Cultural Heritage

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The Eltz Palace Complex

The Eltz Family Palace Complex in Vukovar is one of the most monumental feudal architectural complexes in Slavonija, comprising the palace, former residence of the Eltz family, four baroque-style manor houses where the administrators of the large feudal estate used to live, farm buildings, the St. Roch Chapel, the Greenhouse (”Oranžerija”), present-day gallery, and gardens extending from the palace to the Danube. The major historicism-style intervention in the early 1900s, based on the designs of the Viennese architect Viktor Siedek, gave the complex its final appearance. The castle now houses the Vukovar City Museum. The Eltz Castle Complex was almost fully destroyed in the Croatian War of Independence. The funds for its reconstruction were provided by the Croatian Government through the project “Exploration, Reconstruction and Revitalisation of Cultural Heritage Ilok-Vukovar-Vučedol“.

Vukovar Municipal Museum

Vukovar Municipal Museum, located in Eltz Palace, was founded in 1946 following a donation of Roman coins, furniture, weapons and paintings from Antun Bauer, PhD. The museum was initially located in the Mail coach building in the old Baroque centre and moved to Eltz Palace in 1966. Until 1991, the museum had a holding of around 50 thousand exhibits that constituted four separate departments in special buildings: the Municipal Museum with county collection in the Eltz Palace, the Bauer Collection and Artwork gallery which includes the most complete collection of Croatian art in the Mail coach building, the Memorial museum dedicated to Nobel laureate Lavoslav Ružička and his birthplace and the Museum of Recent History at Workers’ Hall.

During the Homeland War, Eltz Palace suffered a lot of damage and so did the collection kept there: a part of the collection was completely ruined, a part was irrevocably lost and a part of the collection was taken to Serbia. After years of work and diplomatic activities from the Croatian Ministry of Culture, a part of the collection was returned to Vukovar on 13 December 2001. Between 1991 and 1997, Vukovar Municipal Museum operated in the Mimara Museum in Zagreb. At the end of 1992, the collection entitled the Vukovar Museum in Exile was set up and thus a collection of donations from Croatian and later European artists was created for Vukovar. This collection currently holds more than 1500 works of modern Croatian and European art. It represents the beginning of Vukovar’s cultural restoration and has found its place in the renovated Eltz Palace, alongside other collections. The renovated Eltz Palace is a unique museum, gallery, scientific and multimedia centre that preserves and presents cultural heritage as an element of national identity and continuity of life in the area.

In 2013 Vukovar Municipal Museum has won the prestigious Anton Štifanić award for its extraordinary contribution to the development of Croatian tourism, while for its engagement in the cultural restoration of Vukovar and the return of life to the devastated town and involvement of the local community in its work, Vukovar Municipal Museum won the prestigious European Silletto award – EMYA 2016.

Vučedol archaeological site

Vučedol archaeological site is located at the Danube riverside, 5 km downstream from Vukovar and is one of the most important sites of Eneolithic period. What makes it special is the fact that because of the value of its finds and the potential for determination of the profile of the whole site, an entire Eneolithic culture was named after this site, which is its point of origin.

Vučedol’s exceptional geostrategic position made it a place that was permanently inhabited. The deepest layers hold preserved traces of the oldest Neolithic culture, the Starčevo culture. Still, continuous life in Vučedol, constantly intertwined, can be followed in Eneolithic times, when the Baden, the Kostolac and the Vučedol cultures supplanted each other over a period of 700 years. Vučedol has seen its biggest growth at the time of the Vučedol culture, which is dated to the period from 3000 to 2200 BC.

Life at Vučedol took place on three inhabited plateaus in an arch that encircled Gradac, whose isolated position and appearance awarded it the significance of an acropolis. It was a settlement of farmers, livestock breeders, hunters and copper smelters.

The outstanding technical quality and aesthetic values of its material culture, in which the production of pottery especially stands out, speak of a highly developed civilisation. It is characterised by exceptional artistic inspiration and creative force that initiated a new path of civilisation. Vučedol ceramics draw attention with a perfect harmony of shape and placement of decorations. The most famous example is the Vučedol Dove, a cult pot in the shape of a bird and richly encrusted, which was found in 1938 at the Gradac site.

