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Vinkovci (Town, Vukovar-Srijem County, Croatia)

Last modified: 2014-03-08 by ivan sache
Keywords: vinkovci | grapes (red-white-blue) | table: one leg (white) | wheat | storks: 3 | vinkovci autumn | vinkovacke jeseni | matakovic (dubravko) | matakovic (joza) | medvedovic (mate) |
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[Town flag]         [Town flag]

Flag of Vinkovci, two versions - Images by Željko Heimer, 12 August 2012

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Presentation of Vinkovci

The recent history of Vinkovci was outlined by Marko Landreka in the column Moji Vinkovci, published on 21 January 1994 in Vinkovački list (scan).

[...] the ancient Roman Municipium (Municipium Aelium Cibalae) and then a colony (Colonia Aurelia Cibalae), enabled the town to have a civil government beside the military government. In the 18th century, in the period of the Military Border, Vinkovci gained the status of third-rank military community (1765), which was soon lost when the place, being still a village, could not levy enough taxes to maintain the civil government.
The Slavonian part of the Military Border was demilitarized in 1873 and the regional districts were formed; Vinkovci became the seat of the Imperial and Royal regional district of Brod [Carska i kraljevska brodska okružna oblast]. The governor of the district was Major Teodor Novaković [...] The Law of 5 February 1886 on the establishment of the County and the formation of the County administration marked the definitive end of the Military Border. The Brod district was divided into three counties: Srijem, Požega and Virovitica. In Vinkovci a kotar was formed, an administrative municipality (with a court, a land regsitry and all other offices). Therefore Vinkovci became an administrative municipality and retained this status until 1920.

In accordance with the Law of 21 June 1895 on the structure of civic municipalities in Croatia and Slavonia, Vinkovci got the second-rank town status. True - the Edict was signed on 5 November 1920 by King Alexander, but he had to use the Austrian-Hungarian Law, as the Kingdom did not have such a Law (either, it didn't have Laws on education, trade and many others, but that is for another story). So, finally Vinkovci became, hopefully once for all, a town (of second rank, but nevertheless a town). The second Paragraph of the Statutes of the Town of Vinkovci [dated 1920] on the structure of the Town administration states that "the Town of Vinkovci shall use an administrative seal with the inscription 'The Town Magistrate in Vinkovci'. In the seal the coat of arms shall be set, once the Town Assembly establishes it and when it shall be approved by the competent authorities in the sense of [Paragraph] 6 of the Law of 21 June 1895 on the structure of civic municipalities in Croatia and Slavonia". The competent authorities were a bit slow (the competent authorities are usually so), but nevertheless the town got its coat of arms, that by the competent authorities, it could set it in its official seal. The same aforementioned King of the lawful Kingdom of SHS (without many laws) signed the Edict on the use of the coat of arms of Vinkovci in 1923 (of course, perusing the aforementioned Austrian-Hungarian Law). The Town Magistrate in Vinkovci promulgated that Decision on 2 March 1923 (at the time the mayor was Dr. Đuro Topalović).

Vinkovci was the temporary capital of the County, when Vukovar was occupied (1990-1995).

Željko Heimer, 12 August 2012

Flag of Vinkovci

The symbols of Vinkovci are prescribed by Decision Odluka o grbu i zastavi grada Vinkovaca, adopted on 19 July 1993 by the Town Assembly and published on 11 October 1993 in the County official gazette Službeni vjesnik Županije Vukovarsko-srijemske, No. 4.
The coat of arms was already described in Article 6 of the Decision adopting the Town's Temporary Statutes Odluka o privremenom ustrojstvu grada Vinkovaca, adopted on 19 April 1993 by the Municipality Assembly and published on 23 June 1993 in Službeni vjesnik Županije Vukovarsko-srijemske , No. 2.
The flag and arms are described in Article 6 and 7 of the Town Statutes Statut grada Vinkovaca, adopted on 30 March 1994 by the Municipality Assembly and published in Službeni vjesnik Županije Vukovarsko-srijemske .

