijek // Tel. 031 212 079
  • Slavonska Kuća [20] - Kamila Firingera 26 // Tel. 031 369 955
  • Lumière Osijek[21] - Setaliste kardinala Franje Sepera 8, Osijek // Tel. 031 201 088
  • Restoran Zimska Luka[22] - Hotel Osijek, Šamačka 4, Osijek // Tel. 031 230 360
  • Restoran Kompa - Splavarska 1, Osijek // Tel. 031 375 755

Čevapčići or ćevapi, though not traditionally Croatian, are a nonetheless very popular fast food option.

  • Makedonka [23], which literally means "Macedonian woman", is the best place for ćevapi in town. - Trg bana Jelačića 7, Osijek // Tel. 031 503-403
  • Leganini, Sv. L.B. Mandića 31, 31000 Osijek, (+385-31) 29 74 99, [24]. Open 08:00-22:00, Sunday: Closed. “Lega” means “pal” in the Osijek dialect. The motto of this “friendly café” is “Try something new,” meaning a sandwich wrap instead of čevapi or pljeskavica. The flat bread is made to order, then wrapped around your choice of meats, sauces and fresh vegetables. Located on the way into town on the route from Đakovo highway, this is a good place for a quick bite if you’re hungry after a long drive. They also deliver.  edit

Other: Croatians typically stop by the local bakery (pekara or pekarna) for quick snacks like burek (a cheese pastry), hrenovke (hot dog or sausage baked in bread), pizza, and other salty snacks.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Logo Osječko

Osijek has the oldest beer brewery in Croatia, Osječko, which was founded in year 1687. They offer:
* Svijetlo Osječko,a pale lager beer (5% alcohol by volume);
* Crno Osječko, a dunkel or dark lager (5% alcohol by volume);
* Osječko Radler Limun, a pale lager beer with lemon; and
* Osječko Black Radler Limun, a dark lager beer with lemon.

Osijek is surrounded by some of the best wines in Croatia, with Slavonia best known for its white, such as graševina, traminac; kapistran; and Rajnski rizling, although the red are very good, as well. Notable wines come from towns of Kutjevo, Ilok, and Erdut.

Be sure to try Croatian brandy, or rakija, which comes in a variety of flavors though that of plums (šljivovica) is king. Other varieties are made from grape (lozovača), quince (dunjevača), pear (vilijamovka or kruškovača) or infused such as cherry (višnjevac), walnut (orahovača) and honey (medovača), to name a few.

Rakija Viljamovka (Croatia)

Notable Bars + Clubs: The center of Croatian social life is at the various kafić (the Croatian equivalent of a cafe), where locals go for both coffee and drinks. You can find one (many!) on every block and will be surprised by how full they are even during the day (a testament to how outgoing and social Croatians are, as well as, unfortunately, the high unemployment rate). Below are a few of the notable and more popular clubs and bars (or kafić):

