Užice – centre of the Zlatibor District

  • District: Zlatibor
  • Municipality: Užice
  • Post code: 31000
  • Area code: ( +381) 31
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UŽICE TROUGH HISTORY

Taking into account the material remains; the area of Užice was inhabited since pre – historical times. The findings of Neolithic period have been found in large number of localities ( cave Megara in southern part of Stapari village, Potpećka Pećina in the village of Potpeć ) .

At the end of XII century Užice and its suburbs joined Nemanja’s Medieval Feudal State, which is proved by the charter from Studenica Monastery issued in the year of 1196. The first significant mentioning of Užice was found in the document from Dubrovnik Archive, dated 9th October 1329. By the mid XIV century the wider part of Užice was under the reign of Vojislav Vojinović, and after his death, the sovereignty was taken by Nikola Altomanović. By broadening his territory and power, he endangered Dubrovnik, Governor of Bosnian Banovina, Tvrtko and the Prince Duke Lazar. By joined forces Prince Duke Lazar and Bosnian Tvrtko seized Nikola Altomanović in 1373 and made him blind. Since that day Užice Region had become part of the country of Lazar the Prince Duke. After the decline of Serbian Despotic State it was conquered by the Turks. In XVI century Užice was the headquarters of Nahi and Qadi, and during XVII century it has become significant cultural and craftsmen center.
 
During Austro – Turkish Wars, by the end of XVII and XVIII centuries, the city has become an important military base, and during the times of The First Serbian Uprising the very important military and strategic place. Serbian uprisings liberated the city of Užice in 1805, and soon after that in 1807 the fort was liberated. Užice has become very important uprising center. After the defeat of The First Serbian Uprising in 1813, it fell into Turkish hands again. Užice was finally liberated in 1862.

According to the first preserved statistics on population after the Turkish emigration, there were 3163 citizens in Užice. By approval of Urban Plan in 1871, its intensive development started. The town was economically empowered, the crafts and commerce flourished, the guilds were founded.

On the 3rd of May in 1899, the King Aleksandar Obrenović placed the first cornerstone for the water plant on Đetinja River. The city got electrification on 2nd of August 1900, and in May of 1901 the Wavering Workshop started with its experimental work. Developing industry and merchandise, made positive conditions for the foundation of the first banks: Citizen bank ( 1884 ), Commercial Bank ( 1908 ) and Cooperative Credit Bank of Užice ( 1911 ). Telegraph was installed in 1860, and the first telephone in 1904.

Patriotic, cultural and sport associations were founded by the end of XIX and the beginning of XX century: Home Reserve, Cavalry Association ” Knez Mihailo ” , Archery Club ” Napredak ” , Choral Group ” Zlatiborska Vila ” , Gym Club ” Dušan Silni ” and many others. After the end of Balkan wars and the First World War, the industry and production were soon restored in Užice. The Industry for Hide Processing in Vrela was founded, railcars workshop, and finally, in the year 1928 the arms factory by Jakov Pošinger from Slovenia was moved to Užice ( today it is ” Prvi Partizan ” – Ammunition Factory ) The old banks were renewed, and some of the new were founded: Bank of Commerce, Market Bank of Užice and Užice Regional Bank. The railways and roads network developed: railways Užice – Vardište, road Užice – Kraljeve Vode on Zlatibor, road Užice – Kadinjača – Bajina Bašta.

During the period of the Second World War 1941 – 1945, Užice was the center of significant historical moments ( Republic of Užice ). After the Second World War, Užice slowly developed and has become a great commercial and cultural center of Western Serbia. There are Primary Schools, High Schools and Teacher’s College, National Theatre, National Museum, Historical Archives, City Gallery and National Library.

 

THE OLD TOWN

The Old Town - todayThe remains of the Old Town lie on the rocky cliff, which separates the river bed of the Đetinja at the place where it flows out of the gorge into the tame valley .The fortification was built on a high cliff, rather difficult of access, which is surrounded by the river Đetinja on all three sides. To the west, south and east steep cliffs, up to 50 m high, as well as strong natural ramparts, descend to the river The town was possible to approach only from the north, from the ridge towards the adjoining elevation, but even there the vertical slopes defended the entrance to the highest part of the elevation, making it impregnable. The road, linking Bosnia to Serbia, could be monitored and defended from the fortress. Over the centuries, the position of the town caused admiration among the travellers and unexpected guests passing by its ramparts.

The first reliable sources about the fortress of Užice date back to the middle of the 14th century. Then it was the property of the feudal family Vojinović, and from 1366. to 1373. it belonged to Nikola Altomanović. Ahistorian from Dubrovnik Mavro Obrini mentions Užice in his description of the events about the conflict of the prince Lazar and king Tvrtko with Nikola Altomanović, who was captured, imprisoned and made blind in the fortress on that occasion, in the summer of 1373.