Black and white images of the symbols are shown on the front page of Vinkovački list, 27 August 1993 (scan), reporting the newly adopted symbols.
The flag is made of white and golden-yellow lozenges, with the coat of arms of the town in the middle. A variant of the flag has the lozenges in the lower edge forming an indentation.
The flag dimension are prescribed as 100 x 200 cm. The lozenge side is 17.5 cm in length, the distance between parallel edges is 15 cm. The top edge consists of six golden half-lozenges. The coat of arms is set 30 cm from the vertical edges and 65 cm from the top; the coat of arms is 40 cm in width and 60.4 cm in height.

The flag was designed by Dubravko Mataković. An academic painter, Mataković is rather famous for his peculiar style and his very popular comics (website).
In a personal communication, Mataković explained he was commisioned to prepare the modernized versions of the coats of arms of the Vukovar-Srijem County and of the Town of Vinkovci. He was asked to design the flags, too. The guidelines he received were to make the Town flag "similar to the Bavarian flag" but with golden and silver lozenges, so he came out with the adopted design. He then decided the striped flag for the County to be kind of similar.

The flag is presented on the front page of Vinkovački list, 27 August 1993 (scan), showing the newly adopted symbols, as follows:

Considering the flag, it is of a newer date. Upon request from the Town Magistrate, the academic painter Dubravko Mataković designed the flag. The raster of golden and white lozenges symbolizes the Slavonian folk costume, and in the centre of the flag there is the historical coat of arms of Vinkovci.
The flag was adopted by the Town Assembly, and the approval from the Ministry of Administration was obtained for the use of the coat of arms and flag.

Željko Heimer, 12 August 2012

Coat of arms of Vinkovci

[Town coat of arms]

Coat of arms of Vinkovci - Image by Željko Heimer, 12 August 2012

The coat of arms of Vinkovci was described by Pr. Dionizije Švagelj in the article Spomen-ploča uglednom šumarskom stručnjaku, published on 6 March 1970 in Novosti (scan), in the context of the inauguration of a memorial dedicated to Mate Medvedović (1872-1944), Town Councillor and founder of the Vinkovci Town Museum, as follows:

Vinkovci was the seat of a Magistrate from 1753 to 1786, when those municipal self-governments were abolished by Joseph II, who established the central administrative government in Pécs [today in Hungary].

Medvedović, as the author of the coat of arms of the town of Vinkovci, knew that he was facing a peculiar task to draft the first coat of arms eve rproduced in the common State of the South Slavs. The coat of arms of the town was designed in April 1921 by the painter Mirko Rački after Medvedović's guidelines, following advice by the State Archivist, Dr. Ivan Bojničić. An expert review of the coat of arms was provided by Dr. Iso Kršnjavi in Zagreb on 10 May 1921. Eventually, the Town Assembly of Vinkovci adopted the arms on 22 September 1922, under the minutes registry No. 258. The Edict signed on 26 January 1923 by King Alexander I was formally promulgated by the Minister of the Interior and published on 28 February 1923 in the official gazette [Narodne novine], No. 49. This was the first coat of arms of a civic municipality officially adopted in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

Above the heraldic shield of the coat of arms, there is a golden mural crown with five embattlements, recalling that Vinkovci is situated on the site of the ancient Roman metropolis of Colonia Aurelia Cibalae.
The ratio of the shield's width to its height is 1:1.3.
The first right field (in heraldry, opposite to what we see) is golden, ornamented with three bunches of grapes. The second field is red, ornamented with three wheat ears. The third, bottom field is blue with a stone table surmounted by three storks flying to the viewer's right.
The grapes in the first field are set diagonally from the top left to the bottom right corner; the first one is red, the middle one is white and the bottom one is blue. The ears are golden, the storks are silver and the stone table is white.
The third field charged with the storks and the stone table is blue. The storks symbolize the marshy grounds of the Vinkovci region, so-called Palus Volcae beneath Borinci with the link to Palus Hiulcae near the Bedem-grad of Ivankovo. The table is a symbol of revolutionary spirit and of the contribution of Vinkovci to the national renaissance - as the symbol, a real stone table dated to 1848 was used - today standing, without its top plate, in front of the Museum.
The coat of arms is divided into three fields by silver stripes: one horizontal and the other vertical, representing river Bosut into which stream Ervenica flows. This is the geographical symbol of the town. The bunches of grapes and the ears stand for the agricultural significance of the region.