The Vučedol Orion, considered to be the oldest Indo-European calendar, belongs to the Vučedol culture. The vessel with the calendar was found in Vinkovci, on the site of the Slavonia Hotel. The vessel is divided into four bands symbolising the four seasons, while individual ideograms that are systematically repeated represent the passage of months. The discovery of this oldest calendar is evidence of a highly-developed civilisation and culture in the area more than five thousand years ago.

Vučedol Culture Museum

In the period between 3000 to 2500 BC the right bank of the Danube river in the easternmost part of Croatia was inhabited by the Indo-European population known under the name of the Vučedol culture. The Vučedol culture is the most impressive European equivalent to the biggest historic and civilization leap which began in 3000 BC with the appearance of the first alphabets and states. The high standards of the Vučedol culture were first achieved through an economy related to cattle breeding, and in later phases on mining and copper metallurgy based on a new revolutionary technological process of casting in two-part moulds, which was the first serial casting. The Vučedol culture also produced the world’s first bronze later on.

The need for copper mines resulted in the expansion of the Vučedol culture from Slavonia into the wide area of Central and South-East Europe.

The Vučedol notion of the world reflects in vessels with the oldest European ideograms. All ornaments on the vessels consist of celestial symbols, with elements of Water, Horizon, Earth, Sun, Venus and Mars as well as characteristic galaxies in the night sky.

The Vučedol Culture Museum was established as a national museum by Decision of the Croatian Government in 2013. This is the result of years of work to have Vučedol’s significance recognised and classified among the top ranks of archaeological parks and marked on the archaeological map of this part of Europe. The museum is located beneath the Streim Vineyard plateau, a part of a multi-layered settlement, which has lived with varying degrees of intensity from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages.

Since its foundation, the Vučedol Culture Museum has won many awards and in 2018 it received the Croatian National Tourist Board Annual award for Innovation of the year.

To adults, children and families who want to experience something new, the Vučedol Culture Museum offers something new, nice and interesting – a universe of discovery and inspiration with its incomparable and unique combination of location, architecture, pleasant atmosphere and, most of all, historic value presented in a modern way. Every room has its own theme, so you can find out what the first Indo-European Vučedol “basket”-house looked like, you can see the oldest prehistoric four-wheeled coach, the oldest European calendar based on observation of the winter sky, see how the first serial metal and bronze casting in the world was done, discover the richness of shapes and decorations of Vučedol pottery, see in situ the place where the Vučedol Dove was found, or was it actually a partridge? Find out more about the rituals of the Vučedol’s inhabitants, come and see the loveliest Vučedol boot and the vessel used to brew the first beer!

Historical Baroque centre

The historical Baroque centre of Vukovar that creates the recognisable visual identity of the town is a wider area encompassing Ulica dr. Franje Tuđmana in Old Vukovar on the Vuka right bank, together with Josipa Jurja Strossmayera and Županijska streets in New Vukovar on the Vuka left bank. The inner centre is under protection as an urban historical complex.

Old Vukovar’s centre is recognisable by houses with baroque-style arches built in the typical style of provincial Baroque of Maria Theresa’s times. In the olden days, they used to host craftsmen’ workshops and shops, speaking about the economic power of the wealthier stratum of Vukovar’s citizens. During the 18th century, simultaneously with the construction of the recognisable baroque-style Old Vukovar, the New Vukovar area develops in a significantly different style. Most buildings in that part of town situated on the left bank of Vuka river display features of clean and restrained late Baroque classicism. This rounded Baroque complex has remained the dominant stylistic layer in historic Vukovar to these days, featuring numerous architectural monuments of exceptional artistic and ambiental value.

Iconic buildings:

The Workers’ Hall (Grand Hotel)

The Worker’s Hall (in Croatian: Radnički dom), also called Grand Hotel, is the most recognisable monument of historicist architecture. Its construction, taking place from 1895 to 1897, was commissioned by Paunović, a landowner who wanted to build a hotel in line with the famous architect Vladimir Nikolić’s plans. In addition to offering hospitality services, Grand Hotel had a theatre hall as well. The hotel had been leased and in 1918 it was sold to a new owner Mišo Gotfrid. At that time, the labour movement in Vukovar was growing strong and the workers wanted to build a workers’ hall. As Grand Hotel was once more offered for sale in 1919, workers established a cooperative and began raising funds by selling stakes in the co-op to purchase the hotel and turn it into the Workers’ Hall. The Second Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia was held in the Workers’ Hall in 1920.

