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Vrgorac (Town, Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia)

Last modified: 2014-03-08 by ivan sache
Keywords: vrgorac | fortress (white) | flag (blue) |
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[Town flag]

Flag of Vrgorac - Image by Željko Heimer, 23 January 2007

See also:

Presentation of Vrgorac

Vrgorac is located about 100 km south-east of Split, in the hinterland region known as Imotska krajina. It has 7,500 inhabitants, 2,200 in the town of the same name. Until 1910, the name of the place was spelled Vrhgorac, from which is obvious the meaning of the name, "top of the mountain", which may not be so obvious nowadays.
First mentioned in documents in 1419 and of a very important strategic significance, the town was well fortified, but, nevertheless, it was taken by the Turks in the second half of the 15th century and held over 200 years. After the liberation in 1690 the mosque, built where once stood a small chapel, was again transformed into a church, rebuilt in 1913. The town is still dominated by the seven medieval fortified towers.

Željko Heimer, 5 July 2006

Flag of Vrgorac

The flag of Vrgorac, as described on the Vrgorac blog, is in proportions 1:2, dark blue with the coat of arms in the middle.

Željko Heimer & Valentin Poposki, 23 January 2007

Coat of arms of Vrgorac

[Town coat of arms]

Coat of arms of Vrgorac - Image by Željko Heimer, 5 July 2006

The coat of arms is "Gules from a rock argent a masoned tower issuant and atop of it sinister a tower topped with a mast flying a flag azure".
Quoting the Vrgorac blog:

The communities of Dalmatia were granted official coats of arms in 1865. Among them was also the community of Vrgorac. The coat of arms of Vrgorac is in shield shape, colored red. In its base are depicted silver caves on which is a masoned tower also silver. Atop of the tower is a smaller silver turret topped with a flying flag of blue. [...] In 1865 the coat of arms was set above the main entrance of the community hall and in all official seals. It was removed from the community hall in 1929; On 6 January 1929 the Yugoslav King Alexander introduced a dictatorship when all national emblems (flags, coat of arms, anthems) and work of all "tribal" (= national) organizations were forbidden. The coat of arms and the flag were afterwards returned and now serve as the official symbols of the Town of Vrgorac.

I question the claim that all communities in Dalmatia were granted a coat of arms in 1865. I know of none such a case, even for the large towns; I have never seen any claim to that except in an article written by a certain priest from Vrgorac, who mentioned the fact in newspapers. I do not know where he got thid from, and maybe he confused coat of arms with administrative seals.
I doubt very much that the coat of arms is older than the 1990s. It is not included in Lazsowski's Grbovi Jugoslavije [lsv39], which indicates that Lazsowski had no idea about any community's coat of arms in Dalmatia during the Austrian administration, something he would have known and included; he actually does show coat of arms of very small villages in Slavonia and Vojvodina that, for some reason, were granted a coat of arms during the Austrian-Hungarian rule). Regarding Dalmatian coat of arms, he shows Biograd (1870), Komiža (?), Korčula (1898), Milna (on Brac island, 19th c.), Nin (?), Novigrad (?), Omiš (?), Pag (?), Rab (13th century), Skradin (19th century), Split (?), Stari Grad/Hvar (?), Šibenik (?) and Trogir (?). The question marks here mean that Laszowski do not mention the year of origin of the arms, so this as a rule means pre-Austrian rule; this may be indicative that we may dismiss 1865 as the year of the grant of arms to the Dalmatian communites.
Anyway, this does not mean that the seal or some other emblem, or even a coat of arms, was not used in Vrgorac in the 19th century, depicting a design on which the modern coat of arms is based. I suppose that there would be some evidence that there was indeed some arms, possibly stone carved, set on the community building in 1865; the tower with a turret is, of course, the depiction of the Vrgorac fortress and a natural choice for a symbol. I would very much like to know the source the author has, and probably the same source has the claim that the arms above the entrance were removed in 1929. I doubt very much of the explanation: while it holds that in 1929 Alexander introduced dictatorship and that national emblems, which include the Croatian tricolor and the checky shield, but also emblems of other nations in Yugoslavia, were banned from use, I see no reason why one would have to remove a community coat of arms.

Željko Heimer, 23 January 2007

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