Tvrđa (the epicenter of nightlife in Osijek)
Old Bridge Pub; Outside Club; EPIC - Alternativni klub; Matrix Bar; Q Club; Patrick Pub; Luna; Tufna; Club Bastion
Upper Town
American Bar Dollar; S.Co.Bar; Kavana Waldiner
  • "Old Bridge Pub" [25] (Ul. Franje Kuhača 4) With Irish pub style interiors, this is a favorite among locals
  • "Outside Club" [26] (Trg Vatroslava Lisinskog) - the newest member of the club scene in Osijek
  • "EPIC - Alternativni klub Osijek" [27] (Trg Vatroslava Lisinskog) - just as it sounds. They also hold live music concerts.
  • "Matrix Bar" [28] (Kuhačeva 15)
  • "Q Club" [29] (Kuhačeva 17)
  • "Patrick Pub" [30] (Kuhačeva 15) - The first Irish pub in Osijek, this one directly on Tvrđa's main square.
  • "Luna Bar" [31] (Kuhačeva 18)
  • "Tufna Club and Hostel" [32] (Kuhačeva 10) - a bar and club, you guessed it, in a hostel in Tvrđa
  • "Club Bastion" [33] (Trg Vatroslava Lisinskog 100)
  • "American Bar Dollar" [34] - they have a great courtyard in the back and serve all kinds of beers from all over Europe as well (of course) from the US. Also a restaurant.
  • "S.Co.Bar" formerly known as Voodoo bar (Sunčana ulica 8) - A popular spot with the alternative crowd.
  • "Kavana Waldinger" (Županijska ulica 8) - Located within the 4 star Waldinger Hotel, if you are looking for a more subdued night, perhaps drinking a glass of wine, this is your place.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Hotel Drava, I.F.Gundulića 25a 31000, Osijek, 031/ 250-500, [35].  edit
  • Hotel Osijek, Šamačka 4, Tel: +385 31 230 333 (Fax: +385 31 230 444, E-mail: info@hotelosijek.hr) [36]. Hotel Osijek has got 140 rooms, and 7 apartments. The hotel is located on the river bank of the Drava river in the center of the city.
  • Hotel Waldinger, Županijska ul. 8, Tel: ++385 (31) 250 450 (Fax: ++385 (31) 250 453, E-mail: info@waldinger.hr) [37].
  • Hotel Central, Trg A. Starčevića 6, Tel: +385 31 283 399 (Fax: +385 31 283 891, E-mail: info@hotel-central-os.hr) [38]. Hotel Central is located at the central square of the city.
  • Zoo Hotel, Tvrđavica, Tel: +385 (0) 31 22 99 22 (Fax: +385 (0) 31 22 99 11, E-mail: zoo-hotel@zoo-hotel.com) [39]. As stated by the name the Zoo Hotel is located at the Osijek Zoo.
  • Hotel Villa Ariston, Kačićeva 6, Tel: +385 31 251-351 (Fax: +385 31 251-350, E-mail: ariston.d.o.o@os.t-com.hr) [40]. Hotel Ariston is located close to the bus and railwaystation.
  • Hotel Villa Sveti Rok, Sv. Roka 13, Tel: +385 31 310 490 (Fax: +385 31 310 499) [41].
  • Hotel Mursa, B. Kačića 2/a, +385 31 207 640.
  • Hotel Millenium, Kralja Petra Svacica 12, +385 31 53 13 30
  • Hotel Silver, Martina Divalta 84, +385 31 58 25 35
  • Guesthouse Maksimilian, Franjevacka 12 - Fortress/Tvrdja, +385 31 497 567, www.maksimilian.hr. Good value for the price.
  • Pansion Regina, "Zupanijska 6, Osijek" - City Centre, Tel. +385 031 202 203 Fax. +385 031 202 030 [42]
  • Youth Hostel Tufna, Franje Kuhača 10/I, [43]
  • Slavonika, postanska26, +385 95 88 44 111, [44]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Rent whole house with many free services: Bikes fly rods computer in every room wi fi internet table-tenis darts solar shower chairs for sun grill (broiler, kettle, spit) parasol large table for a terrace various board games (chess, cards, jumbo, monopoly ...) vegetables (gratis basket ecologically grown vegetables from our greenhouses, in season) (45.587447,18.579038) edit

Get out[edit]

Kopački rit wooden trail
Castle Eltz in Vukovar
  • Osijek is circled by picturesque wine roads (vinska cesta) that feature many well-known and award winning wines. In fact, the vineyards of Baranja[45] and Erdut are the first two vineyard areas to become part of the Vintour – the wine roads of the European Union. Kutjevo[46] and Ilok[47] are also within an hour or so of the city and feature excellent varieties.
  • The Kopački Rit [48] is the biggest natural wetlands in Europe and the birdlife is spectacular. This enormous nature park, located around 15km north of Osijek where the Danube and Drava rivers flow into one another, is a great day out in the countryside - though bring some insect repellent as the mosquitos do bite!! There is no public transport to the park, so take the local bus to Bilje and its a 2-3km walk.
  • The town of Vukovar is less than an hour away and buses leave very regularly (almost every hour, 7 days a week). This town was completely blown up in the recent conflict due to being on the border of Croatia and Serbia and having a mixed-ethnic population, and provides the visitor with a fascinating (if not sobering) view on the war.
  • The town of Ilok is about an hour away and well-known for its wine, food, Castle Ilok, and a beautiful little church. A few of the best restaurants are located in this area as well, including Principovac and the restaurant at Hotel Dunav.
  • Đakovo and its enormous Cathedral are a half-hour to the south of Osijek. Besides the beautiful Cathedral which completely dominates the town, there are Lipizzaner horses being trained just on the edge of the city (a great morning's viewing), and every year in July is the annual folk and embroidery festival which attracts visitors from far and wide.
  • There are natural thermal spas just to the west of Osijek in the town of Bizovac. They provide much better value than spas closer to Zagreb or Varazdin, and see fewer tourists. The spa is easily accessible by train or bus.



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