Syrmia County Palace

The construction of this late Baroque building took place from 1771 to 1777, featuring distinguished sculpture decorations on the façades. In the middle of the regular tall tympanum there is the crest of Syrmia County given to the Town by Empress Maria Theresa in 1747. The building is connected to the palace of former County Administration (1889-1902) and its courtyard was the home of a late Baroque chapel for the condemned, where confessions were held for those sentenced to death. The complex is registered as an “A”-category cultural monument and it has been restored to its historical image, with the Split-Dalmatia County donating the funds.

Old Water Tower

As one of the oldest structures of that kind in Croatia, the Old Water Tower was built in 1913 at the location of former market. The structure was built by civil engineers J. Funtak and Karlovsky according to plans made by J. Banheyer. There are a drilled well and underground water tank below the water tower and another tank on the top. The Old Water Tower is one of the most recognisable motifs of Old Vukovar. Today it holds a central place at the main square in front of Hotel Dunav and the Town Hall. Not bad for a 100-year-old!

Mail coach building

The building was built in the second half of the 18th century and its distinguishing feature is the elegance of the long colonade. The building housed the Vukovar Municipal Museum, but after the heritage collections were moved to Eltz Manor, the Bauer Collection and the Artwork gallery were active here until 1990. During the Homeland War, the building suffered significant damage. Now rebuilt, it shines again the way it once did.

The Magistrate building

Constructed in the late classicist architecture style, the Magistrate building was built to house the local administration. The tympanum displays the year of its construction MDCCCXVIII (1818) DOMUS OPPIDANA. The facade is enriched with capitals and pilasters. There are arcades on the ground floor below the first-floor windows.

Prior to the 1991 Homeland War, Croatian Radio Vukovar was situated there. Today, it is there again. During the war, the brave voice of Croatian Radio Vukovar’s editor and war correspondent Siniša Glavašević reached out from the building, relentlessly sending gut-wrenching but realistic reports from the besieged town.

Church of Saint Nicholas

Parochial Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas was built between 1733 and 1737, featuring elements of provincial folk Baroque. The iconostasis was placed in 1757 and the carvings were made by Firtler, a sculptor from Osijek. The church was expanded and adapted several times to accommodate the addition of the chapel of Saint Georgije the Great Martyr, the expanded choir for the Serbian singing society Javor, etc. The last significant adaptation was made in 1935. The tower next to the choir houses a room where church books and old office files dating from 1732 onward are kept.

Church of Sant Roch

It is situated in Županijska ulica, the main street of New Vukovar. The Church is harmoniously integrated into the Eltz Manor complex, even though it was built nine years prior to the Manor and is not its original part. It was built using the funds donated by Antun Pöhr de Rosenthall in 1740 as a covenant (plague) chapel and at the same time as a filial church for German immigrants in that part of the town. Its distinguishing feature was the altar painting featuring St Roch, St Sebastian and St Rosalia, the protectors from the plague.  During the classicist renovation in 1805, the initial baroque corpus of the chapel was expanded with a lateral oratory and vestry, in addition to constructing a picturesque bell tower with a shingle roof. The Church was further renovated in 1858 and 1904, as well as after World War II. The donor for the post-Homeland War renovation was the Šibenik-Knin County.

Bećarski križ (Reveller’s Cross)

This oldest and largest public crucifix in Vukovar gave its name to the entire area of Old Town – Kod Bećarskog križa (at the Reveller’s Cross). The crucifix was erected in 1805 as the first public stone crucifix in the town (earlier ones, dating from the 18th century, were made of wood). As early as the late 19th century, the crucifix was surrounded by an iron fence and miniature trees were growing within. With its scale and rustic craftsmanship Bećarski križ was an example of public sculpture, even though its class profile and decorations bear a clear classicist mark. The local Serbian government demolished the crucifix in 1996, but it was renewed later on.

St Philip and Jacob Church and the Franciscan monastery

The Franciscan monks had a very important role in the Vukovar area over a number of centuries, leaving a permanent mark not only in the domain of religious teachings but also in the education and cultural development of the area. The Franciscans have been present in these areas ever since the medieval period, when there were seven Franciscan monasteries in the Vukovar County.

