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Subotica / Szabadka (City, Serbia)


Last modified: 2019-11-02 by ivan sache
Keywords: subotica | szabadka |
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Flag of Subotica - Image by Željko Heimer, 9 October 2005

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History of Subotica

Subotica (Hungarian, Szabadka; German, Maria-Theresianstadt) is a town and district capital in Vojvodina, close to the Hungarian border. The town has got 100,219 inhabitants (1990 census).

  • 1241-1242: Foundation of the sttlement by King Bela IV after Mongol invasion.
  • 1391: First mention of the town, as Zabotka, part of the Bodrog county in the Kingdom of Hungary.
  • 1527-1542: After the battle of Mohács, ruled by Nenad Cernoević's peasant army.
  • 1543-1686: Part of the Ottoman Empire, in the vilayet of Buda.
  • 1699: Reallocated to Hungary by the Treaty of Karlowatz.
  • 1743: Free Town, as Szent-Maria.
  • 1779: Free Royal Town, as Maria-Theresiopolis.
  • 1845. Officially renamed Szabadka.
  • 1848-1861: After the defeat of the Hungarian Independence War (1848-1849), allocated to a new province (Governorate of Temes and Serbian Vojvodina).

In 1918, the town was under Serbian occupation. From 1920 (Treaty of Trianon) to 1941, it was incorporated to Yugoslavia. In 1941-1944, the area was occupied and annexed by Hungary. The Treaty of Paris reallocated it to Yugoslavia in 1947.
Subotica is the birthplace of the Hungarian writer, poet and journalist Dezsö Kosztolányi (1885-1936).

István Molnár, 10 December 2000

Flag of Subotica

The municipality of Subotica (the Hungarian name of Szabadka is also official; Croatian is yet also an offical language there, but the name is equal to Serbian - Subotica) adopted a flag in 2002. The preliminary municipal Statutes Statut opštine Subotica (pročišćeni tekst), adopted on 19 February 2002 and published the same day in the official municipal gazette Službeni list opštine Subotica, 06/2002, integrate the texts of all previous Statutes and Amendments since 1991 but describe only the coat of arms, without any mention of the flag. The current StatutesStatut opštine Subotica, adopted on 7 June 2002 and published the same day in the official municipal gazette Službeni list opštine Subotica, 19/2002, give a detailed description of the flag beside the coat of arms as well. Therefore the adoption date for the flag would be 7 June 2002.

The flag of Subotica is horizontally divided white-light blue with the municipal coat of arms in the middle. The flag proportions are 23:34 (sic), these unusual proportions being the result of the prescribed size of 92 x 136 cm (140 cm length including the staff sleeve).
The statutes also prescribe the golden fringe on three sides of 45 mm. The staff should be 255 cm long and with a leaf-shaped finial of 37 cm. With all this details, however, the size of the coat of arms in the flag is not prescribed!

[Coat of arms]

Coat of arms of Subotica - Image by Željko Heimer, 9 October 2005, after the municipal website

Subotica uses the historical coat of arms that was granted when the town was given rights of a Free and Royal Town on 1 September 1779 and then renamed Maria Teresienstadt. The coat of arms is a seal, which was usual for the period. It is made of a shield with a baroque ornament:
"Per fess azure the Blessed Virgin clead gules sejant holding Baby Jesus in her lap in glory or in chief dexter and St. Theresia in Carmelite dress holding hands towards them and gules a lion or rampant holding a curved sword argent hilted or above its head".
The shield is crowned with a leafy crown or and set within a circular seal inscribed Sigillum Libera et Regia Civitatis Maria Theresiopolis. The upper half of the shield refers to the new town name while the lower part is the coat of arms of the Temesvar Bannate, which was a separate Habsburg crownland until that time. The Temesvar arms are part of the coat of arms of Vojvodina.
[Municipal website]

Željko Heimer, 9 October 2005

Former flag of Subotica (Szabadka)?


Former flag of Subotica - Image by Željko Heimer, 9 October 2005

According to Széll (Városaink neve, címere és lobogója [szs41]), the former flag of Subotica is horizontally divided blue-red with a thein vertical yellow stripe in the middle.
Széll's book shows the flags of several towns formerly held by Hungary. The book is our only source of these flags, but it is not clear as to what period these flags were used as claimed by the book. I doubt very much that they were used during the time of Austria-Hungary. It seems very much more like they were designed in 1941 - but it is not even clear weather the designs shown in Széll's book are just proposals or if they were ever prescribed in any formal way and after all whether they were used. At least for the moment, I believe that the former flag was in use at most in years 1941-1944.

Željko Heimer, 9 October 2005