In the earlier article Neispitano značenje istraživača Mate Medvedovića (scan), published on 23 October 1957 in Novine, in the context of the celebration of the 85th anniversary of the birth of M. Medvedović, D. Švagelj writes that "the coat of arms of the town of Vinkovci has been constantly in use since 26 January 1923", which is quite unusual in this part of the world.

Medvedović's original "mental image" of the arms ("not be interpreted in a way the author had not written"), published in Godišnjak Matice hrvatske, No. 2, December 1920, was quoted by Marko Landreka in the article Moji Vinkovci, published on 14 January 1994 in Vinkovački list (scan), as follows:

Still standing at the Freedom Square in Vinkovci, the single-legged stone table dates back to 1848, from the period of the Hungarian uprising and of the village municipality. On that table a stork made a nest containing three nestling storks. The image depicts at the same time the state turnover of 1918, after which the village municipality was raised to a town, while the nest means the established unity of the three-named people,living in Vinkovci, a place denoted by river Bosut and its confluence with Ervenica, depicted in front of the table. Around the stone leg a grapevine is raising ending around the table perimeter with thee bunches of grapes (red, white and blue); it is recounted that it grew strongly near the old church, providing wine to the first inhabitants of Vinkovci, who dedicated the Church to St. Vincent [of Saragossa - Sv. Vinko], Vinkovci's namesake. Behind the table there is a fruitful arable land with wheat ears, designating the main source of income of farmers. The three bunches of grapes show that in Vinkovci the three-named, mostly Croatian, people are living in a fertile region. The sun is raising from the east, to greet with its golden beams the citizens and the beginning of the Town Magistrate activities in year 1921. A stork's nest in Vinkovci on a house in front of the Vincent's Square, characteristic of Vinkovci, with the table and other, making a true and historical-patriotic picture for the coat of arms of a new town.

The article Kameni stol, published on 6 August 1993 by Antonija Rajković in Vinkovačke list (scan) presents, with a photo, the 1848 stone table depicted on the arms of Vinkovci. Set in front of what is today the Town Museum, the table was used by Baron Josip Neustädter when he called upon the Brod Regiment to join the fight of Ban Jelačić against the Hungarians.
Some legends claim that the table was used as a punishment device, while other conclude that it was used at the market square as a counter where the pay was delivered. In the 1960s, the table was torn down and the damaged top plate was left in the Museum. The article reports that the table was eventually restored and placed at its original location at the square.

The mural crown is explained on the front page of Vinkovački list, 27 August 1993 (scan), showing the newly adopted symbols:

Above the entire coat of arms there is a golden crown with five points, that was awarded in Roman times to a hero who first climbed the walls of a besieged town. A crown with five points is set in the arms of large towns, and Vinkovci is situated at the place where there was in Roman era the metropolis of Cibalia with some 50,000 inhabitants.

In an article on the history of the Roman town of Cibalae, Topografski položaj Cibala, published on 4 September 1970 in Novosti (scan), Josip Cigler debunks an interesting, but probably erroneous, theory on the mural crown of the town's arms:

Some authors claim that Cibalae had some 50 000 inhabitants. This number was taken as the symbol in the coat of arms of the town of Vinkovci, the crown has five embattlements to indicate it. Certainly, the number is excessive, if it counts the town only without the surrounding settlements. The population density would thus be 11 inhabitants per square meter, obviously quite impossible.

The article Izmjene u skladu sa statusom velikog grada, published on 3 February 2006 in Vinkovački list (scan), reports a discussion in the Town Assembly postponing the adoption of the new Town Statutes. Among other issues, a Councillor proposed that the "coat of arms should be elaborated in more details". It is not clear what that would mean - since the description of the coat of arms and the very detailed construction of the flag is already included in the first Statutes of 1994. Anyway, the 2009 Statutes includes the same wording as the 1994 Statutes.

