HISTORY OF CITY ĐAKOVA
According to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics’ 2011 Census, the Municipality has a population of 27,745 in the following settlements: Budrovci 1,260, Đurđanci 425, Ivanovci Đakovački 580, Kuševac 1,028, Novi Perkovci 246, Piškorevci 1,907, Selci Đakovački 1,796, Široko Polje 1,012, and Đakovo 19,491.
According to the Census, Đakovo is the 19th town by population in Croatia and the 2nd in the Osijek-Baranja County.
The history of Đakovo begins in the 11th century,
but its surrounding area was inhabited in the Neolithic period, approximately 5500 years BC. At the beginning of the 1st century BC, during the period of Emperor Augustus, the Romans conquered Illyria. The crucial battle took place in 9 AD in the marshes surrounding the Vuka River, at the outskirts of the Đakovština area. The Roman settlement Certissia was located not far from today’s Đakovo. Numerous archaeological artefacts are kept in the Museum of Đakovština.
The first written accounts of Đakovo date from 1239 in the gift deed of Croatian Duke Koloman to the Bosnian Bishop Ponsa, which made bishops lords of Đakovo and the Đakovština area. That was the beginning of the history of Đakovo. Đakovo is still the town of bishops – the seat of the Diocese of Đakovo-Syrmia. There are accounts of Đakovo bearing similar names in different periods throughout its history: Dyaco, Diaco, Dyacow, etc.
In 1536 Đakovo was conquered by the Turks, who have reigned over that area for almost 150 years. The town was named Jakova during that period, and had the status of a kaza, i.e. a district. According to the famous Turkish travel writer Evliya Çelebi, Jakova was known for the Pasha’s court and beautiful mosques: Haci Pasha’s, Kaston Pasha’s and Ibrahim Pasha’s. The latter was preserved and converted into the Catholic Church of All Saints.
That was a dark period
in the town’s history. Almost all of the Catholic churches were demolished and mosques were built. The most important of which is Ibrahim Pasha’s which was converted into a Catholic church after the Turks left. In 1690, the bishop returned and the reconstruction of the town began. When the Turks left, a more modest cathedral was built as well as the Bishop’s Palace. That was the second cathedral of the total of three which have been built until today in Đakovo. The aforementioned cathedral was built during the time of Bishop Patačić and Bishop Bakić.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter was built in neo-Gothic and Romanesque style. The construction of the Cathedral began in 1866 when bishop Strossmayer was 52 years old and has been the bishop for 16 years. The construction lasted for 16 years (until 1882): external construction work lasted for 4 and the interior decoration for 12 years. 7,000,000 bricks produced in Đakovo were used in the Cathedral’s construction. The stone used for the construction was brought from Istria, Hungary, Austria, Italy and France. The Cathedral was designed by Viennese architects Karlo Rösner and Fridrich Schmidt. The interior design was carried out by Rome-based German painters, father and son,
Alexander-Maximilian and Ludwig Seitz. The Cathedral has 7 altars and is adorned by 43 frescos, 31 statues and 32 reliefs, an organ with 73 registries, 3 manuals and 5,486 pipes.
The Diocese of Đakovo and its bishops left plenty of evidence of their work in Đakovo, much of which is still evident. In 1706 bishop Patačić restored the Stud Farm. In 1773 Đakovo became the centre of the united Dioceses of Bosnia, Đakovo and Syrmia, which encompass all north-eastern parts of Croatia.
Bishop Antun Mandić established the Theological Seminary, the oldest institution of higher education in Slavonia and Baranja. He undertook major endeavours, especially in viniculture. His name is embedded in the widely known Mandićevci vineyards. In 1849 Josip Juraj Strossmayer was appointed bishop and Đakovo experienced an accelerated rate of development. The bishop’s land property became a farm with considerable income which enabled the bishop to become a patron (The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts), build a new cathedral in Đakovo, and renovate numerous religious and profane buildings.
The history of the Stud Farm in Đakovo began when the Diocese was established and by a gift deed of ten Arab horses and one stallion, even though 1506 is taken as the official year of establishment. According to Bishop Bakić, horse breeding has been carried out at the bishop’s land properties since 1374. Horse breeding is still conducted in the State Stud Farm of Lipizzan horses, which is among the oldest stud farms in Europe, as well as the ever growing number of individual horse breeders. The Stud Farm had been a part of PIK Đakovo for many years, and today it is the State Stud Farm of Lipizzan horses, which conducts breeding and selection.
Đakovo has always been a town of craftspeople. In 1813 the Association of Trades and Crafts (CEH) was established. The industrial development began when mills and brick factories were built, and many craftspeople of different professions contributed with their products to the status of Đakovo as the regional marketplace known throughout the Slavonia region.
The development of Đakovo was inhibited by three wars in the 20th cenuty. The events of the Second World War devastated the town, because battles were fought in the town, the Cathedral was damaged, adding to the damage it suffered in the fire of 1933, which destroyed the organ. The inhabitants of Đakovo chose the independence of Croatia in
the early 1990s and many of them enlisted in the Croatian Army. Almost half a century later, on 15 September 1991 battles were fought in the town again between the Croatian Army and the former Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). After three days of battles, the units of the JNA surrendered to the Croatian soldiers from Đakovo. In addition to the wars, the 20th century in Đakovo was marked by the visits of very imortant people. Cardinal Roncalli, who later became Pope John XXIII (known as the “Good Pope”), visited Đakovo during
the 1930s. In 1972 the English Queen Elisabeth II and her royal entourage visited the State Stud Farm in Đakovo during her official visit to the SFRY. The date 7 June 2003 will be inscribed in golden letters in the history of Đakovo. That was the date Pope John Paul II, the head of the Roman Catholic Curch, visited the Diocese of Đakovo and Syrmia. Pope John Paul II said “I admire the beauty of the Slavonian plain, the breadbasket of Cro
atia.”, while greeting the people with a traditional hat, a gift he received from the Mayor of Đakovo, Mr. Zoran Vinković.
Five years later, another important event took place: on 18 June 2008 the Sacred Father Benedict XVI established the ecclesiastical province Đakovo-Osijek, gav
e the Docese of Đakovo-Osijek the rank of a metropolis and appointed Mo
ns. Marin Srakić the Metropolitan Archbishop of Đakovo-Osijek.
The ideal location of Đakovo – “in the heart of Slavonia” makes the town an attractive destination for vacation.