The geographic position and its strategic influence affected the look of the fortress. In its upper part it had a semi – circular tower, in the middle part objects for hosting the military regiments, equipment and food supplies, and in the lower, the so called Watery tower it was linked to the river. Several times the fortress was destroyed and fortified anew. Significan enlargements and fortifications were made in 1478, then during the Austrian – Turkish wars in 1688. and in the period from 1737 – 1839. Finally, during the First Serbian Insurrection and soon after the Second Serbian insurrection, from 1813 – 1819. At last, being the military object, it was made useless and ruined in January 1863, at the time of driving the Turks out of Užice.

Owing to the archeological explorations, partial reconstruction and conservation work by the Heritage Authority from Kraljevo and the National Museum from Užice lasting from 1973 – 1984, a century long erosion and disappearance of the Old Town was stopped.

 

ST. MARKO’S CHURCH

St. Marko' c churchThe old church in Užice is situated in the town centre , in the part of the town known as Carina . The church was mentioned for the first time in the third decade of the 18th century as a small church – wattle house, built in the style of wooden churches and located in the Serbian part of the town .. feliks Kanic mentions Marko’s church in Užice which is said to have been built in 1928, in the ” bondruk ” style, with steep and high roof, covered with shingles, with a small wooden tower on the west side. A wooden bell – tower, 22 m, high, was built next to the church. By its harmonious forms and beauty it is unique in Serbia. 

The church contains precious icons and numerous valuables and relics, including the parts of the old iconostasis, the work of the iconographer Simeon Lazarević. The icons were made in 1851, probably by Dimitrije Posniković. The church contains a collection of engravings made from the 17th to 19th century, as well as the works of applied art and those made by Užice coppersmiths.

 

ST. GEORGE’S CHURCH

St. George' s Church,insideAt the initiative of well – off merchants and distinguished citizens of Užice , the main church , dedicated to St.
George was built from 1842 – 1844.lt is situated in the town centre, not far from the Grammar school. The iconostasis and the frescoes were made between 1851. and 1856. by the painters Dimitrije Posniković and Milija Marković.

The church used to have three bell – towers of which two have been preserved. One of the preserved towers was a gift of prince Alexander Karađorđević to the town. The missing bell is the one taken by the Austrians in World War I. In 1859. the first public clock was placed on the church tower.

 

JOKANOVIĆA KUĆA ( THE JOKANOVIĆS’ HOUSE )

The Jokanovics HouseJokanovića Kuća was the property of the one of the richest merchant families of Užice in the second half of XIX century – the Jokanovics family. It is also known under the name ” peccara ” (The Jokanovics family traded, besides other things, with wine and brandy and owned a couple of inns in Užice). This house is one of the rare representative houses from XIX century, not only in Užice but wider as well. Due to its emphasized ethnography characteristics, the building has been declared a national cultural heritage.

Jokanovića Kuća is in the very center of the town, next to the City Art gallery. There is a museum exhibition of ambient character under the title: ” City House in Užice in the XIX and the beginning of XX century ” . Within this exhibition it is able to be seen the total transformation of Užice from the oriental settlement ” sheher ” into the Serbian small town.

The exhibition consists of three ambient parts ( three interiors ):  the first one, so – called ” Oriental Room ” where you can see the way citizen of Užice lived in XIX century. ” Maiden’ s – City Room ” shows the beginning of the new ” Serbian ” time, when after the liberation against the Turks,  Serbian craftsmen and merchants needed more comfortable things and flats, European suits, jewelry etc.

The saloon of the town house from the end of XIX and the beginning of XX century depicts time when in Užice started distinctive separation of rich class people, the merchants, who wanted to show their wealth by living under luxurious conditions.

 

THE TOWN GALLERY

The Town Gallery of UžiceThe town gallery of Užice was founded in 1990.

The activities of the gallery are displaying the works of modern and contemporary Yugoslav art, as well as organising the exhibitions of foreign authors. The gallery covers the exhibition space of 185 ml, with modern illumination and display equipment.
The activities of the gallery include a very important international even – The International graphic Biennial ” Dry point ” , of which the gallery is an initiator, founder and organiser. Within the Krakov graphic Triennial it has been classified among the 22 prestigious events in the world and it is represented at the exhibition of Intergraph within the Triennial. So far 6 Biennials have taken place. At the international graphic Biennial ” Dry point ” artists from 34 countries of the world have taken part, so far.
More than 150 exhibitions have been held in the City gallery in the last 14 years. All fields of fine arts have been included in the programme.

 

THE TOWN SQUARE

The Town SquarePartisan square takes the central place in the town. The architectural solution of the town square as a unique and exceptional scenic area fits perfectly into the need of the citizens to have the place of the most diverse – cultural, amusement and political gatherings.

Starting with the Theatre and the Library on the front, the square, by its full width, descends by means of several levels towards the main street and extends to the hotel ” Zlatibor ” .
Scenic performances takes place on the square, but it is also a favourite place of get – togethers of all generations.

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