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- Municipality: Vršac
- Postal code: 26300
- Area code: ( +381 ) 13
LEGEND OF VRŠAC
Once upon a time lived a man who had three sons. They lived on a desolate mountain, in abject poverty, and could not make ends meet. When the father realized that they could no longer go on like that, he decided that they should leave home and look for a better place to live. And so they did. The father and his three sons took along their few possessions and set off. They had to walk a long a weary way, they climbed over the hills and mountains, made their way through deserts and valleys and across lakes and rivers, seeking a good and happy patch of land.
They travelled for days on end and for weeks on end, but found nothing. And then, just after crossing a very big river, far in the North they spotted some purple hills. After several days of walking the father and his sons came closer to these hills only to see the woods full of wild animals, marshes and lakes rich in fish and huge fertile meadows. Delighted, the father said:
– We will settle down here!
After a quick rest, the father took out his bow and three arrows and handed them out to his three sons, saying:
– My dear sons, each of you should shoot an arrow this bow, and, wherever your arrow falls is where you will raise a building of some kind.
When the oldest son shot his arrow a sudden gust of wind took it and sent it on top of a hill. He decided to build a fortress there. Next came the middle son. Releasing the string, he promised that at whatever place his arrow landed he would build a town. When the youngest son shot his arrow the wind took it far away behind the hill, and he promised to build a monastery there.
The promises of the three sons pleased their father very much, so he gathered them together and said:
– My dear sons, I’ m very pleased with your wise decisions and promises. You will be remembered for them for a long time. I’ m already an old man and have no strength for great deeds, but what I can do is to plant a vineyard amongst the buildings you will raise. It will be our connection and our joy for ever. . .
And that is exactly what happened.
HISTORY OF VRŠAC
With its fertile plains, woods abundant in game and extensive marsh abundant in fish, this area at the crossroads of routes offered ideal conditions for human settlements already in prehistoric times.
The earliest traces of human settlements date back to 20,000 years ago – the Lower Palaeolithic age. Archaeological finds found in this area confirm that it has been continuouslly inhabited ever since, throughout all the historical periods. Turbulent history, conflicts, wars and various rulers contributed to successive disappearance and re – esttablishmentnof human settlements with different cultures and s0cial structures.
According to the existing material evidence, the first people known to have lived in this region were the Thracians, and then the Scythians, Cymmerians and Celts, Dacians and Romans.
Up to the 5th century, the area of the present -day Vršac was inhabited by the Sarmatians, but the Huns, Gepids, Vandals and Avars also had their periods of domination.
The beginning of the 6th century saw the start of the arrival and settling down of the Slavs, and the end of the 9th century of the Hungarians. Subsequent settling down of the Bulgarians and Hungarians did not significantly change the predominantly Slavic ethnic structure in this region.
It is not known exactly when the town came into being; it probably evolved slowly and continually, over a long period of time. The earliest written document of Vršac is a report written by a monk to Hungarian King Bella IV in 1439. In 1494 it was recorded that a cask of Vršac wine had been sold at 10. 5 ducats at the court of King Vladislaus.
On the hill, towering above the town is the fortress ( the Vršac Tower ) that dates back to the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th century. From that time up to 1456 when it was eventually conquered, the Ottomans made frequent attacks on Vršac, Evliya Celebi, Ottoman travel writer, described the then Vršac as a small oriental – type town of about 300 houses.
Upon the liberation from Ottoman rule in 1716. this area passed under Austria – Hungarian control. Thus, Vršac gained independence from the local nobility and became subordinate only to the imperial court in Vienna. This development contributet to its rapid progress, as a result of which Vršac, previously a constituent of Timsoara District, in 1720 became the centre of a newly founded District in its own right. In 1738 and 1762 the town was struck by the plague, whilst in 1738 and 1788 it was exposed to the
incursions of the Ottomans. Even so, the 18th century was a period of the town’ s intensive development. With the arrival of German winegrowers grape growing and wine production further increased, and, as well, the town of Vršac, became a centre of mining and forestry District.
The 18th century was a period during which the small town grew into a modern, urban settlement. It saw the opening of a brewery, first silk factories, the post office and pharmacy, schools . . . During this period many buildings were built such as the Chapel on the Hill, the votive St Rocco Chapel, the Residential Palace of Banat Eparchy, the Assumption Church and the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas. By the end of the 18th century Vršac’ s population expanded to almost 9, 000.
In early 1794 the unification of two Vršac’ s municipalities, Serbian and German, took place, whereupon they embarked on struggle to gain the status of a privileged town i. e. to liberate themselves from corvee and taxes by paying a ransom. In 1804 Vršac obtained the Charter of Trading Rights and in 1817 the status of Free Imperial Town, which meant the fulfilment of the last condition for the town’ s economic and cultural advancement.
THE NAME OF VRŠAC
The first record of the name Vršac was found in some documents of 1439. Prior to that, in the 14th century, the town was referred to as Podvrsac and Podvrsan, meaning ” settlement below the summit ” . The name Vršac is of Slavic origin and it derived from the word verh – vrh meaning ” summit ” .
COAT OF ARMS
There is a Latin inscription in the ring around the city – arms by the edge: SIGILLUM PRIVILEGIATAE COMMUNITATIS VERSCHEZ 1804, the translation of which reads ” the signet of the privileged community of Vršac, 1804 ” .
This signet was made the official coat of arms of the town of Vršac under the Municipal Statute of 1964.