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Podunavlje (Serbian Cyrillic: ) is the name of the Danube river basin parts located in Serbia (Vojvodina, Belgrade and Eastern Serbia) and Croatia (Slavonia, Syrmia, and Baranja). Podunavlje is located on the southern edge of Pannonian Basin. In its wider meaning, the Serbo-Croatian term refers to the area around the entire flow of the river Danube.[1]

Naming history

In the first half of the 18th century, Sava-Danube (Posavina-Podunavlje) section of the Habsburg Military Frontier existed in the area. Podunavlje segment of the Frontier comprised parts of southern Ba?ka and northern Syrmia including towns of Petrovaradin, ?id, Ba?ka Palanka, Ba?ki Petrovac, Petrovaradinski ?anac (Novi Sad), and Titel.

Between 1922 and 1929, Podunavlje Oblast was one of the administrative units of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. It included parts of ?umadija and Banat regions and its seat was in Smederevo. Between 1929 and 1941, one of the provinces of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was known as the Danube Banovina. The province consisted of the geographical regions of Syrmia, Ba?ka, Banat, Baranja, ?umadija, and Brani?evo. The capital city of the Danube Banovina was Novi Sad. In 1941, the World War II Axis Powers occupied the province. Ba?ka and Baranja regions were attached to Miklós Horthy's Hungary, while Syrmia was attached to the Independent State of Croatia. The remaining rump Danube Banovina (including Banat, ?umadija, and Brani?evo) existed as part of German-occupied Serbia until the end of 1941 with its capital at Smederevo. Today, Smederevo is seat of the Podunavlje District of Serbia.

Between 1980 and 1989, Podunavlje was a name of one of the former seven municipalities of Novi Sad City in Serbia.

Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Syrmia (1991-1998), the eastern portion of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, was sometimes called 'Podunavska Krajina' by Serbs or 'Croatian Podunavlje' by Croats.

Cities and towns in Podunavlje

List of cities and towns located on the river Danube in Podunavlje.

Cities and towns in Serbia:[2]

City / town Status Location Population (2011)
Apatin center of municipality Vojvodina 17,352
Ba?ka Palanka center of municipality Vojvodina 27,924
Beo?in center of municipality Vojvodina 7,800
Futog town Vojvodina 18,269
Veternik suburban settlement Vojvodina 16,895
Novi Sad the capital of
Vojvodina 221,854
Sremska Kamenica town Vojvodina 11,967
Petrovaradin center of municipality Vojvodina 14,298
Sremski Karlovci center of municipality Vojvodina 8,722
(part of Belgrade)
center of municipality Belgrade 151,811
(including Zemun)
the capital of
Belgrade 1,135,502
Pan?evo the center of
South Banat District
Vojvodina 73,992
Smederevo the center of
Podunavlje District
Southern and Eastern Serbia 63,028
Kovin center of municipality Vojvodina 13,499
Kostolac center of municipality Southern and Eastern Serbia 9,264
Veliko Gradi?te center of municipality Southern and Eastern Serbia 5,868
Kladovo center of municipality Southern and Eastern Serbia 8,913

Cities and towns in Croatia:[3]

City / town Status Location Population (2011)
Beli Manastir[4] town Osijek-Baranja County 10,068
Vukovar city, center of
Vukovar-Srijem County
Vukovar-Srijem County 27,683
Ilok town Vukovar-Srijem County 6,767

Municipalities in Podunavlje

List of municipal areas connected to the river Danube in Podunavlje.

Municipalities in Serbia:[5]

Municipalities in Croatia:[6]

Podunavlje in Serbia

Geography and demographics

Northern part of Serbian Podunavlje is mostly flat, while southern part is mostly mountainous. Important rivers in Serbian Podunavlje that flowing into Danube are Tisa, Sava, Tami?, and Morava. Two largest cities of Serbia, Belgrade and Novi Sad, are located in Podunavlje. Podunavlje includes parts of several traditional geographical regions in Serbia, such are Ba?ka, Banat, Syrmia, ?umadija, Brani?evo, and Timo?ka Krajina.

Serbian Podunavlje is mainly populated by Serbs, while other smaller ethnic groups in the area are Slovaks, Hungarians, Croats, Rusyns, Romanians, Vlachs, Roma people, etc. Slovaks forming the majority of population in the municipality of Ba?ki Petrovac, which is located near the Danube, in Ba?ka. Main religion in the area is Orthodox Christianity, while other smaller religious groups are Catholic Christians, Protestant Christians and Muslims.


