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Prijedor (Town, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina)


Last modified: 2019-10-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: prijedor |
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Flag of Prijedor - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 12 July 2019

See also:

Presentation of Prijedor

The Town of Prijedor (112,543 inhabitants in 1991, 833 sq. km; 34,635 inh. in the town proper: municipal website) is located in the Bosnian Krajina, northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Although Prijedor is one of the youngest cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, archaeological research confirmed that the populating began nearly 5.000 years ago. In pre-Roman and Roman time here lived a tribe of Mezei that would disappear in the 5th century BC. Over the next 12 centuries different masters ruled these areas: Croats, Hungarians, Austrians and Turks since the 16th century.
The name of Prijedor, as a fortification, appeared in 1696 during the Austro-Turkish War in letters written in Latin by the commander of the Croatian units, Earl Batthyány. After the destruction of this fortification, it took nearly 50 years for Prijedor to appear again in the list of settlements. Paralleling the building of a small Turkish fortification on an artificially made height, a Christian part of settlement began to develop in the vicinity. Their conjunction marked the faster development of the town as of the second half of the 18th century.

A Serbian elementary school was established in 1835. In 1885 the city got the Serbian Church Singing Society "Vila". A faster development of the city was fostered by railroad passing through Prijedor in 1873, connecting Banja Luka with Dobrljin, which was the first railroad in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The whole town nearly burnt in 1882 in a great fire. Prescribing a first town planning scheme in 1901, the Austrian rulers built a town in the spirit of modern Central European towns. In the beginning of the 20th century, there were in Prijedor a printing house, a town's library, a community school, a Sokol society, and tennis, football and handball clubs. The town became the merchant and craft center in this part of Krajina.
In the Second World War the town and the entire area of Kozara lost more than 45.000 inhabitants, among whom were 18.000 children. After the Second World War, Prijedor had an accelerated development with paper and cellulose factory and the Ljubija iron mine as the major supporting factors.

Ivan Sache, 12 July 2019

Flag of Prijedor

The symbols of Prijedor are prescribed in the Municipal Statutes, published in the Town official gazette, No. 12/17 (municipal website), as follows:

1. The flag of the town [photo] is light blue.
2. The flag is in rectangular shape.
3. In the center of the flag there is a coat of arms of the town around which is written in Cyrillic and Latin script "Grad Prijedor" as well as in English language "City of Prijedor".
4. The ratio between the width and the length of the flag is 1:2.

Tomislav Šipek, 12 July 2019

Coat of arms of Prijedor

The coat of arms of Prijedor was originally prescribed by Statutary Decision Odluka o promjeni Statuta Grada Prijedora, adopted on 8 May 2013 by the Town Assembly and published on 9 May 2013 in the Town official gazette Službeni glasnik Grada Prijedora, No. 6. The description was transferred verbatim into the Statutes.
The coat of arms is described as follows:

The coat of arms of the town has a shield shape, with mild lines. The background of the shield in the colours of the flag of Republika Srpska. Within the shield, in the top part there is a white symbol representing the sun and the Kozara monument shape. In the central part there is a blue symbol, its top concave part represents [mount] Kozara while its bottom wavy part represents river the Sava river. In the bottom part there is a black symbol of flowering letter "P" - the initial of Prijedor.
The symbols represent:
- the sun, Kozara, Sava - the natural environment of work and life; - letter "P" - the Town of Prijedor, villages, settlements, mines, factories, cultural institutions, schools, homes, and their inhabitants;
- the sun - the source of life, the Kozara monument, great sacrifices, war and suffering, but also great victories of a generation and our bright future
The coat of arms may be used in ceremonial and other circumstances, while the approval for its use in other occasions is granted by the Mayor.

The previous coat of arms was challenged in 2003 by the Chairman fo the Town Assembly in 2003 as unconstitutional, since it includes the Serb symbol of cross with firesteels. The Constitutional Court of Republika Srpska ruled in 2006 that this was so and ordered it changed, but it took several years for the deicsion to be implemented locally.
The new design, adopted on 8 May 2013 by the Town Assembly (news report), is virtually the same as the pre-1990s design, except in the colours of the top field, now red with a white sun), previously white with a red sun.

In the same session, the Town Assembly adopted the initiative that the coat of arms is to be changed yet again. The proposal (photo) depicts the Kozara monument from a side view. However, the town officials told that this would require approval by the designer of the monument designer, Dušanj Džamonja, that his by his heirs, as he passed away some years ago. Therefore the proposed change, while, in principle, supported by all parties in the Assembly, has been postponed for some time.

