History of Zemun

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History of Zemun

     The past of Zemun extends through a very long space of time, beginning with Paleolitic hunters which traces were found on the high bank of Danube, near today's town. The oldest settlement on the region of today's Zemun has been founded in Neolit, and its remains still can be seen on the town cemetery. The succesion of various cultures on this soil-from the earlier Stone Age agricultural one, through the early metallic to the Bronze and Iron Ages-tells us of many intricate events and significant changes  in the development of human society in this region.
     One of the most important fortified settlements of Celtic-which arrived in the areas between the Sava and the Danube rivers in 4th century B.C. - was taurunum - today's Zemun.About A.D. 10, the Roman province of Pannonia was founded, so the Danube became the northern boundary of the Roman Empire, and Taurunum very imortant city and a seat of a Roman river fleet.
old.JPG (27728 bytes)In the period of the great migrations-from the end of the 4th century to the time of the definite fall of the state of the Avars, Zemun was exposed to the inroads and subjugations of different tribes - the Huns, Ostrogoths, Herules, Gepides, Avars and Slavs, and later also the Francs and the Bulgarians.
     After the Franc's name Mallevilla, in the 9th century for the first time appears topony Zemun, Slav's origin. Through the town passed few crusaders' armies, and in 1096 crusaders of Peter the Hermit conquered, robed and destroyed the city. Whole 12th century was marked with the Byzantine-Hungarian wars for predominance over these areas. At last, at the end of the same century, Zemun entered and remained within the frontiers of Hungary until the arival of the Turks.
     After several unsuccessful atempts, the Turks conquered Zemun and Belgrade in 1521. The Turkish rule lasted almost two century, till 1717, when southeast part of Srem and Zemun was taken over by the Austrian army. Zemun and the surrounding villages the became a feud of an aristocracy family Schonborn, but when the Belgrade Peace treaty (1739) fixed the Austrian-Turkish frontier along the Sava and Danube rivers, Zemun has gotten great importance, so in 1746 feudal government was abolished, and the city became a free military community in the Military Frontier. Town Hall (Magistrat) was founded in 1749. For the sake of trade with the East, 1730 was opened the Contumax-the main passage sanitary station for passengers and goods, as well as the Rastel-the passage station for the everyday trade.
     In the beginning of the 19th century Zemun was the most progressive and the most beautiful town within the Military Frontier. The city then was widened with new agricultural suburbs-Gornja varos (Upper Town) and Francenstal. The inhabitants of Zemun took a great part in the events in Serbia of that time, notably so in the First Serbian Uprising 1804-1813. Zemun also participated in the tumultuous events of 1848 and even for a certain period in 1849 was the centre of the Government of the Serbian Vojvodina and the seat of patriarch Josif Rajacic. When the Military Frontier was abolished, Zemun 1871 became a free royal town with civil government, within the boundaries of the Austro-Hungary Monarchy.

1901.jpg (15160 bytes) Zemun 1900       station.JPG (8948 bytes) Railway station

     Prosperity of the town and the riches of its inhabitants in the second part of 18th and in the 19th century exerted a great influence on cultural life. Many outstanding political and cultural personalities of that time lived or temporary stayed there. In Zemun existed few first schools, a high school (founded 1858) and Merchant academy (1883) and also library (1825), various cultural-artistical societies and few printing firms (first was founded 1849), as well as appeared several newapapers. Amusing and sport's life were also developed. Each religion had its churches. First hospital was founded even in 18th century, and in 1870 was founded a voluntary fire-fighting society. In the first part of 19 th century Zemun became an important steamboat station, and in 1883 was connected with railway tracks with Budapest and Wien and also with Serbia.
     The First World War official began by attack of Austro-Hungar army from Zemun to Belgrade on July 28th, 1914. After the battle of Cer, Serbian army conquered Zemun in a brief period of time, but soon it withdrew. A considerable number of Serbian volunteers and civilians retreated with the army, while the rest of Serbian inhabitants of Zemun were deported from the town, and turned back just during 1916. On 5th day of November, 1918, Serbian army liberated Zemun and town became a component part of the newly formed Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovens, later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

1925.jpg Zemun 1925          1935.jpg Zemun 1935

     In the period between two world wars, Zemun strongly developed, turning into one of the most powerful industrial centers of the country, which led to a considerable change of ethnic and social structure of its inhabitants. From 1934 Zemun was administrativly joined to Belgrade.
     After the defeat of Yugoslavia in the April War 1941, Zemun was again separated from Belgrade and it was joined to the so-called Independent State of Croatia. During the war, Zemun was significant center of the resistance movement, few thousand people from Zemun fought in the partisan army, and many inhabitants of Zemun, Specially Serbian, Jewish and Gipsy suffered and were killed in the enemy prisons and concentration camps. the Partisans and the Russian Army liberated Zemun on October 22nd, 1944. One year later Zemun again became an integral part of Belgrade.
     In the period after the Second World War Zemun records strong economic, social and cultural development. Town is widened, a lot of new objects were built, as well as two new settlements-Nova Galenika and Zemun polje. Today Zemun borough comprises of nine Srem's villages: Batajnica, Becmen, Boljevci, Dobanovci, Jakovo, Petrovcic, Progar, Surcin and Ugrinovci. Zemun borough has about 200.000 inhabitants.

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History Historical monuments City Park Quay Gardos Churches


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