Podunavlje region in Serbia was area where several important prehistoric cultures flourished, notably the Lepenski Vir culture, the Star?evo culture, the Vin?a culture, the Kostolac culture, the Vatin culture, the Belegi? culture, etc. It was also a core of the Tribal State of Celtic Scordisci, which had its capital in Singidunum (present-day Belgrade). Serbian Podunavlje was also a border region of Roman Empire and there are archaeological remnants of Roman civilization in the area.

In the Migration Period and the Middle Ages, the region was part of the Eastern Roman Empire, the Hunnic Empire, the Ostrogothic Kingdom, the Kingdom of the Gepids, the Lombard State, the Avar Khaganate, the Frankish Empire, the Bulgarian Empire, the Principality of Pannonian Croatia, the Principality of Lower Pannonia, the Great Moravia, and the Kingdom of Hungary.

Although, Serbo-Croatian speaking South Slavs settled in Serbian Podunavlje in the 6th century, Serbian state did not reached the river Danube before 13th century. Kingdom of Syrmia ruled by Serb king Stefan Dragutin (1284-1316) included southern Podunavlje and had its capitals in Debrc and Belgrade. The southern Podunavlje was subsequently included into other medieval Serbian states, notably the Serbian Empire, the Moravian Serbia and the Serbian Despotate. The Serbian Despotate had its capitals in Podunavlje, notably in Belgrade and Smederevo. After the Ottoman conquest of Serbian Despotate in 1459, Serbian statehood was temporarily restored in northern Podunavlje (in present-day Vojvodina) between 1526 and 1530, during the reigns of emperor Jovan Nenad and duke Radoslav ?elnik.

In the 16th century, the whole region was included into the Ottoman Empire. Subsequently, it became an area disputed between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy. After the Treaty of Belgrade from 1739 which defined the Habsburg-Ottoman border in Podunavlje, the region, as well as the local Serb people, became divided between the two empires. In both these areas, Serb people fought for their autonomy and independence. After the First and Second Serbian Uprising (in 1804 and 1815), an autonomous Ottoman Principality of Serbia was created in the south, while after the Serbian Uprising in Vojvodina (in 1848-1849), an autonomous Austrian Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar was created in the north. The two autonomous areas, however, did not had the same fate; while the northern voivodeship was abolished in 1860, the southern principality gained full independence in 1878 and was transformed into the Kingdom of Serbia in 1882. In 1918, after the Habsburg defeat in the First World War, the northern Podunavlje was also included into the Kingdom of Serbia, which subsequently became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later renamed to Yugoslavia). Since 2006, the whole region is part of an independent Republic of Serbia.

Podunavlje in Croatia

Geography and demographics

In Croatia, region is elongated in a north-south along the Danube which is border river between Croatia and Serbia. On the north region bordering with Hungary and on west continues to Slavonia, Syrmia and Baranja and rest of Croatia. The region is extremely flat with an average altitude of 80-110 meters. Coendures of Croatian Podunavlje are approximately overlapping with the territory of pre-War territory of Yugoslav municipalities Beli Manastir, Osijek, Vinkovci and Vukovar.[4] Those four municipalities had a territory of 3.436 kilometres and constituted 6,1% of territory of Socialist Republic of Croatia. In 1991 mentioned municipalities had 402.152 inhabitants living in 157 settlements and they constituted 8,4% of population of Croatia at the time.[4] After the collapse of Yugoslavia, local government system in Croatia was significantly changed and today Croatian Podunavlje in widest sense can be described as a region that is overlapping with the territory of Vukovar-Srijem and Osijek-Baranja counties.[4] In this sense region include the gravitation regions of towns of Na?ice and ?upanja and is significantly bigger and cover the area of 6.597 kilometres or 11,7% of territory of Croatia with 348 settlements and 598.434 inhabitants in 1991 (12,5% of total population of Croatia at that time).[4]

Climate in the region can be described as Continental climate with warm and hot summers and cold winters. Temperature ranges in Podunavlje are higher than in rest of Croatia due to the continent influence. Also level of rainfall is therefore lower than in the rest of Croatia.

