Kragujevac (Serbian Cyrillic: Крагујевац, ) is a city in Serbia, the largest city of the Šumadija region and the administrative centre of Šumadija District. It is situated on the banks of the Lepenica River.
Despite its late foundation (1476), Kragujevac is the city of many firsts. Being the first capital of modern Serbia (1818- 1839), the first constitution in the Balkans was proclaimed in this city in 1835. Further on, the first full- fledged university in the newly independent Serbia was founded in 1838, preceded by the first grammar school (Gimnazija), Printworks (both in 1833), professional National theatre (1835) and the Military academy (1837).
Belgrade took the lead by becoming the seat of throne in 1841. The University of Kragujevac was not reestablished until 1976. Contemporary Kragujevac is known for its weapon, munition and Zastava car factories, which produces the Yugo, Florida, Zastava 10 (Fiat Punto, by licence) , Opel Astra by GM licence and Skala automobiles. It is the fourth largest city in the country after Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš.
The name of the town derived from Serbian word "kraguj", which is a name used for one sort of the bird (hunting hawk), thus the name means "the place of the kragujs". Old maps show the name as Krakow.
Kragujevac was first mentioned in the medieval period as related to the public square built in a settlement, while the first written mention of the city was in the Turkish Tapu-Defter in 1476. Over 200 archaeological sites in Šumadija confirm that the region's first human settlements occurred 40,000 years ago, during the Paleolithic era. Kragujevac's history runs deeper than that of Serbia's capital city, Belgrade.
Kragujevac experienced a lot of historical turbulence, not always without severe casualties. First mentioned in Turkish documents from the 15th century as a "village of Kragujevdza" (the name is derived from the bird griffin - "kraguj" in Serbian);
The city is located at crossroads. Given this location, the city has been devastated many times and has suffered great losses of life in a number of wars throughout history. It began to prosper after Serbia's liberation from Turkish rule in 1818, when Prince Miloš Obrenović proclaimed it the capital of the new Serbian State. The first Serbian constitution was proclaimed here in 1835 and the first idea of independent electoral democracy. The first law on the printing press was passed in Kragujevac in 1870. Kragujevac, the capital, was developing and cherishing modern, progressive, free ideas and resembled many European capitals of that time.
Apart from contemporary political influence, Kragujevac became the cultural and educational center of Serbia. Important institutions built during that time include Serbia's first secondary school (Gimnazija), first pharmacy, and first printing press. Kragujevac gave rise to many international scholars, professors, academics, scientists, artists and statesmen.
The turning point in the overall development of Kragujevac was in 1851 when the Cannon Foundry began production, beginning a new era in the city’s economic development. The main industry of the 19th and 20th century was military production. Kragujevac became one of Serbia’s largest exporters in 1886, when the main Belgrade – Niš railway connected through Kragujevac.
New centuries brought new wars. During World War I, Kragujevac again became the capital of Serbia (1914-1915), and the seat of many state institutions - even the Supreme Army Command was housed within the Court House building. During the war, Kragujevac lost 15% of its population.
Kragujevac underwent a number of ordeals, the worst probably having been the October massacre of many males and a number of schoolchildren during World War II, when the Nazis shot and killed between 6,000 and 8,000 people from October 19 to October 21, 1941, in retaliation for a partisan attack on German soldiers - 50 people for one wounded, 100 for a dead soldier. Among the killed was a whole generation of boys taken directly from the school (1st to 8th graders). The monument for the executed pupils is a symbol of the city. This atrocity has inspired a poem Krvava bajka (Bloody fairy tale) by Desanka Maksimović, a well known Serbian poet from the former Yugoslavia.
In the post-war period, Kragujevac developed more industry. Its main exports were passenger cars, trucks and industrial vehicles, hunting arms, industrial chains, leather, and textiles. The biggest industry, and the city's main employer was Zastava, which employed tens of thousands. The industry suffered under economic sanctions during the Milošević era, and was all but destroyed by the NATO bombing campaign in 1999. Despite a possible deal with the Italian auto manufacturer, Fiat, to reopen the factory, the city currently suffers from widespread unemployment.
Since 1976, Kragujevac has grown as a university centre. The University of Kragujevac includes the Faculties of Medicine, Engineering, Law, Economics, Philology, Arts, Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
The city of Kragujevac is divided into the following municipalities:
List of settlements in the municipalities of Kragujevac:
Ethnic groups in the municipal area of Kragujevac (including all municipalities):
|Ethnic Groups in the Municipal Area (2002 Census)|
|Macedonians (ethnic group)||326|
|Muslims by nationality||151|
Votes and seats in the municipality parliament won in the 2008 local elections:
Veroljub Stevanovic has said that, as his Together for Kragujevac-G17+ coalition is three seats short of a majority, he will discuss possible coalition arrangements with the SPS-led coalition and the "For a European Serbia" coalition that his alliance participated in for the parliamentary elections .
The architecture of Kragujevac displays a fusion of two different styles -- traditional Turkish (nowadays almost completely gone) and 19th century Vienna Secession style. Modern conceptions also appear throughout the city, firstly in the shape of post-war concrete (usually apartments designed to house those left homeless during World War II), and secondly the up-to-date glass offices reflecting the ambitious business aspects of modern architects.
Some important buildings and institutions in Kragujevac include:
Other forms of cooperation and city friendship similar to the twin/sister city programmes: