Paths of Virovitica

Virovitica is a city with a long history, situated on important traffic routes where the pitureseque Bilogora turns into fertile Pannonian valley and where Slavonia hugs Podravina. Educational trail “Paths of Virovitica” will take you to the city locations through Museum’s collections by personalizing them with people, places and stories offering former romantic view at our Virovitica…


A single-storey corner house located at today´s Department store. It was built by a merchant family Bing at the end of 19th century together with business and residental area. Initially that was the location of a shop with sewing machines Singer and in the second half of the 20th century there was a Shoemakers Cooperative.


Skating Association announced to respected citizens that the skating rink was opened
on 10th January 1904. The skating rink was arranged in the northern and western part of the moat around the Castle. If the flag was displayed at the skating entrance, it meant that the skating rink is opened for citizens. Few photos of skaters are saved on glass plate negatives of doctor Hugo Schubert from the year 1904.


On 27th March 1748 at the session of the County Council in Osijek the decision was brought which allows Franciscans from Virovitica to open a pharmacy of public interest. Until 1815 it was governed by pharmacists and feldshers Franciscans brothers. The first pharmacist was friar Bonifacio Gerber. It was located on the ground floor of the residence. Monastery provisors governed the pharmacy until 1878 when it was passed into the hands of Ivan Kapistran Besz. It stopped working in 1950.


Charity Hospital Association has been providing healthcare for sick, abandoned and frail people at their own house since 1841. General, public hospital was opened in 1902. There were 57 beds and there worked one doctor, five nuns, an institute servant and a journeyman. The second wing was built in 1903; a special building of an infectious department, a morgue and a mortuary cold room. On the ground floor of the hospital was an office for the receipt of patients, department of surgery, an operating theater with sinks, a room for monitoring mental patients and on the first floor were internal, trachoma, tuberculosis and venereal department.


In the mid-20th century Virovitica promenade represented the area for taking walks from the building of a Financial Agency to the beginning of Rusan Street. People followed the direction of movement; in one direction upwards and in the other one, downwards. Families, friends, young people took walks accompanied with a popular “chatting up“. People talked about life, fashion trends, the newest events in the world and the town, how it used to be…


Traditional local architecture of Virovitica originated from centuries-long construction of homes made of natural materials – wood and straw. Low bungalows with facades oriented towards the street, usually with only few rooms (most frequently three) and a long, covered hall for a long period were the basis of the architectural heritage of the city. Historical sources keep the data about Virovitica, at the end of 19th century, when there were 395 houses covered with a thatched roof and 292 with roofing tiles. The last house with a thatched roof vanished in fire in 1980s of the 20th century and it was built in 1836.


The Association was established on 5th October 1880. The person who was the most meritorious for the establishment of the Association was Đuro Žakić, a teacher from Virovitica, a longtime choirmaster and the first president, doctor Josip Matić. The most famous choirmaster, from 1890 to 1919 was Jan Vlašimsky. Famous Croatian composer, Jakov Gotovac, two times composed commemorative songs on the occasion of Rodoljub´s anniversary: in 1955 “The Eagle´s flight” and in 1980 “My chirping song”. Rodoljub is not only the symbol of Virovitica´s past but it represents the present, the guardian of tradition.


In a historical tale “Love is stronger than the sword” written by Ivan Dobravec Plevnik, from the age of Ottoman Era in Slavonia, the author described a romantic story about the love between a Muslim woman, Ljeposava, and a Christian man, Stanko Ilić, a hero from Virovitica. Stanko entered into an Ottoman fortress, burnt it down and in that way liberated Virovitica from the Ottomans. Stanko Ilić: “I love Croatia and my forefathers´ religion and that love is stronger than the sword. ”


From the sawmill Drach Jsc., founded in 1913, and after 1945, gradually developed TVIN. At the beginning of the 1960s of the 20th century, DIP Virovitica produced functional, decorative and quality office furniture for the domestic and foreign market. In 1966 Bernardo Bernardi initiated the cooperation with a Wooden-industrial company TVIN and at the end of 1970s of the 20th century started the cooperation with IKEA. Even today, the main activity of the factory TVIN Ltd. is the production of furniture.


