Last modified: 2008-07-05 by dov gutterman
Keywords: osijek | baranja | osjecko-baranjska | zupanija | croatia | tower | bridge | marten | star | six-pointed | anchor | cross | baranya |
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image by eljko Heimer, 16 January 2005
Osjecko-baranjska zupanija - in north-eastern part of
Croatia, capital Osijek, and includes a wide region around it,
together with Baranja, the part of Croatia north of Drava river.
The flag is white with two blue bars (a bar gemmata?) with the golden bordered Coat of Arms in the middle: trierced per fess: azure, on argent bar a tower on a bridge, in chief over an argent bar trierced per pale: gules a cross or, gules a mullet or, gules an anchor or; in base gules a marten passant proper.
The tower on the bridge is taken from the arms of the city of Osijek, the seat of administration of the County. Running marten is the symbol of Slavonia, Osijek baing its main city, and the anchor is surely refering to rivers Drava and Danube that are navigable throughout the County.
I don't know the references of the cross and star, unles they are general christian symbol and star from Slavonian Coat of Arms (this last is quite possible). One would suspect that there should be some reference to Baranja (or Baranya, if you like) in the arms, but I don't know if there are any.
The flag is in use for a (relatively) long time, and it is probably one of the oldest modern county flags of Croatia (adopted 1994?). The flags seems to be used without the arms too (and indeed that was the reason why I posted it without the coat of arms previously), but I don't know the status of such flag. Possibly it is a kind of civil flag, or rather a flag to be used in lass "solemn" occasions.
eljko Heimer, 17 October 1997
Recently I found the new site of the Osijek-Baranja County
containing an exhaustive report on the flag and Coat of Arms and
also the texts of the legal decisions.
I improved the image of the flag a bit, based on the Coat of Arms image there. The width of the stripes remains undefined (legal prescriptions nor the presentation does not mention that, the image there seems to be, to put it mildly, based on my image at FAME [or pssibly from Janko Ehrlich's site, that is also based partially on my image, IIRC]). So, the only improvement are some details in the Coat of Arms, most obvious being the colour of the "silver" elements. They seems to remain silver on the flag too (though the belly of the marten in base is white, but also such on the Coat of Arms).
The important pages of the sute are:
<www.osjecko-baranjska-zupanija.hr> - homepage.
<www.osjecko-baranjska-zupanija.hr/hr/web/1.htm> - County Statute (that defines the flag) - Croatian only.
<www.osjecko-baranjska-zupanija.hr/hr/web/10.htm> - Decision on flag usage - Croatian only.
<www.osjecko-baranjska-zupanija.hr/eng/opcipodaci1.htm> - Presentation of the Flag and Coat of Arms as follows:
"The Osijek-Baranja County has a coat of arms and a flag
of its own. They have been stipulated in the Statute promulgated
by the County Assembly on April 15, 1994. Pursuant to the
regulations, the Ministry of Administration of the Republic of
Croatia authorized them in its Decision of July 7, 1995.
Flag of the Osijek-Baranja County - The Statute of the Osijek-Baranja County stipulates the following: "The County flag shall be tinctured argent and azure. On the field argent, two bars azure shall be charged longitudinally. The County coat of arms shall be placed as an inescutcheon vertically with regard to its width, entering into both bars azure. The flag width and length shall be at a ratio of 1:2." In the Resolution on Approbation of the Osijek-Baranja County Flag and Coat of Arms, the flag is blazoned in the following manner: "a flag at a ratio of 1:2 with two alternate bars argent and azure placed horizontally and divided by a narrow bar argent, having the County coat of arms as an inescutcheon."
The flag of the Osijek-Baranja County does not have a historical vexillological paragon of its own. Therefore, the symbolism of two parallel bars azure should be searched for already in the Drava and the Danube River deltas emblazoned on the coat of arms."
The legal texts on the site are "editorial updated text" of several legal acts, so they do not include prescriptions regarding the date of effectivness of the acts, nor their earlier readings. Therefore they do not allow exact dating nor following of the development of the flag and the coat of arms design.
From the presentation, the flag and Coat of Arms were adopted on 15 April 1994, and approved by the Ministry of Administration on 7th July 1995.
