Osijek is the economic and cultural centre of the eastern Croatia, as well as the administrative centre of Osijek-Baranja County close to three borders, with Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. As the fourth largest city in Croatia with a population of about 110,000 in 2011, Osijek is located on the right bank of the river Drava, 25 kilometres upstream of its confluence with the Danube. The region surrounding Osijek is renowned for warm-hearted people, delicious food and a wealth of outdoor activities.
The history of Osijek is long and full of changes and interruptions. The origins of human habitation of Osijek date back to Neolithic times, with the first known inhabitants belonging to the Illyrian tribes. Roman emperor Hadrian raised the old settlement of Mursa to a colony with special privileges in 131. After their migration, the Croats made a settlement near the ruins of Mursa, giving it its present name, Osijek. The earliest mentions of Osijek date to 1196. The city was under Turkish governance from 1526 to 1687, when became a part of the Habsburg Empire. Between 1712 and 1721, Habsburg authorities built a new fortress, known as Tvrdja. In 1809, Osijek was granted the title of a Free Royal City and during the early 19th century it was the largest city in Croatia. The city developed along the lines of other central European cities, with cultural, architectural and socio-economic influences filtering down from Vienna and Buda.
During the 1991 to 1995 war in Croatia, the city avoided heavy destruction (unlike nearby Vukovar, for example) and sustained moderate damage. While some buildings still have signs of the war, most often from artillery and mortar fire, the city's façades are generally in good shape, due to extensive restoration in recent times, preserving the charm of its intricate Austro-Hungarian Baroque architecture in the older quarters of town.
Osijek remains a popular domestic tourist destination for its Baroque style, open spaces and ample recreational opportunities. The most important sights in the city include the main square, Tvrdja - the 18th century Baroque citadel, the promenade along the Drava ("promenada"). Osijek is also known as the greenest Croatian city, and for good reason. There are 17 parks in the city, full of trees and grass to play and lounge around it. The Municipal Park of King Petar Kresimir IV and the Tomislav Park date from the beginning of the 20th century, and are protected national landmarks.
Eastern part of Croatia has always known how to turn the riches of fields, forests, rivers and pens into a delicious bite and take pride in abundance of good food. We are especially proud of meals prepared according to original recipes, like different kind of stews (lamb, beef, chicken, river fish), as well as stewed vegetables. Special type of smoked sausages (kulen) and homemade smoked ham proudly compete with known world delicacies of such kind.
The folk costume is probably one of the most pronounced distinctiveness of a nation, variety of which is the best illustration of the wealth of national heritage. There are several characteristic types of folk costumes that are predominant in Osijek-Baranja County (golden embroidery).