Dark tobacco types have been grown in the area of Slavonia from the 16th century. In 1958 in the area of Virovitica has begun the farming of a light type called Virginia. Trial production commenced in 1954. A tobacco company called Viržinija was established in the autumn of 1957. Individual agricultural production was the base of a tobacco production and the engine of the development of a village. In 2003, Viržinija Jsc. became a part of a Croatian Tobacco. Today it is a part of a British American Tobacco.


Since 1836, in Croatia and Slavonia, sugar has been produced from the sugar beet in an industrial way. Sugar factory from Virovitica has been operating from 1846. Prince Adolf of Schaumburg-Lippe, the owner of Virovitica manorial estate, built a sugar factory at the wilderness Antunovac. It was equipped with a steam engine of 16 HP and in 1852, 25 000 cents of sugar beet was processed in it. Construction of the factory started in 1976 and it was put into trial production in 1980 with a daily processing capacity of 4. 000 tones of sugar beet. Viro started operations on September 5th, 2002 under the name VIRO sugar factory.


In 1883 prominent citizens from Virovitica founded an Association for promoting music which started operating music chapels that consisted of brass and string instruments. Music School was established at the same year for the purpose of educating musicians of the Association. Today, the Brass Band Virovitica accompanies all important cultural and social events in the town. The first performance with the Band, Vlašimsky organized for the audience of Virovitica on the New Year´s Eve in 1886 with mixed, string orchestra that consisted of 14 musicians.


“I am a Slavonian man, called Mikeš, a native resident of Virov’tica. I am Mikeš from the region where Podravina and Slavonia kiss each other. I am that Mikeš who gained a charter in 1234 from the Duke Koloman and magna villa Wereucha, in other words, my Virov’tica became a liberated town. I am that Mikeš who watered Bela IV in 1242 with mead, wrote the Golden Bull, sharpened geese feather, prepared gold and ink so that the king could have signed it by the mercy of God and in that way Zagreb became a future capital city of all Croats…” Tomislav Terzić


She is often called the first lady of Croatian Avant-garde, a woman from Virovitica, Edita Schubert, left a significant contribution to modern art. Her works of art are exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb, and a promenade in Virovitica, that stretches from the building of the Financial Agency to the border of the park of the Franciscan monastery, is named after her. At the facade of the building there are nine fields painted with motifs of paintings made by Edita Schubert, balconies with loggias are coloured with a light grey colour that the author used in her works, and at the gable walls “false” doors are painted, a true replica of her piece of art.


The monument was built in 1892 and it shows that Virovitica was a commercial centre at that time. In the past, Virovitica was a famous commercial centre due to trade fairs. That is affirmed by the statue of a Roman god of commerce, Mercury, at the facade of the building. The first monetary fund in the city, Virovitica Savings Bank j. s. c was established in 1872 as the help for victims from Virovitica that were hurt in the great fire in 1871. Nowdays, Financial Agency is situated in that building.


Due to 16 bridges across the stream Ođenica, Virovitica was often called “Little Venice”. The most beautiful Virovitica bridge was situated in front of the Church of St. Roch. Located close to the Municipality building and Secession Plevnik House, par excellance joined a harmoniuos ensemble of the Square: the church, the pharmacy and the Palace Pejačević. The most beautiful part of the bridge was a monument, a sculpture of St. John of Nepomuk, famous as the patron saint of bridges.


The groundlevel corner house that closes up the eastern side of King Tomislav Square was built in 1960s of the 19th century for the purpose of the manorial inn “Zur Lipppische Rose” (“At Lippe´s Rose”). It was used as the venue for meetings and manifestations of different associations from Virovitica. There used to be Čeled´s Bar, Lazić Hotel and in the mid 1948 hotel “Slavonia” and that is why many citizens of Virovitica call that building “the old hotel”.


The bridge in Marin Street, nowdays Preradović Street, formerly the only one-way street in Virovitica, that leads towards Virovitica town cemetery. It was made of concrete in 1930s of the 20th century. It is a place of love and a meeting point for young people.


Lower Music School was founded in 1883 for the purpose of educating musicians of the Association for promoting music. It was one of the oldest music schools in this part of Croatia. In 1886 was launched a tender for the new kapellmeister of the Association and a fiddle teacher. Jan Vlašimsky from the Czech Republic was chosen among 42 candidates. From 1886 to 1936 that tireless musician, kapellmeister and a music teacher had been present within the cultural-musical life of the city. In 1992 the School was named after him. Today, the School organizes preschool, primary and secondary music school programme.


