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Location in Serbia
General Information
District Central Banat
Land area 230 km²
(2002 census)
79,545 (town)
131,509 (municipality)
Settlements 22
Coordinates 45°22′N 20°23′E
Area code +381 23
Car plates ZR
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
Website http://www.zrenjanin.org.yu
Mayor Goran Knežević (DS)
City Hall and monument of king Peter I of Yugoslavia
Court House
Image:Mali most i Reformatorska crkva.jpg
Small bridge, Reformation church and Court House

Zrenjanin (Зрењанин) is a city located in Serbia. It is situated in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina at 45° 22' North, 20° 23' East. It is the administrative centre of the Central Banat okrug of Serbia. In 2002, the city's population was 79,545, while the Zrenjanin municipality had 131,509 inhabitants.

Zrenjanin is the largest city in the Serbian Banat and the third largest city in the Vojvodina province (after Novi Sad and Subotica).


[edit] History

The town of (Veliki) Bečkerek / (Nagy) Becskerek was first settled in the 14th century, the first mention of it dates from 1326. The merchant town on the Begej river became a property of the Serbian prince Stefan Lazarević in the 14th century. The town was ruled by the Kingdom of Hungary until 1551 when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. During the Ottoman rule, the town of Bečkerek was mostly populated by ethnic Serbs.

In 1716 it was conquered by the Habsburg Monarchy and it developed significantly by Maria Theresia's order of 1769. According to the 1753 data, the town was mostly populated by Serbs and Germans. According to the 1773 data, the population of the town numbered 721 houses, of which 625 were Orthodox Christian, and 96 Roman Catholic.

Bečkerek got a theatre hall in 1839 and a gymnasium in 1846, as well as a City Hall in 1820 and the Palace of Justice in 1908.

During the Revolution of 1848-1849, the town was one of de facto capitals of Serbian Vojvodina, a Serbian autonomous region within Habsburg Empire. Between 1849 and 1860, it was part of a separate Austrian crownland known as the Vojvodina of Serbia and Tamiš Banat. After the abolishment of this province, the town was included into Torontal County, and was the administrative center of this county. After 1867, Bečkerek was located within the Hungarian part of Austria-Hungary.

According to the 1910 census, the city had 26,006 inhabitants, of which 9,148 most frequently spoke Hungarian language, 8,934 Serbian language, 6,811 German language, 456 Slovak language, and 339 Romanian language. The municipal area of the city had 54,715 inhabitants, of which 16,485 most frequently spoke German language, 14,445 Serbian language, 10,581 Romanian language, 8,573 Hungarian language, and 3,265 Slovak language. It is not certain whether Hungarians or Serbs were largest ethnic group in the city in this time, since 1910 census is considered partially inaccurate by most historians because this census did not recorded the population by ethnic origin or mother tongue, but by the "most frequently spoken language", thus the census results overstated the number of Hungarian speakers, since this was official language at the time and many non-Hungarian native speakers stated that they most frequently speak Hungarian language in everyday communication. The city was also home to 1,232 Jews, of whom many were native Hungarian speakers. Another problem is that the city and its municipal area were administered separatelly, thus the total population of the city and its municipal area counted together was 80,721 people, of whom 23,379 most frequently spoke Serbian language, 23,296 German language, 17,721 Hungarian language, 10,920 Romanian language, and 3,721 Slovak language.

After World War I, the city became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later renamed to Yugoslavia). Between 1918 and 1922, it was a centre of a county within the Kingdom, between 1922 and 1929, it was part of the Belgrade oblast, and between 1929 and 1941 part of the Danube Banovina.

Between 1941 and 1944, it was under Axis occupation, and was part of the autonomous Banat within German-occupied Serbia. Beginning in 1945, Zrenjanin was part of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina within the new Socialist Yugoslavia, and from 1992 to 2003 it was part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was then transformed into the state union of Serbia and Montenegro. Since the 2006 independence of Montenegro, Zrenjanin has been part of an independent Serbia.

[edit] Name

Begej River in Zrenjanin

Zrenjanin got its present name in 1946 in honour of the revolutionary hero Žarko Zrenjanin Uča (1902-1942). Žarko Zrenjanin was a leader of the Vojvodina Communists and wartime Partisans who during the World War II endured torture and months of incarceration by the Nazis, was released and later killed while trying to escape recapture.

Old Serbian name for the city was Bečkerek (Бечкерек) or Veliki Bečkerek (Велики Бечкерек). In Hungarian, the city is known as Nagybecskerek, in German as Großbetschkerek, in Romanian as Becicherecul Mare or Zrenianin, in Slovak as Zreňanin, in Rusin as Зрењанин, and in Croatian as Zrenjanin.

It is assumed that Zrenjanin's original name, Bečkerek/Becskerek, comes from Hungarian word kerek ("forest, grove") and the surname of the 14th century nobleman, Emre Becsei, who had large estates in the area. Therefore the name would be translated into English as "Becsei's Forest". The original name gained a modificated meaning "great/big/major" in the languages of the Banat (Serbian: Veliki or Велики, Danube Swabian: Groß, Hungarian: Nagy, Romanian: Mare), as opposed to a village of the same name in the Romanian Banat, that is usually referred to as small Bečkerek (cf. Serbian: Mali Bečkerek or Мали Бечкерек, Danube Swabian: Kleinbetschkerek, Romanian: Becicherecu Mic, Hungarian: Kisbecskerek).

In 1935 the city was renamed to Petrovgrad in honour of king Peter I of Yugoslavia.

[edit] Inhabited places

Monument of Žarko Zrenjanin
Central square and Catholic church in Zrenjanin
Small bridge, Protestant church and Court House
Image:Obala Begeja i sinagoga.JPG
View of synagogue, which was demolished in 1941 by Nazis

Zrenjanin municipality includes the city of Zrenjanin and the following villages:

[edit] City quarters

[edit] Ethnic groups (2002 census)

The population of the Zrenjanin municipality is composed of:

Settlements with Serb ethnic majority are: Zrenjanin, Banatski Despotovac, Botoš, Elemir, Ečka, Klek, Knićanin, Lazarevo, Lukićevo, Melenci, Orlovat, Perlez, Stajićevo, Taraš, Tomaševac, Farkaždin, and Čenta. Settlements with Hungarian ethnic majority are: Lukino Selo and Mihajlovo. Settlement with Romanian ethnic majority is Jankov Most. Ethnically mixed settlements are: Aradac (with relative Serb majority) and Belo Blato (with relative Slovak majority).

[edit] Religion

Zrenjanin is the centre of the Roman Catholic diocese of the Banat region belonging to Serbia.

[edit] Architectural monuments

Main facade of the National museum building
Trade academy decorated with sgraffito technique

[edit] Tourism

Zrenjanin has many places of interest like City Hall, the Cathedral, Freedom Square, King Aleksandar I Street, etc.

Hotel "Vojvodina" is situated on Liberty Square (*** category). There is a Tourist Information Office in the building of National Museum (Subotićeva 1).

[edit] Sports

Zrenjanin has a long sports tradition. First clubs were established during 1880s.

Zrenjanin was the home town of Proleter football club from 1947 until 2005. Today, FK Banat plays it's games at Karađorđev Park Stadium in Serbian Premier League.

[edit] Twin towns

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Municipalities and cities of Serbia Image:Flag of Serbia (state).svg

da:Zrenjanin de:Zrenjanin eo:Zrenjanin hr:Zrenjanin it:Zrenjanin pl:Zrenjanin ro:Becicherecu Mare, Banatul Central ru:Зренянин sr:Зрењанин sh:Zrenjanin sv:Zrenjanin


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