The Danube bicycle track

The Danube
The river that units Europe


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Danube Regional Development Project

History of Apatin

Apatin is situated in the north-western part of the spacious plain in Bačka, on the left side of the Danube. It is considered one of Vojvodina’s pristine gems. The favourable geographic position, proximity to the Danube, and natural wealth of this area (fruitful ground, woods next to the river, abundance of fish in swampy regions and backwaters, and game in woods) attracted people through all ages and made them settle here. Because of these reasons, even in pre-historic times, cultures such as the Sarmatians, the Celts, the Goths and many others were replacing each other within this region, one by one.

The first mentioning of
Apatin in any written script
was in the year 1011, by the
Abbey of Kalocsa Bishopric.
In the 1st century, during the Roman conquest, the settlement was turned into a military trench with fortifications, and played an important role in the defense of the Pannonia province. In the 6th century the Slavs settled here, and in the 10th century the Hungarians as well, thereby establishing a state.

The first mentioning of Apatin in any written script was in the year 1011, by the Abbey of Kalocsa Bishopric. During the 14th and 15th centuries, the area became feudalistic, and in exchange for lands, the vassals would need to complete military service to the lord of the property. Many fishermen, hunters, and millers then began to settle down in this area.

In 1417, Apatin is mentioned as a property of Stefan Lazarević, crowned the Despot of Serbia in 1402. In 1526-1527 it belonged to the short-lived state of Emperor Jovan Nenad, and soon after this became part of the Ottoman Empire. During the Ottoman rule Apatin was mainly populated by ethnic Serbs.

In the end of the 17th century it became part of the Habsburg Monarchy. Many of the refugees during the massive migration of Serbs led by Arsenije Čarnojević in 1690, came to Apatin, Sombor and Prigrevica, thus the Serb population in this area increased. A new wave of colonisation occurred in 1748 when many German colonists settled in Apatin.

The colonists came from many different regions. The gathering centre was in Ulm, Germany and from that point they were transported by the Danube to Apatin, which became the main base of the German expansion in Vojvodina. The church was built near the port and the city square was also built at this time. The real estate value of buildings, such as schools, fishermen’s station, hand craft’s workshops, began to rise.
At the end of the 18th
century, a catastrophic
flood destroyed the old
town square, and ruined
half of the settlement.

The Chamber of Court decided to put forth economic objectives to better the economy, and in 1756 the brewery and distillery were built. In 1764 a large textiles factory was built. In 1760 Apatin was officially proclaimed a town and a main trade centre with a special status.

At the end of the 18th century, a catastrophic flood destroyed the old town square, and ruined half of the settlement. The new square was built north-westward from the brewery. The town as seen today, began to take shape. During the 18th and in the early part of 19th century, Apatin had prospered economically, mostly because of developed trade, handcraft and shipbuilding.

In 1848-1849 Apatin was part of the Serbian Voivodship, a Serb autonomous region within Austrian Empire, and between 1849 and 1860 it was part of the Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat, a separate Austrian province. In 1867 Apatin was part of the Hungarian Kingdom again.

In the year of 1869 numerous banks and saving-banks were established, and that opened the door to industrial development. A great number of brickyards produced brick and tile, which were used to construct many buildings in Vienna and almost all in Pest. In 1912 Apatin was connected to Sombor and Sonta by the railroad, and the following year, a shipyard was founded. Today, the shipyard has been modernized as it the only shipyard on the whole Danube which has a special lift for quickly drawing boats out onto the docks.

In 1918, as part of Banat, Bačka and Baranja, Apatin became part of the Kingdom of Serbia, which later together with the Kingdom of Montenegro and the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs formed the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (renamed to Yugoslavia in 1929). Between 1929 and 1941, Apatin was part of the Danube Banovina, one of the provinces of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Since 1945 Apatin was part of the new Socialist Yugoslavia, within the People’s Republic of Serbia and the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.

Between 1992 and 2003, Apatin was part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, between 2003 and 2006 part of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and since 2006 it is part of an independent Serbia.