Željko Heimer, 12 August 2012

Coat of arms used in the Socialist period

[Town coat of arms]

Coat of arms used in the Socialist period - Image by Željko Heimer, 12 August 2012

The article Regulirana upotreba gradskog grba, published on 11 June 1976 in Vinkovačke novosti (scan), reports on the Decisions regulating the use of the town arms.
The coat of arms of the period is illustrated in as a black and white line drawing, being basically the same as designed in 1923 and as it is in use today - with only two additions: a red five-pointed star is set at the confluence of the rivers and the name of the town is inscribed in the horizontal beam of the table.
The Decision stated that the arms could be used by the Chairman of the Municipal Assembly and persons who act in his stead - but only in the official correspondence. Companies and other organizations and societies could use the arms only with permision granted by the Presidency of the Municipal Assembly. Those organizations that happened to already use the coat of arms when the Decision was adopted were given 30 days to request permission.

A black and white line drawing shown in Vinkovačke novosti, 24 January 1986, shows the town coat of arms without the inscription.

Resolution Prijedlog izmejna i dopuna Statuta Općine Vinkovci, adopted on 31 January 1967 by the Municipal Assembly and published on 11 February 1967 in Novosti (scan), proposed changes in the Municipal Statutes and opened them to public discussion. The article explains that "there are opinions that here [in the first Articles of the Statutes] the prescription of the coat of arms of the town of Vinkovci should be included." The proposed text (not printed here) is said to include a detailed description of the coat of arms. It is stated that there are various opinions, especially regarding it being entitled "the coat of arms of the town of Vinkovci". The article mentions that some other Statutes [in Croatia] include such a prescription and that it would be wise to include it, as a "symbol of a rich economic and social history", and as the symbol of not only the town proper but also of the wider region, i.e., the eastern part of Croatia. The issue was expected to be resolved through the public debate.
There is no report in further issues of Novosti of the inclusion of the description of the arms in the Statutes (I think it was), but there are several reports, dated 1968, of various items being presented as ceremonial gifts that included the depiction of the town arms.
There is no mention of a town flag at all. There was most probably no such a flag ever since 1923 until its was eventually adopted in 1993.

Željko Heimer, 12 August 2012

Vinkovci Autumns culture festival (Vinkovačke jeseni)

[Festival flag]

Flag of Vinkovci Autumns - Image by Željko Heimer, 15 August 2012

Željko Heimer, 15 August 2012

Article Bio je to moj dar Vinkovcima, published on 21 September 2001 in Vinkovački list (scan) is an interview of Joza Mataković, an academic painter from Vinkovci, who is, among others, the author of the emblem of the Vinkovačke jeseni (The Vinkovci Autumns), a traditional cultural festival held in late September every year since 1966, and considered as one of the major cultural events in Slavonia.
The organizers asked the painter to prepare a symbol, requiring only that the symbols should somehow include an apple, as an autumn fruit and as the symbol of nearby company Borinci - at the time titled the largest apple plantation in Europe.
Mataković vividly recounts of the very night in which he designed the emblem that is still used after almost half a century and is still retaining a symbolic power. He describes the symbol as "a gourd, the symbol of folklore, set within an apple, that from Borinci, enlightened by a solar circle (yellow), shining its light to the other fruits of the earth (symbolized by the ochre and red colours) surrounded by the black humus of the fertile black soil."

The symbol is usually set in a white vertical flag. There is also a vertical flag made of nine golden and white stripes with the emblem in the centre, in front of a tricolour couped diagonal, added to the symbol in the 1990s, which is inspired by the Town and County flags and must have been in use since the mid 1990s. This may be considered as the official flag of the festival (photo).
The festival flag is, among others, carried in front of a ceremonial colorfull procession of all the festival participants made during the festival, most wearing traditional folk costumes, driving ornate carts, and displaying the company and local flags. Also each company is usually provided with a banner with the logo and the company name inscribed - to be identified under it during the procession and their performances during the festival (example), but, probably, with many variations from one year to the other.

Željko Heimer, 15 August 2012

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