Tvrđa Osijek is a baroque citadel created on the foundations of an existing old historic town which was located on the key crossing of the river Drava. It was created as a part of the strategic efforts of Prince Eugene of Savoy to consolidate the defense of his empire by the construction of a series of baroque citadels. This project was conducted to strengthen the defenses against the Ottoman invasion. The construction of Tvrđa was completed in 1712. The upgrades and annexes were built up until the 19th century. Its looks and architecture were heavily influenced by the low-land citadels of Holland. The citadel had four big fortified entrances Vodena, Nova, Valpovačka and Carska gates. They, coupled with the walls made an impressive fortification.
The citadel is filled with notable landmarks such as the Square of the Holy Trinity, Guard Station building, St. Michael’s church, and various baroque palaces. The Square of the Holy Trinity is the center of focus inside Tvrđa Osijek and it is the most striking city square in Osijek to this day. The Guard Station building is located on the Square of the Holy Trinity. It is the square’s most notable feature, which draws looks thanks to its peculiar shape. As it name suggests, it was used as a guard station back in the days of Ottoman threat, but today it serves a very different purpose. It is the home of the Archeological museum and as such worth the visit. The Square also features the statue of the Holy Trinity, which was placed there in an attempt to protect the inhabitants from the return of the plague.
Saint Michael’s church is located on the Križanić square. It is one of the most notable buildings located inside the city walls of Tvrđa Osijek. Next to it, there is a former Jesuit monastery that was turned into barracks later on.
In the 19th century, an initiative to demolish the city walls in order to enable the expansion of the city started. Emperor Franz Joseph the 1st stopped them, but sadly not for good. In 1923 the decision was made to start with the demolition of the walls. Of the four monumental entrances, only the Vodena vrata – Water gates survived the destruction, and only two of the bastions of the star like fort survived.
Even though the devastation severely damaged the looks of the citadel it is still extremely impressive. All of this is evidence by the fact that Tvrđa is on UNESCO’s shortlist to be included in the UNESCO’s world heritage list.
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