The first cinema shows that were presented by the operators of travelling cinemas, citizens of Virovitica watched at the beginning of the 20th century. The permanent cinematograph in the city was opened by Josip Zimmermann in 1915 under the name “Danica”. Zimmermann was the illustrator of the magazine “Cinema Review” with titles from all around the world. In second half of the 20th century, movie theater “Zvijezda” opened on location where Caffe Bar Melon is today.


The first theatrical performance in Virovitica was played on 3rd February 1900 when actors from Virovitica played a comedy called “Servants musicians” at the Inn Grčić, along with the tamburitza band “Sloga”. The theatre has been operating since 1945 when the theatrical company of that time played “Kijavica” written by Nušić, directed by Aleksandar Bjelousov. During more than 70 years of work, theatrical companies have played more than 400 premieres and presented more than 10 000 plays. Every year, Virovitica Theatre organizes traditional Virovitica Theatrical Meetings called “VIRKAS”.


The wells in yards often stood at the boundary line between neighbours so they were used by two, or even sometimes three households. Many of them were common, in streets. These street wells have an interesting word of mouth on their maintenance. Regarding the importance of those street wells from which water was taken in case of fire, local householders from the specific street, took care of them. One of the householders had the duty of a president. If the well needed to be cleaned or fixed, he would send a special stick with a message “Tomorrow, on Sunday, at 4 p.m., there will be a meeting on purchasing a new bucket or a reparation of the feeding trough”. When the last user of the well brought the stick back to the president, he was assured that the announcement came up to every user of the well because the rotation of the stick was not silent.


Founded in 1953 as the native museum of a complex type for the city and the county of Virovitica. The material is collected by purchase, donations, collecting and research so the expert work resulted in a new, permanent exhibition of the Museum called “The Wooden Age”. The permanent exhibition is arranged in the loft of a central dome, in four rooms and it was opened in 1976. In 1984 the eastern wing of the first floor of the Castle was decorated and the second part of the permanent exhibition was opened owing to the selected archeological material, cultural-historical exhibition and the donation of Branislav Glumac. The Ethnographic Collection was set in 1942 and the permanent exhibition of the Homeland War was set in 2013. Today, the museum collections consist of 5000 objects which are assembled in the Archeological, Ethnological, Art and Cultural-historical Department of the Museum.


In the middle of the 19th century the work of the Library was recorded within the Charity Association. In 1874 a reading association called “ Kasino” was established by the commitment of a teacher Stjepan Basariček. The association promoted educational, cultural, musical and entertainment life in the city. During the first half of the 20th century there were only several libraries which operated in Croatia. The Library attracts visitors and members with different multimedia contents, exhibitions, promotions, lectures…


The Society has preserved and propagated the tradition of the folk dance and songs since 1988 when the initiative for the establishment of a Society of folk dance called “PIK Virovitica” was launched. Since then, the Society primarily cherishes the heritage of Virovitica region but it also includes other Croatian regions. There are around 40 active members who represent traditional dances, customs and national costumes in different choreographies. They are proud to have been organizers of a Christmas concert called “The Evening of folk dance, songs and customs” for 25 years when they host other amicable societies.


In 1234 Slavonian Duke Koloman issued a charter based on which Virovitica (magna villa Wereucha) gained a status of a privileged market town and a fully admitted medieval city. Today, 1234 represents a logotype of the City of Virovitica. In 1242 King Bela IV in Virovitica issued the Golden Bull by which the City of Zagreb gained the status of a free royal city.


An iconic club and a former popular spot of young people from Virovitica and the surrounding area. Numerous gatherings and unforgettable concerts in the Omladinac/Vanadis have marked the youth of citizens of Virovitica in the 1970s of the last century and the first decade of this century. The band from Virovitica, Vatra, has actually started their career in Vanadis.


Once a year, Volunteer Fire Department Virovitica used to organise a Firemen´s Ball for their members and other citizens. They were well prepared, with a various entertainment programme (different social games, raffle, wide selection of food and drinks) along with an obligatory music and dance, Firemen´s Ball were long-remembered. They were the place where first loves were born, business cooperations were concluded, housewives exchanged recipes. Craftsmen from Virovitica prepared parties along with obligatory food and drink that was brought in baskets or a bundle. Thus, that kind of a party is called a “pinkl bal”.

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