"Place where I was born" Subotica by frankyboy5
Subotica Travel Guide: 11 reviews and 16 photos
History of Subotica and its surrounding area
Subotica with its surrounding area lies on the adminstrative border but it is a geological borderline as well. The town is situated on an ancient watershed system between the vast sandy area in the north and the dilluvial aeolian plateau or the so-called chernozem in the south. This watershed system joins the two great rivers flowing close to each other, the Danube and the Tisa, in a north-west and north-east direction. The system includes several brooks (Brook Bac also called Krivaja, Brook Cik, and Koros), numerous swamps, mostly drained by now (for example, Rogina, Jasi or the several kilometer long part of lake Palic under the area of Aleksandrovo) and three lakes (Lake Kelebia, Palic and Ludos). In fact, this unique geographical position has always been a key factor determining the history (including its archeological past) and, in many aspects, the development of this town and its surrounding area.
Suboticas name was first mentioned in a 14-century document (1391) issued by the governor of Macso and the lord-lieutenant of Bodrog-county written as Zabadka or Zobodka. Since then this town has been called by over two hundred different names in various documents. The form 'Szabadka' appeared for the first time only in 1679 but a 'Szabatka' variant (spellt with a 't') has been known since 1533. The name Subotica used first appeared in 1653 but it was preceded by a form 'Subotica a decade earlier.
The medieval settlement obtained a country town status (oppidum) in the 15th century first as a royal estate and later as the property of the Hunyadis i.e. the Corvin family. King Mathias gave the town to one of his relatives, Janos Dengelengi Pongrac, a voivod from Transylvania who fearing a Turkish invasion fortified the castle of Subotica (mentioned as castellum in the 16th century).
The battle at Mohacs (1526) put an end to the five hundred-year-old medieval Hungarian kingdom and it also had a long-lasting effect on Subotica s life.
In 1542 Subotica was occupied by the Turks, and Ottoman Turkish garrison troops moved into the fortified castle forcing the majority of the original Hungarian settlers to flee to the upper northern parts of Hungary. During the 150-year-long occupation the wealthiest returned occasionally to their estates to collect tax.
The town was liberated from the Ottoman-Turkish occupation in the second half of 1686. The troops of the Catholic-Christian Alliance led by the Hapsburg monarch Leopold I penetrated deeply into the Balkan peninsula and the fortified castle of Subotica lost its military significance. The castle was partly demolished and partly rebuilt into a Franciscan church and monastery. This marked the coming of a new era and was a great turning point in the history of the town. It was the time when the present-day appearance of Subotica started to be shaped. The inhabitants of the town were the so-called frontier-guards (granicari).
In1743 the town received a licensed country-town status and an administration based on civil organization. The first Magistracy, the predecessor of the present Municipal Assembly or Local Government was founded. Subotica s name was then changed to St. Mary.
Rapidly developing town of St Mary was making great efforts to obtain the status of a free royal town finally granted in 1779. Since Maria Theresa, the Austrian empress and Hungarian queen issued the grant, the town changed its name to Maria Teresienstadt (or Maria Teresienpolis) thus acknowledging queens gratitude and she was also chosen patron of the town.
The free royal town status gave an even greater impetus to development
Palic-bath should be mentioned as one of Central Europe s most well-known health- and sport centers at the end of the last century. It is interesting to note that the development of Palic started during the much despised Bach-era around 1850 when more and more of the wealthier citizens decided to build houses near the shores of the lake whose mud was believed to have healing power.
The real development came with the completion of the Szeged-Subotica railway line in 1869. Following the building of the railway station in 1887 a new settlement called Orbanfalva was beginning to emerge in the north side of the station. With the building of railways and roads the number of Swiss-type villas (with balconies) decorated with secessionist-style ornaments began to increase.
From the 1880s the town s industry started to play an increasingly significant role in the country which included the then well-developed handicraft as well as the large-scale production, still in its infancy. One of the pioneers of large-scale industrial factories was Titusz Macskovivics’s brick-making factory (1878) that provided construction material for the majority of the buildings still standing in Subotica. Hartmans and Conens company for meat export (the predecessor of the meat producing factory "29 Novembar") was opened at the end of the last century as one of the most significant export companies of the Monarchy. Some time later (1904) the Klotild factory (predecessor of todays "Zorka" factory) began with the production of sulphuric - acid and fertilizers.
In the autumn of 1884 Lazar Mamusich (Lazar Mamuzic), a lawyer by profession, was elected mayor of the town. With great enthusiasm he started building schools, hospitals, courts and he ordered the third project of the Town Hall to be made. The idea of the plan was to sell some of the uncultivated sandy areas, owned by the town and use the money to start the enterprise. The sale turned out to be more successful and brought more profit than expected. In a relatively short time the town collected half a million crowns enough to begin the great plan. In the spring of 1906 at Mr Biros proposal the decision about the announcement of the competition for building a new Town Hall was accepted. The competition was officially open from the summer of 1906 to January 1st 1907 under the competence of a supervising committee. Marcell Komors and Dezso Jakab s prize-winning design arrived from Budapest one day before the deadline.
The Town Hall s most attractive place, the Big Council Hall, deserves special attention mainly because of its historical stained-glass windows. Quite surprisingly these enormous masterpieces managed to survive the turbulent periods of the 20th century with only minor damages. Suboticas development was undisturbed till 1910. Despite the euphoric atmosphere in the town at the time of the outbreak of World War I the consequences of the coming war could be felt in the economic field. The same was true for politics. The four-year long world war followed by the civil war (Soviet Republic) and finally the Peace Treaty of Trianon (1920) put a stop to Subotica s development. Being broken away from Hungary and a border town of Yugoslavia ruled by a king meant a significant setback to its development. World War II (1941-44), the so-called Horthy-era, the executions, the holocaust, the bombings and the repeated executions in 1944, only made things worse. The economy was totally destroyed.
The majority of the remaining factories were transferred to the central parts of Yugoslavia - all this contributing to a deep impoverishment of the population. The most painful fact, however, is that almost 7000 citizens from Subotica lost their lives in this turmoil. The 60s marked a new era within the scope of the Socialist Yugoslavia lasting till 1980s. Then the country changed from a single-party to a multi-party system and from then on Subotica has been carrying the burdens of war.
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