It is one of the ethnically heterogeneous areas in Croatia. The largest ethnic group are Croats, after them follow Serbs and Hungarians, as well as some smaller ethnic groups such as Pannonian Rusyns, Slovaks, Ukrainians, Romani people, Germans, etc. Croats constitute an absolute majority of people in Podunavlje, while Serbs make up largest ethnic minority. Hungarians are third ethnic group by number and mostly live in area of Baranja. Pannonian Rusyns live mainly in Petrovci and Miklu?evci. More than one-fifth of total number of Slovaks in country live in Ilok.


Some of the important archaeological cultures that appeared in this area are the Vu?edol culture, the Vin?a culture and the Star?evo culture. Certainly, the most famous archaeological artifact is the ritual vessel of Vu?edol culture, called by the speculative attribution of her founder (in 1938) M. Seper - the Vu?edol Dove (vu?edolska golubica). Made between 2800 and 2500 B.C. it became the symbol of style, culture and new arising European civilization. The Vu?edol dove is a 19,5 cm high ritual vessel made from baked clay. This, as well, proves European pigeon breeding much older than we used to think. Moreover, Vu?edol dove is the oldest dove figure found in Europe so far. The ritual vessel is depicted on the reverse of the Croatian 20 kuna banknote, issued in 1993 and 2001.

During the Roman period, Danube was border to barbarian world.

In period from 1991 till 1998 in Podunavlje there was self-proclaimed Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Syrmia that was reintegrated into Croatia after signing of Erdut Agreement. Region was declared by local Serbs who promoted survival of Yugoslavia, because of which they had support of Yugoslav People's Army. Local Serb population was further alarmed with comparisons of new Croatian state with World War II Independent State of Croatia and its Jasenovac concentration camp. War has left a heavy mark on both the economy and the interpersonal relationships in region. There were especially strained relations between two largest groups, Croats and Serbs.

Some of the most important events of war in eastern Croatia are Battle of Vukovar, Vukovar massacre, and Borovo Selo killings in which in first two cases was killed significant number of civilians. Large part of Croats were forced to leave their homes in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Syrmia, and their property was looted and destroyed. Some have been captured and imprisoned for some time in Serbia, and some were killed there. Tens of thousands of Croats in this period left Podunavlje. At the same time in Podunavlje came tens of thousands Serbian refugees fleeing from war in the rest of Croatia. After the war ended local population get a difficult task of rebuilding coexistence in which were included a number of organizations such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and embassies of foreign countries. However, although progress is slow at times international community has assessed this process as relatively successful.


Kopa?ki Rit:

Nature park Kopa?ki Rit is located northwest of the confluence of the Drava and the Danube, situated at the border with Serbia. It is one of the most important, largest and most attractive preserved intact wetlands in Europe. Around 260 various bird species nest here (wild geese and ducks, great white egret, white stork, black stork, white-tailed eagle, crows, coots, gulls, terns, kingfishers, European green woodpecker, etc.), and there are many other species using this area as a temporary shelter on migration from the northern, cooler regions to the southern, warmer areas and vice versa.

There are 40-odd fish species (pike, ide, tench, bream, carp, catfish, pike-perch, perch, etc.). Several various mammal species inhabit the land (red deer, roe deer, wild boar, wild cat, pine marten, stone marten, weasel, sable, otter, etc.) Rich plant life, typical of wetlands, is found also in Kopa?ki Rit.

See also


  1. ^ Podunavlje, Enciklopedija Novog Sada, knjiga 20, Novi Sad, 2002, page 287.
  2. ^ http://media.popis2011.stat.rs/2011/prvi_rezultati.pdf
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Dra?en ?ivi? (June 2003). "Prognano stanovni?tvo iz hrvatskog Podunavlja i problemi njegovog povratka (1991. - 2001.)" (PDF). Hrvatski geografski glasnik. pp. 63-81. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ http://media.popis2011.stat.rs/2011/prvi_rezultati.pdf
  6. ^ http://www.dzs.hr/Hrv/censuses/Census2001/Popis/H01_02_02/H01_02_02.html

Further reading

  • Podunavlje, Enciklopedija Novog Sada, knjiga 20, Novi Sad, 2002.
  • Geografski atlas, Magic Map, Smederevska Palanka, 2001.
  • Denis ?ehi? - Demir ?ehi?, Geografski atlas Srbije, Beograd, 2007.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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