Kozara, a Dinaric mountain of 75 km in length, is bordered by rivers Sava (north), Vrbas (east), Sana (south) and Una (west). The Kozara National Park, located in the central part of the Kozara mountain, is a member of Europarc, the Federation of Nature and National Parks of Europe.
[Municipal website]

The emblem features an aerial view of the Monument to the Revolution, erected in 1972 in the Mrakovica area of the Kozara National Park. This spomenik, designed by the Macedonian artist Dušan Džamonja (1928-2009), is dedicated to the Partisan fighters, fallen soldiers and civilians victims who died in the bloody Kozara Offensive in the spring of 1942.
At the time, the Partisan resistance forces had liberated several towns in the central and west Bosnian regions, most notably Prijedor and Bosanski Petrovac. The Axis forces came to recognize that their regional headquarters of Banja Luka, along with their critical iron mines in Ljubija, were now potentially vulnerable to attack and invasion. In response, Germans mobilized 15,000 soldiers along with 22,000 Ustaše soldiers, 2,000 Četnik and 5 Hungarian monitor ships for what would come to be known as the Kozara Offensive. Not only did these Axis forces plan to suppress the Partisan threat, but also, they intended to eliminate any and all citizen support for the Partisans from villages in the Kozara region. Meanwhile, the anti-fascist Partisan opposition forces were only made up of roughly 3,000 soldiers, while aided by 60,000 recruited untrained civilians from the freed land who volunteered to aid in the fight. The fighting at Kozara began on June 10th, 1942, with the Axis coalition of forces, under the command of German General Friedrich Stahl, descending upon the region of Kozara from all directions.

By July 3rd, German forces began to break through Partisan defenses, which led to a subsequent Partisan defeat. During the final throes of battle, Tito and a small handful of Partisans were able to retreat just as the enemy closed in, escaping towards Grmeč Mountain. He moved on to west Bosnia to reorganize his remaining forces after this loss. Of the original 3,000 actual Partisan soldiers who engaged in the battle, roughly 900 fighters survived, leaving the vast majority killed in action. In the aftermath of the battle, some of the surviving Kozara Partisans banded together in September of 1942 to create the 5th Krajina Assault Brigade. This loss became an important component of the Yugoslavian post-war mythology of how the brave and selfless Partisan soldiers readily gave their lives in the righteous battle against the fascism of German and Croatian forces, even in the face of overwhelming odds and inferior firepower. Meanwhile, of the peasant civilians who aided in the fight against this Axis offensive, it is estimated that a upwards of 10,000 were killed during the battle itself (with some estimates ranging even higher), while an even greater number perished after the battle after being sent to the nearby death camps at Jasenovac.

The Kozara spomenik complex consists of three main elements, the primary monument structure, a memorial wall to the rear of the monument and a small museum. The primary monument is a cylindrical monolith approximately 33 m tall, comprised of 20 vertical fins with intermittent curved bulges whose outer-faces are covered in strips of polished stainless steel. The construction of this sculpture required 1000 tons of cement, 4000 cubic meters of aggregate and 200 tons of structural steel to create.
[Spomenik data base]

Željko Heimer, Marko Vitez & Ivan Sache, 12 January 2019

Former symbols of Prijedor

[Municipal flag]

Former flag of Prijedor - Image by Željko Heimer, 23 January 2013

The former flag of Prijedor (municipal website, photo no longer online) is light blue with the former coat of arms in the middle, surmounting the name of the municipality in black Cyrillic and Latin script.

The former coat of arms of Prijedor was prescribed in Article 2 of Decision Odluka o utvrđivanju grba opštine Prijedor, adopted on 30 November 2005 by the Municipal Assembly and published on 1 December 2005 in the Municipal official gazette Službeni glasnik opštine Prijedor, No. 11 (text), as follows:

The coat of arms of the Municipality depicts its historical and cultural values. The coat of arms of the Municipality has a shield shape with mild lines. The background of the shield in the top part, above the symbol of mount Kozara and river Sava is red, and in the lower part white. Within the shield, in the top part, is a cross with four golden yellow firesteels.
In the front part, coloured blue, there are depicted contours of Kozara and Sava.
In the lower part, on a white background is a symbol coloured blue in shape of a flowering letter "P"* - the initial of the town's name.
The entire symbol of the coat of arms is edged with a blue line.

*It is not explicitly stated if the initial "P" is in Latin or Cyrillic (П) script; from the design, it seems rather obvious that the Latin "P" letter (twice, addorsed) is meant.

The blazon of the coat of arms is "Divided per fess azure top enarched bottom wavy into gules a cross with four firesteels or and argent two letters 'P' also azure addorsed". It is quite obvious that the Municipality (and later Town) of Prijedor has been using the same coat of arms since the 1990s.
Some variations in colours can be observed. In the header of the municipal gazette, the cross emblem is shown in white and not gold, while in many examples the flowering initial is shown in black instead of blue.

The commission in charge of the design of the coat of arms was appointed by Resolution Rješenje o imenovanju Komisije za spovođenje postupka utvrđivanj grba Opštine, praznika Opštine i promjene naziva pojedinih ulica, adopted on 29 September 2005 and published on 30 September 2005 in Službeni glasnik opštine Prijedor, No. 8 (text).

Željko Heimer, 23 January 2013

Earlier coat of arms of Prijedor

[Municipal arms]

Former coat of arms of Prijedor - Image by Željko Heimer, 23 January 2013

The coat of arms used in Prijedor before 1992 must have been adopted in the 1980s. It contains the same elements as the today's arms - shield shape, (light) blue Kozara-Sava shape, addorsed letters "P" (slightly differently stylized); however, the top part is white and the symbol there is a red sun with rays, stylized to remind of a five-pointed star.

Željko Heimer, 23 January 2013

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