During the Ottoman rule, the work of the Franciscans was of vital importance, as they remained with their congregations throughout the period. Immediately after the war for liberation from the Ottomans, the Franciscans returned to their old counties and founded their residences, continuing to work diligently to this day.

In 1723, the Bishop of Pecs Nesselrod allowed the Franciscans to build a church and a monastery in Vukovar. That is when the construction of the monumental Franciscan complex, the oldest and the most recognisable building of the baroque Vukovar, began. The essential sections of this complex were completed during the 13 years of its construction, but due to later additions of floors to the monastery, the construction continued until the end of the 18th century.

Ambrozije Janković painted the oil paintings at the church altar around 1760. The Franciscan monastery in Vukovar with the St Philip and Jacob Church gained its final appearance after the historicist renovation and the expansion of the church, which were done from 1896 to 1897 in line with the architect R. Jordan’s plans.  That is when the initial single-nave church was expanded in length and width with two side naves – chapels.

With 58 metres in length, Vukovar Church is the third largest church in Croatia, following Zagreb and Đakovo cathedrals.

The Franciscan monastery in Vukovar was a nursery of faith, education and culture.  The Franciscans were the immediate providers of elementary schooling for Catholic youth.  In 1733 the Administration of the Franciscan province established a provincial college of philosophy in the Vukovar monastery that remained active over the next 50 years. One of the most famous lecturers at the Franciscan School of Philosophy was a man from Vukovar, Fra Josip Janković. Being influential in the Vatican, he received the body of Saint Boniface the Martyr from Pope Benedict XIV, which was moved to Vukovar and laid to rest at the St Philip and Jacob Church. From 1804 to 1900, a theology college was active in the monastery with some longer and shorter interruptions.

Over the centuries, the hard-working Franciscans have been gathering valuable art objects: paintings, statues, archival records, books and liturgical vessels. The rich and very valuable monastery library, with collections that made it one of the most valuable old libraries in Croatia, owned 17 000 tomes, and the monastery treasury held rich silver and gold plated artistic liturgical vessels made between the 16th and the 20th century.  Artist paintings by baroque and later masters decorated altars, church walls and monastery rooms.

Up to the destruction during the Homeland War, when the church was completely destroyed and robbed and the Franciscans driven away, the Franciscan monastery and the St Philip and Jacob Church were the oldest preserved baroque monument and the oldest building in Vukovar in general. Today, the complex is restored and registered as an “A”-category cultural monument.

The Birthplace of Lavoslav (Leopold) Ružička

The first Croatian Nobel laureate Lavoslav (Leopold) Ružička was born to a wealthy artisan family on 13 September 1887 in Vukovar. He lived in Osijek since the age of four, completing his elementary and high schooling there. After completing the Classical Gymnasium, he enrolled to the High Technical School in Karlsruhe in Germany. In less than four years, in 1910, he graduated chemistry, writing a dissertation in organic chemistry. He primarily worked with natural compounds, especially dealing with physiologically active and fragrant substances.

In 1939, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry. A year later, in 1940, Ružička became an honorary academician at the then JAZU (Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts) and an honorary doctorate holder of the Croatian University. That same year he was awarded the title of an honorary citizen of Vukovar. Together with his associates, Ružička published some 580 scientific papers by 1960, He died in Zürich on 26 September 1976, aged 90.

Today, Ružička’s Birthplace in Vukovar hosts a congress centre and visitors can meet Ružička and research his work with the help of his hologram installed there.



Croatian Hall Vukovar (the Town Theatre)

Public cultural institution Croatian Hall Vukovar organizes numerous cultural events throughout the year, including plays, concerts and exhibitions. The event schedule can be found at

The construction of this architecturally unusual, elongated building was originally completed in 1922. The building was constructed according to plans by famous architect A. Feudenreich and it is situated at the bank of the Danube, near Eltz Manor.

After the renewal, it comprises a unique public cultural institution together with Lavoslav Ružička’s Birthplace.

Theatre troupe Scena Martin operates within the Croatian Hall. 


Hrvatska turistička zajednica
Ministarstvo turizma RH
Grad Vukovar
Hrvatska gospodarska komora
Turistička zajednica Vukovarsko-srijemske županije