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Užice

Užice (Serbian Cyrillic: Ужице, IPA: ) is a town and municipality located in Serbia at 43.87° North, 19.84° East. The 2002 Census Data records that the town has a total population of 55,025. Including the suburban settlements of Buar and Sevojno, the Užice city proper has 63,577 inhabitants. It is the administrative center of the Zlatibor District of Serbia. The town is located on the banks of Đetinja River.

History

Ancient era

The region surrounding Užice was first settled by Illyrians, specifically the Parthini and Autariatae tribes. Their tombs are found throughout the region. This region was annexed by the Roman Empire, becoming part of the province of Dalmatia.

Medieval era and Ottoman rule

The Medieval Age saw the coming of the Slavic tribes, followed by the arrival of Serbs from White Serbia. Around the year 1180, Grand Župan Stefan Nemanja annexed Užice to Raška, which had priorly been under the control of Župan Stracimir. When King Dragutin abdicated in favor of his brother Milutin, he retained control of Užice region and was given the Mačva region by the Hungarian king, of which he formed the Kingdom of Srem. When King Dragutin died, his lands were annexed to Serbia. After the death of Tsar Stefan Dušan, Užice came under the control of Vojislav Vojinović, who was forcefully overthrown by Nikola Altomanović. Lazar of Serbia and Tvrtko I of Bosnia defeated Nikola Altomanović, and divided his lands between themselves. Thus, Užice came under the control of Knez Lazar.

Užice fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1463, and was part of the Belgrade Pašaluk until 1807, when it was liberated by the Serbian Army, during the First Serbian Uprising. It was the administrative seat of the region and district, with many merchants and craftsmen. Only at the end of the 19th century, it has started developing as an industrial town. So, a small factory making blankets and homespun felt started operating in Užice in 1868, and a leather factory was founded in 1880. Nevertheless, Užice was the first town in Serbia with a hydroelectric power plant based on Nikola Tesla's principles. It was built on the Đetinja River in 1900.

Republic of Užice

In 1941, Užice was liberated by the Partizans, who chose it as the capital of the Republic of Užice. This republic was a short-lived military mini-state that existed in the autumn of 1941 in the western part of Nazi-occupied Serbia.

The Republic of Užice comprised almost the whole of western Serbia, with a population of more than 300,000 people. It was located between the Skrapež river in the north, the river Drina in the west, the river Zapadna Morava in the east, and the Uvac river in the south.

At that time, the factories and workshops in Užice mainly produced items for military use; trains and roads were functioning, books and newspapers were published, while war was engulfing both Yugoslavia and the world in general.

In November 1941, the German army re-occupied this territory, while the majority of Partisan forces escaped to Bosnia, Sandžak and Montenegro.

Yugoslav era

Within the former Yugoslavia (established after the Second world War), Užice was renamed "Titovo Užice" (Титово Ужице). From 1992, following the collapse of the pro-communist administration, "Titovo" (meaning Tito's) was removed, leaving the original city name Užice. It was one of eight towns renamed Tito's town in Yugoslavia. Due to being "Titovo" and central-planning communist system, Užice received significant amounts of investments in infrastructure and local factories, which turned the city among highy developted ones of its size in former Yugoslavia. Following the break-up of the region, all the towns dropped the "Titovo" title.

1990s

During the 1990s Užice's economy performed very bad due to economic conditions in the region (war, political instability, etc).

In 1999 the city was bombed multiple times during the Operation Allied Force. The largest scale of bombing occurred on May 6 1999 when NATO forces bombed a large number of roads and highways, the airport, civilian buildings and government buildings. After the largest bombing operation in Užice occurred, thousands of people turned out at the city's main square to protest the bombings and destruction of the city and killings of civilians.

Modern Užice

Today, industry is the heart of the Užice municipality economic development. The most developed industrial branches are non-ferrous metallurgy, metal working and textile industries. Užice municipality has a 30% share of the total industrial production of the region, and the major volume of industrial products made in Užice municipality is exported.

The most significant economic enterprises are: in non-ferrous metallurgy field Valjaonica bakra and Valjaonica aluminijuma (Copper rolling mill and Aluminium rolling mill), in metalworking field "Metaloprerada", "Alfaplast", "Tvrdi metal", "Woksal", "Sinter", "Autoventil", "FASAU", in textile industry "Frotex", "Kadinjača", "Desa Petronijević". The other bigger companies are: Factory producing chemical products "Kotroman" in Mokra Gora, factory for leather and fur processing "Partizanka", The utilities for fruits-brandy production in "Agroindustrija" and Inex "Klekovača". There is a number of smaller industrial companies, too.

Apart from industry, some other economic and non-economic activities have also been developed, like: building construction and civil engineering, agriculture, traffic, trade, catering, banking, health service, educational system, cultural-artistic activities, etc.

Municipality

The municipality of Užice includes the following settlements:

Demographics (2002 census)

Municipality Ethnic Composition (2002 census)
Ethnic group Population
Serbs 81,375
Montenegrins 278
Yugoslavs 149
Others 1,220
TOTAL 83,022
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Politics

Percentage of votes won for the municipality parliament in the 2008 local elections:

Party % of vote
For a European Užice 41.5
Serbian Radical Party 19.4
For Užice to win - Democratic Party of Serbia, New Serbia, Pensioners party and League for Užice coalition 24.6
Liberal Democratic Party 5.7
Socialist Party of Serbia 8.8
Source: Local Elections in Serbia 2008

Economy

Užice exports fresh food and vegetables to Europe and the United States.

The city has a developed textile, leather, machine and metal industry. Most companies have decided to build their factories on the outskirts of the city due to good communication connections, notably the close proximity of the main highway, railroad and airport.

There is also a large ammunitions factory within Užice. Prvi Partizan was established in 1928, in Užice. At first the company carried the name 'FOMU'. Today, Prvi Partizan makes over 350 types of ammunition, and is an important partner of Zastava Arms. The company has a unique location, as it is partially located in a hill that is overlooking the city.

Užice-Ponikve Airport is currently under reconstruction, and as a result cargo airlines will mostly use it for transporting goods. The airport management confirmed interest in low cost, scheduled and chartered airlines.

Culture

Užice is a cultural city filled with history. The library and theatre comprise the main square in the city centre. Also located in the area are newspaper agencies, radio and television stations and publishing companies. The city gallery is located in the low lands of Pašinovac, tucked in the oldest area of the city. The national museum opens the doors of the cultural/historical treasures of the city, and with its exhibitions, shows the centuries of rich Užice history. It is located on the Eastern side of the main city street.

The city is filled with many statues of heroes from Užice especially on the eastern side of the city, called Dovarje.

The Gymnasium of Užice is one of the oldest high school institutions in Serbia. Beside the gymnasium, there are also several other primary and secondary schools and faculties located in Užice.

Milutin Uskoković, writer from Užice, was admitted the author of the first modern novel in Serbia.

Music

Music created in the Užice area has been heard world wide. There is no cultural event in Serbia where you don’t hear the “Užičanka” kolo (also called Užičko kolo, "the Užican kolo dance"), and many others in the Balkans have heard of it. While Užice was part of the Ottoman Empire, one song stayed in the hearts of the people of Užice, “Oj Užice” translated into "Hey Užice". According to the tradition, when the Ottoman Turks had to leave Užice in mid-19th century, their women walked through Terazije area in the town centre, singing this beautiful song devoted to the city they loved.

Architecture

Some distinctive buildings in Užice are:

Media

Uzice is turning into the regional media center of western Serbia.

See also

References

External links

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