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Viroviticko-podravska zupanija
Viroviticko-podravska zupanija

Viroviticko-Podravska zupanija, or Virovitica-Podravina County, one of Croatia's 20 self-governing units, is found in the northern part of Croatia, contributing to the state borders with Hungary. The said state border is outlined by the Drava River separating the two countries. In the northwest, the county borders Koprivnica-Krizevci County; to the southwest lies Bjelovar-Bilogora County, and to the south is located Pozega-Slavonia County, and to the east, Virovitica-Podravina neighbors Osijek-Baranja County. From a geographical point of view, Virovitica-Podravka County takes the lead in Croatia when it comes to arable land in terms of the number of residents. Agriculture plays a relatively crucial role in the county's future, reportedly being "the branch on which the future of this county is based."[11] The capital city, Virovitica, bears considerable history, as its area has been inhabited since prehistoric times.[1] Concerning the county itself, its history dates back to the 13th century.[7] However, beyond historical and cultural landmarks, Virovitica-Podravina also attracts tourists seeking outdoor attractions. One destination is the Papuk Nature Park in the southern part of the county, protected by UNESCO as a global geopark, featuring various sinkholes and caves.[8] In terms of local climate, the average temperature during summer months rests around 20°C.[5]

What Viroviticko-podravska zupanija is known for

The capital city of Virovitica-Podravina County, Virovitica, boasts several historical and cultural landmarks, including the Pejačević Castle, Church of St. Rocco, a century-old gymnasium, Pejačević Palace, Museum of the Franciscan Monastery, the building of the First Croatian Savings Bank, and the Virovitica City Museum, to name a few. Pejačević Castle was constructed in the 18th century, featuring a baroque-classicist style, and is surrounded by a city park. The Church of St. Rocco serves as an example of the Franciscan baroque style from the 18th century, while the century-old gymnasium is reported to be a symbol of knowledge and progress in the city. Other cultural spots include the Pejačević Palace, the Museum of the Franciscan Monastery, and the Virovitica City Museum, all of which hold and showcase various historical artifacts and provide insight into the city's history and culture.[9]

Viroviticko-Podravska zupanija's southern region holds the status as a UNESCO-designated Global Geopark, dedicated to preserving its natural heritage and geological history. The geopark encompasses the entire Papuk Nature Park, known for its diverse range of geological formations. Mount Papuk, which stands at 953 meters, has a considerable geological past that dates back to the Precambrian era. It includes a variety of rock formations, such as metamorphic rocks, Mesozoic sediments, carbonate rocks, and volcanic sedimentary complexes like Rupnica. Additionally, the geopark is home to karst phenomena, including sinkholes and caves, and its formation is closely linked to the evolution of the Pannonian Basin System, tectonic movements, volcanism, and sedimentation.[8] 

In general, Virovitica-Podravina County is a region bearing natural and historical heritage. It is home to the Drava River, the already-mentioned Geopark Papuk, and the Slatina Sequoia. The area offers a variety of landscapes, from plains and rivers to hills and forests, making it a fairly favorable destination for nature enthusiasts. Castles found within the county's borders, including those belonging to the Janković and Pejačević families, reflect the region's history. The Count's Educational Trail on Jankovac takes visitors through the Jankovac forest park, showcasing the mountain's geological diversity and variety of rare trees.[10] 


Viroviticko-Podravska zupanija is situated in the continental part of the Republic of Croatia, acting as a link between the Slavonia and Podravina regions. Its generally elongated shape stretches in an east-west direction, dividing into a northern area of the Podravine plain and a hilly, mountainous southern region, encompassing parts of Bilogora, Papuk, and Krndije. The area holds a relatively strategic significance as two major traffic corridors intersect there: the primary transversal route, offering the shortest connection between the Middle Danube and the middle Adriatic, and the secondary longitudinal route, following the course of the Drava River and connecting Croatia with its western and eastern neighbors.[4] Virovitica-Podravina County covers a total area of approximately 2,022.03 square kilometers, with 57% being arable land and 32% covered by forests, making it one of the most forested counties in Croatia. The region features pastures with the slopes of Papuk, Krndije, and Bilogora. Agriculture is a considerable part of local industry, with the area having a relative abundance of water resources with an average annual rainfall of 800-827 mm. The temperature in Virovitica-Podravina County ranges from 10°C to 10.7°C, moving from the northwest to the southeast. During summer, the average temperatures are around 20°C, while in winter, they hover around 1.0°C.[5] 

The Nature Park Papuk is located in the southern part of the county, extending into Pozega-Slavonia County. It is characterized by various ecosystems, such as dry calcareous grasslands, wet grasslands, rivers, streams, and forests. The southwestern slopes are home to calcareous grasslands with diverse flora, including species like orchids and clover. The Turjak - Mališćak - Pliš - Lapjak area features continental karst habitats with endangered plants like the fritillaria. Mountain springs and streams in the park are home to fish like native brown trout can be spotted. The forests in the park harbor various wildlife, including populations of endangered birds, whereas the underground features caves and sinkholes serve as wintering and breeding sites for bats.[6]


The area around present-day Virovitica has ancient human settlements dating back to Paleolithic times, where early humans lived as hunters and gatherers in the hilly hinterland of Bilogora. Illyrian Pannonian tribes also inhabited the region during prehistoric times, with information about them being mainly derived from archaeological discoveries. The region was reportedly dominated by vast forests and swamps, making it less accessible for human passage. The arrival of Slavs and Avars and the subsequent victory of the Croats over the Avars in the sixth century led to the area between the Sava and Drava rivers being "dominated by Slavs."[1] Virovitica's historical records date back to 1234, and later became under Ottoman rule from 1552 to 1684 and served as a kaza center, first in the Sanjak of Pojega from 1552 until 1601 and later in the Sanjak of Rahoviçe within the Kanije Eyalet until it was conquered by the Habsburgs in 1684.[2] 

The history of Virovitica-Podravina County dates back to the 13th century when it was founded as a royal county. It has gone through various changes, being part of the Ottoman Empire from 1547 to 1684. After liberation, it was unified with Croatia in 1745. However, the area faced further reorganizations and divisions until it was reestablished as a county with its seat in Virovitica in 1992. Virovitica-Podravina also played a considerable role during the Homeland War and is now a significant economic and administrative center in central and eastern Croatia. With 93,389 inhabitants, it covers an area with relatively diverse landscapes and cultural heritage.[7]