I believe that an earlier temporary county statute might have had some additional legal prescriptions rgarding teh flag and Coat of Arms.The "Zupanijski glasnik" (County official gazette) of 2/90, 1/93, 2/94 are mentioned regarding this. (How did they have county statute in 1990, when the county is established in 1993 only!?)?
eljko Heimer, 12 August 2000
Some time ago Jan Oskar Engene pointed me toward the on-lne
issue in PDF format of a booklet [bru03]
of the Osijek-Baranja County dealing with the county symbols. See
The book deals with hsitory of the emblems, their symbolic, the
legal acts and construction details. Most of the text is
available in English too (see at the end, all except the legal
documents and construction sheets).
eljko Heimer, 8 January 2005
According to the publication that Jan Oskar located, the flag
is in ratio 1:2 with the stripes as 4:5:2:5:2. The coat of arms
in set in the middle, half the flag width high. The Pantone
shades are given for the Coat of Arms: Blue 2915C Red 186C Black
Process Black C Golden 872 C Silver 877 C. To this is added the
blue of the flag stripes: Dark Blue 289 C.
I could mention that the ceremonial flag is also prescribed. Unlike the other ceremonial gonfalons usual in Croatia, here the ceremonial flag is prescribed to be equal to the normal flag, but with the golden fring around the three edges.
eljko Heimer, 16 January 2005
image by eljko Heimer, 16 January 2005
Coat of Arms of the Osijek-Baranja County - The County Statute stipulates and blazons the County coat of arms: "The County coat of arms shall assume the form of an oval shield, heart-shaped in base, whose height with regard to its width shall be at a ratio of 3:2. On the escutcheon gules, between two bars argent (rivers), on the fess azure there shall be a bridge of three arches conjoined to a tower embattled, all argent. In the dexter chief, there shall be a cross, in the center chief a mullet of six points, and in the sinister chief an anchor, all or. In the center base, a weasel courant or shall be charged. The escutcheon fimbriation shall be or."
When opting for the symbols comprising the elements of the coat of arms, the County and other expert bodies taking part in decision making were guided by the cognition that the identity of the territory of the Osijek-Baranja County has to be represented by the symbols that have made it recognizable both in historical memories and in modern reality. They have opted for a historical and heraldic tradition that refers to the deduction about a millennial presence of Croatian man in this region (the weasel), about his European affiliation (the bridge as a junction of European traffic routes), but that also speaks of natural conditions for that presence (permanent urban settlements on traffic routes--the bridge and the tower) as well as of the functions this region performs in state organization (defense--the tower). Therefrom, the bearings on the coat of arms shape physical and historical characteristics of the territory of the County that make it recognizable.
In addition to the basic meanings of the symbols incorporated, heraldic rules enable their closer explanation. The Osijek-Baranja County is in the center of the escutcheon between the Danube and the Drava Rivers (the conjoined bridge, standing for Osijek, and the stylized tower, standing for Baranja, speak of the unity of the County), leaning on Croatia and Slavonia, a part whereof it is (the weasel). The County is surmounted by spiritual values, the faith (cross) and the hope (anchor), that support the battle for independence (the star of Mars). In accordance with a stemmatographic explanation, the or escutcheon, American star, cross, anchor and weasel fimbriation, especially a dexter position of the last that potentiates positive characteristics of the charge, designates a prosperous period of Slavonia and Baranja and of the County, the argent tincture of the main charge (the towered bridge) designates an honest heart, purity, and fidelity, the gules tincture of the escutcheon designates power and intrepidity of the State, while the azure designates the prudence, glory, and excellent reputation of the County. In this blazonry, a historical and heraldic basis is provided by the following:
The bridge: Bridges have always connected people, being the symbols of communication and integration. They surmount the rivers as well as the obstacles between people. Many settlements, likewise those in the Osijek-Baranja County, were established at fords. Particularly emphasized is the significance of the Drava River crossing near Osijek and passableness of its hinterland in broader spatial relations. The crossings were favorable to the development of overland routes, especially to the great transversal one leading from the Central Danube Basin to the European south. In a narrower sense, the bridge connects into an entirety two parts of the Osijek-Baranja County (Baranja with Slavonia). Exactly for this reason, bridges have surmounted the Drava in this region in all periods of history, from the Roman Era, via the world-famous Suleiman's bridge (burnt by Nikola ?ubi? Zrinjski), to the present one, which perished in the winds of war but was reconstructed larger and more beautiful than ever. The bridge is also an inseparable part of the heraldic heritage of this region, being a component of the achievement of the City of Osijek that has made the city recognizable. Thus, in a design-related perspective, this symbol has a historical backing of its own in the historical coat of arms of the City of Osijek as the seat of the present Osijek-Baranja County, which incorporates the name of the city in its proper name. In this region, the bridge has become an emblem of historical and modern European traffic routes that connect the north of Europe with its south, simultaneously connoting the European affiliation of the region as well. The symbolism of the bridge is completed by its integrative importance for the Slavonian and for the Baranja portion of the County.
