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Osijek - the largest town of Eastern Croatia - is a great political, cultural and educational centre. It is situated on the right bank of the Drava river, 20 km from its entry into the Danube. In Roman times, Osijek was a significant strategic stronghold. The Osijek Fortress and the series of buildings surrounding the main square are one of the most valuable baroque urban wholes in Croatia, and the Upper Town abounds with buildings dating back to Historicism and Secession. Osijek is a tourist centre of the attractive Baranya region (the triangle between the Hungarian border, Drava and the Danube) with Beli Manastir and the famous Kopacki Rit marsh. What makes Osijek today is of recent days. Until 1786, the major and the oldest parts, Tvrđa, the Upper and the Lower Town developed as independent communes. Osijek was the administrative centre of Slavonia. It's Statute was granted at the end of the 17th century, and since then the town government was developed in the same way like in other Central European towns.

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When, in 1779, a new wooden bridge was built across the Drava, connecting Osijek by road to Bilje, it was a new line of communication linking the region to the rest of Europe. This gave a new impact to the development of Osijek which started its sudden growth with the Upper Town as the new administrative and business centre. In 1884, a tram line was built, connecting the Upper and the Lower Town via Tvrđa. New broad avenues were laid out in the new centre, with handsome monumental buildings, displaying all style features of the time. This is especially true of the main street, the Europe Avenue, built at the beginning of the 20th century. On the south side of the street there is a number of detached public buildings, from the Chamber of Commerce, to the Law Courts and the Post Office. Across the road are beautiful family idences, with marked features of historicism and Secession. It should be noted that most of these buildings were designed by local architects, educated in Vienna, Budapest and Germany, who gave a Central

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European impact to their town. New parts of the town were built between the two world wars, when pronounced functional elements of Osijek architecture were deployed to the full. Architecture provides just a fine frame for everyday life. The everyday life in Osijek reveals a high urban conscience of its inhabitants, shown, both now and in the past, in minute details - shops, restaurants, cafes, parks, the behaviour of its people and their needs. Osijek citizens have a reputation of being cheerful and open-minded, never obtrusive or too loud, always helpful and good-natured. The events from the latest war have shown that this is true, but there is another thing - a pride in their city. Truly, Osijek citizens are proud of their city, but they are never frivolous. The city centre is the best place where the spirit of its citizens is revealed.

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