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Keywords: osijek-baranja county |
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Flag of Osijek-Baranja County - Image by Željko Heimer, 16 January 2005
Osijek-Baranja County, located in northeastern part of Croatia, includes a wide region around Osijek, together with Baranja, the part of Croatia north of Drava river.
After the First World War, Baranja was divided between Croatia, soon to merge into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and Hungary. Baranya is the Hungarian spelling, while Baranja is the Croatian spelling.
Željko Heimer, 22 September 1999
The symbols of Osijek-Baranja County are prescribed in the Amendments of the County Temporary Statutes Odluka o dopuni Privremenog statuta Županije Osječko-Baranjske, adopted on 15 April 1994 by the County Assembly and published on 29 April 1994 in the County official gazette Županijski glasnik Županije Osječko-Baranjske, No. 2 (text). Article 5a was added to the Statutes, which includes the description of the coat of arms and the flag in a wording reused in all subsequent versions of the Statutes. The gazette includes a page with grayscale drawings
of the coat of arms and the flag.
The temporary Statutes were replaced with Statutes Statut Županije Osječko-Baranjske, adopted on 23 March 1995 and published on 30 March 1995 in Županijski glasnik Županije Osječko-Baranjske, No. 2. The description of the symbols was transferred to Article 5 of the new Statutes.
Decisions Odluka o izmjenama Statuta Županije Osječko-Baranjske and Odluka o izmjenama općih akata koji sadrže naziv Županije, both adopted on 4 April 1997 and published on 9 April 1997 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-baranjske županije, No. 2, changed the name of the County into "Osječko-baranjske županija" and promulgated the change into the name of all the relevant Decisions, including the Statutes and the Decision on the use of the symbols (see below).
The consolidated Statutes Statut Osječko-baranjske županije (pročišćeni tekst), adopted on 22 May 2002 and published on 8 July 2002 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-baranjske županije, No. 2, include the description of the symbols. The Statutes were amended by Odluka o izmjenama Statuta Osječko-baranjske županije, adopted on 17 April 2003 and published on 25 April 2003 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-baranjske županije, No. 3, providing for the right of national minorities to use their symbols in the County (and other rights, following the Constitutional Law previously issued in that regard). A few months later, virtually the same Amendments Odluka o izmjenama Statuta Osječko-baranjske županije were adopted on 2 December 2003 and published on 3 December 2003 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-baranjske županije, No. 9, probably due to some procedural issues.
The consolidated Statutes Statut Osječko-baranjske županije (pročišćeni tekst), adopted on 31 March 2005 and published on 4 May 2005 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-baranjske županije, No. 7 repeat the description of the symbols. So do the next consolidated Statutes Statut Osječko-baranjske županije (pročišćeni tekst), adopted on 4 July 2006 and published on 11 July 2006 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-baranjske županije, No. 7, and Statut Osječko-baranjske županije (pročišćeni tekst), adopted on 30 March 2010 and published on 9 April 2010 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-baranjske županije, No. 2.
The use of the symbols is prescribed by Decision Odluka o uporabi grba, zastave i imena Županije Osječko-Baranjske, adopted on 15 April 1994 and published on 29 April 1994 in Županijski glasnik Županije Osječko-Baranjske, No. 2 (text). The Decision, adopted at the same time as the symbols in the Statutes, regulates their use, grant of use to other legal and physical persons, penalties for misuse etc.
The Decision also establishes the Symbols Commission that has task to promote the use of the symbols, to judge and provide the grants of their use to those who request them, to determine the requirements for commercial use, and to initiate procedures for amendments of the use of the symbols in practice. The membership of the Commission is prescribed by the successive Decisions (1994, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009).
Decision Odluka o izmjenama Odluke o uporabi grba, zastave i imena Županije Osječko-Baranjske, adopted on 7 July 1995 and published on 14 July 1995 in Županijski glasnik Županije Osječko-Baranjske, No. 5 changed the penal determinations of the 1994 decision. Decision Odluka o izmjenama Odluke o uporabi grba, zastave i imena Osječko-baranjske županije, adopted on 27 September 2001 and published on 8 October 2001 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-Baranjske Županije, No. 9 slightly changed the procedure for obtaining the grant for the use of the symbols: the grant is now given by the County Executive Board, not the Commission itself, which now provides proposal to the Executive Board) and the penal issues. The Decision on the use of the symbols was consolidated as Odluke o uporabi grba, zastave i imena Osječko-baranjske županije (pročišćeni tekst), adopted on 1 July 2002 and published on 8 July 2002 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-Baranjske Županije, No. 4. Decision Odluka o izmjenama Odluke o uporabi grba, zastave i imena Osječko-baranjske županije, adopted on 12 March 2005 and published on 22 March 2005 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-Baranjske Županije, No. 5, changed the penal prescriptions from the previous Decisions. They were again changed by Decision Odluka o izmjenama Odluke o uporabi grba, zastave i imena Osječko-baranjske županije, adopted on 21 December 2007 and published on 24 December 2007 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-Baranjske Županije, No. 13.
Decision Odluka o izmjenama i dopunama Odluke o uporabi grba, zastave i imena Osječko-baranjske županije, adopted on 2 October 2009 and published on 12 October 2009 in Županijski glasnik Osječko-Baranjske Županije, No. 9 changed the occurrences of the word "Executive Board" for "County Governor", following the changes in the administrative structure of the State. The former now has power to grant the use of the symbols following the proposals from the Commission.
The symbols of Osijek-Baranja County are presented as follows on the County website:
[...] Pursuant to the regulations, the Ministry of Administration of the Republic of Croatia authorized them in its Decision of July 7, 1995.
The Statutes of the Osijek-Baranja County stipulate 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 booklet "The Symbols of the Osijek-Baranja County" [bru03] (online copy) deals with the history 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).
The flag is described in proportions 1:2 with the stripes as 4:5:2:5:4. The coat of arms is set in the middle, in hieght half the flag's width. The Pantone shades are given for the coat of arms: Blue 2915C, Red 186C, Black Process Black C, Golden 872C and Silver 877C. The blue of the flag stripes is Dark Blue 289C.
Željko Heimer & Jan Oskar Engene, 7 June 2012
Coat of arms of Osijek-Baranja County - Image by Željko Heimer, 16 January 2005
Quoting the County website:
The County Statutes stipulate and blazon 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 knowledge 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 Šubić 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 Đakovo, as a part of today's Osijek-Baranja County, is the seat of the Bosnian bishop since the 13th c., and thence of the Đakovo-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 Vladislaus II Jagiellon. In his work Stemmatographia, Pavao Ritter Vitezović 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.
Željko Heimer, 12 August 2000
A ceremonial flag is also prescribed. Unlike most other ceremonial gonfalons used in Croatia, here the ceremonial flag is prescribed to be equal to the normal flag, but with a golden fringe around the three free edges.
Željko Heimer, 18 July 2010