The tower: The history of this region is marked by an early colonization and establishment of urban settlements. Fortified burgs, citadels, and castles of prestigious nobility decorated its landscapes for a long time. Additionally, its history implies its defensive function as a border region of mutually successive states, from the invasion of barbaric tribes at the Roman limes, Turkish inroads at the time of expulsion of the Ottoman Empire (and the time of the Military Frontier), up to nowadays, ascribing thereto a connotation of a bulwark for defense of independence and sovereignty of the Croatian state. The tower is also a part of the heraldic heritage of the region as a component of the old Hungarian Baranya County coat of arms (dating back to 1694) and that of the City of Osijek (late in the 17th c.), whose important strategic position was defended by fortifications in all periods. Within the coat of arms, the tower is a symbol of urbanity (of a fortified town) as well as a symbol of defensive function (fortification). In a design-related perspective, the tower on the Osijek-Baranja County coat of arms has a historical backing of its own in the Baranya County achievement. Namely, observing historically, the Baranja region encompassed by the present Osijek-Baranja County was united with the Ugric Kingdom's Baranya County up to 1918. Therefore, the Osijek-Baranja County coat of arms has also incorporated the heraldic heritage of that region, whose name comprises a component of the present County's appellation.
The rivers: From prehistoric times, rivers have been people's natural habitats and places of establishment of their settlements. This natural meaning of rivers has been specially pronounced in the Osijek-Baranja County. Important fluvial waterway arteries are connected with the Danube by means of the confluence of the Drava, thus setting up its natural framework but also its circulatory system. A fluvial hub, one of the most important ones located in the large Danubian navigation system, is situated in this territory, being comprised of the navigable Drava and Danube Rivers as dominant elements of a geographic basis of the northern part of Eastern Croatian plains. Geographically, rivers model landscapes, so they are frequent parts of heraldic achievements. The Sava and the Drava Rivers have framed Slavonia, thus becoming constituent parts of Slavonian coat of arms, and the Drava is a part of the historical coat of arms of the City of Osijek. Since the Drava and the Danube shape this area and make it naturally recognizable in a geographic sense, they are too an inseparable part of identity hallmark of the Osijek-Baranja County.
The weasel: In accordance with the studies of Croatia's armorial history presented so far, the weasel-bearing escutcheon is the oldest known Croatian coat of arms, used by Croatian rulers. This characteristic of a national token of the Croatian state has been confirmed also in a series of historical events up to the new appellation of the legal tender of the Republic of Croatia, so that it is presently again a symbol of Croatian statehood. The weasel is a charge on the historical coat of arms of Slavonia, whereto the territory of the Osijek-Baranja County belongs as well. Thus, it constructed a backbone for the achievement of the Virovitica County, seated in Osijek since the 18 c. This patent of arms was issued to the County at the moment of Slavonia's annexation to the territory under the rule of Croatian viceroys (the Banat of Croatia). The importance of the weasel as a Croatian national symbol and its special connotation as a Slavonian emblem make this bearing an inseparable part of County's blazon.
The cross: The cross is a heraldic symbol of faith. Up to the present time, the Christian faith has had a paramount importance for the formation and preservation of the public-law territory wherein the County extends today. Additionally, the city of ?akovo, as a part of today's Osijek-Baranja County, is the seat of the Bosnian bishop since the 13th c., and thence of the ?akovo-Sirmium Diocese as well. The faith has been a mainstay, consolidation, and impetus to survival even in hard times. Consequently, the cross on the County's coat of arms symbolizes exactly that faith and affiliation with the Christian civilization.
The anchor: The anchor is traditionally a heraldic symbol of loyalty, fidelity, and hope. On the escutcheon of the Osijek-Baranja County, it has an additional meaning--a determination to stay (and return) in the territory that represents the roots to its population. The anchor on the County coat of arms has its historical backing in the blazon of the Virovitica County.
The mullet: The six-point star of Mars is an essential part of Slavonia's coat of arms since 1496, when it was confirmed in a charter granted by King Wladyslav II Jagiello. In his work Stemmatographia, Pavao Ritter Vitezovi? explained (in 1701) its significance as a symbol of the region that "has received an award of eternal glory through an uninterrupted warfare." On the County coat of arms, the mullet retains the same meaning-it is a symbol of a centennial struggle for survival and independence.
eljko Heimer, 12 August 2000
Geographically, it goes for the same traditional region, which
was afterr WW I divided between Croatia (soon to merge into
Yugoslavian Kingdom) and Hungary. Baranya is
Hungarian spelling , while Baranja is Croatian spelling. There are actually counties in both countries using that name - Baranya Megye in Hungary, and Osjecko-baranjska zupanija in Croatia (to use their local names).
eljko Heimer 22 September 1999