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Bjelovar (pop. 42,000) is the first major town you encounter east of Zagreb in what can already be considered Slavonia; a stopover here of either several hours or a night before you head on toward Osijek is well worth the easy detour. Situated on a low plateau, Bjelovar has long been one of Croatia's leading centers of agriculture, livestock breeding, and lumber.
Bjelovar was first mentioned as a settlement in records dating back to the 15th century, and it has an attractive historic center with one of Croatia's loveliest town squares, Trg Eugenia Kvaternika. Once a pasture, the square is today sublimely shaded by tall horse chestnut, plane, and pine trees, and its lovingly tended flower beds and charming bandstand—surrounded by statues of four saints dating from the 1770s—make it all the more inviting. Last but not least, it's home to a small but moving memorial to more than 100 residents of Slavonia who died in the Yugoslav war.
Bjelovar at a Glance
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