|Municipality and Town|
|• Municipality||707 km2 (273 sq mi)|
|Population (2011 census)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Aleksinac (Serbian Cyrillic: Алексинац;) is a town which is a center of Aleksinac Municipality, located in the Nišava District of Serbia. According to 2011 census, the town has a population of 16,420 inhabitants, while the municipality has 51,462.
The name of the town ultimately derives from the given name Aleksandar. In standard Serbian, Aleksinac is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, but locals tend to pronounce it with the stress on the second syllable.
Prehistory and Antiquity
The territory of the municipality of Aleksinac has been inhabited since the neolithic age. Most of the settlements in the area belong to the Vinča cultural group, and are located on the western side of the South Morava river.
After the fall to the Romans this territory was included in the province Upper Moesia and after 293 AD it was in the Mediterranean province Dacia. A Roman military road (Via Militaris) was built in 1st century AD across the territory. There were also two stations for rest (mansio) and change of horses (mutatio) along the road on the territory of Aleksinac: Praesidium Pompei and Rappiana. Their location is still unknown, although there are few candidates for this position. Also few fortresses (Castell) are known to existed in this period, but their names are not known, except for the Castell Milareca on Gradiste hill (228 m).
From the year 476 this territory was under Byzantine rule. There are evidences of settlements from this time, however their names still remain unknown.
During the reigns of emperors Phocas (602-610) and Heraclius (610-641) Slavic peoples inhabit Balkan peninsula. In 614 they razed Niš. The Via Militaris was renamed Medieval Military Road and it was used by the crusaders of first four Crusades to reach Constantinople thus passing through the territory of Aleksinac municipality.
During the reign of the Nemanjić dynasty this territory was under direct control of the state. After the death of Uroš V this territory was included in the territory of Moravian Serbia under the Prince Lazar and his successors. Two medieval towns, Bolvan and Lipovac, date from this period.
Aleksinac is first mentioned in 1516 in "Kruševački Tefter", a list of towns and its residents were made by Turks to keep an eye on taxes, as the village belonging to Bolvan province and Kruševac sanjak. It remained village up to the end of the 16th century when it was developed into town settlement.
In the middle of the 17th century, Aleksinac was town with more than 100 shops in it, and because of its strategic location on the road to Istanbul it became important travel and caravan station. Its importance can be supported by the fact that Turks built fortress to protect it from outlaws in 1616. The development of Aleksinac was stopped during the so-called Great Turkish War (1683–1699). Aleksinac was conquered by Austrian army (general Ludwig of Baden liberated it), and later burned to the ground by the soldiers of Jegen-Osman Pasha. Serbian inhabitants of Aleksinac joined Great Serb Migrations to Habsburg Monarchy and some of them settled down in Budim. Aleksinac was destroyed again by fire during the second Austro-Turkish war (1716–1718) when grand vizier Hallil Pasha was defeated beneath the walls of Belgrade. In retreat he burned down all settlements all the way to Niš.
After the third Austro-Turkish War (1737–1739) Aleksinac developed into significant trade and handcraft center. Many caravans passed through it exchanging wares from entire Ottoman Empire and central Europe. At the same time it became center of Aleksinac county which in 1784 consisted of 17 villages. There were 160 houses in Aleksinac at that time, 120 of them christian and 40 Turkish.
Aleksinac and its surrounding area joined the First Serbian Uprising in January 1806. This included villages on the right bank of the South Morava river which were liberated by the army of Petar Dobrnjac. The settlements on the left bank were liberated by Mladen Milovanović and Stanoje Glavaš. As soon as the town was liberated, Captain Vuča Žikić built the famous Deligrad trenches on the north side of Aleksinac which earned fame in battles with the Turks, especially in 1806.
After the fall on the First Serbian Uprising, Aleksinac remained under Turkish rule up to December 1832 when it became integral part of Prince Miloš's Serbia. During his first reign Aleksinac became the economic centre of the south-east Serbia with numerous trade and handicrafts shops and it developed into important government centre. It became centre of county and county court. The third post office in Serbia (after Belgrade and Kragujevac) was opened in Aleksinac for both Serbian and Austrian post as well as the place where English courier sent and received the post from Turkey. At that time Customs office and quarantine station were built in Aleksinac. Aleksinac was also the site of major battles with Turks in First Serbo-Turkish war in 1876, with only true victory won on Šumatovac, 3 kilometers from Aleksinac.
Aleksinac was seriously damaged during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.
Economy and natural resources
Main industry in Aleksinac is metal industry, but large parts of municipality consists of arable land near the Morava river that is used for grain, maize аnd peppers. Coal industry was also dominant before fire accident in November 1989.
Municipality of Aleksinac is rich in natural resources, especially in black coal, bitumen schist, gravel, sand and limestone. Drilling for shale gas will begin in the near future, with a tender currently underway for contract rights.
The town has two elementary schools, "Ljupče Nikolić" and "Vozd Karadjordje" (former name "Aca Milojević" changed in 2004), High (Grammar) School "Aleksinačka gimnazija" (former name was "Drakče Milovanović", but it was changed in 2004), Technical High School " Prota Stevan Dimitrijevic", and College for Kindergarten Teachers. The construction of the building for Agricultural High School has started in 2006. The school is now using Technical High School Facilities. Aleksinac also has a school for children with special needs "Smeh i Suza", and Elementary Music School "Vladimir Djordjevic".
Lake Bovan, situated 15 km from Aleksinac centre, is a place popular for tourists. The medieval monastery from the 15th century built by Despot Stefan Lazarević, St. Stefan in Lipovac, is 25 km from the city. The monastery is built beneath the slopes of Mt. Ozren (1175 m). There is also remnants of two medieval towns in the mountains surrounding Aleksinac: Bovan and Lipovac, however they are not well preserved.
- Kosta Taušanović (1854–1902) - one of the founders of Serbian Radical Party, minister of police and minister of commerce, founder of first insurance company in Serbia.
- Mihajlo Rašić (1858–1919) - Army commander in Kingdom of Serbia, and minister of military affairs (1918–1919)
- Milan Pecić (1865–1959) - Army doctor and inventor of a military stretcher that was used in Serbia by the end of World War I. Also inventor of military apothecary.
- Stevan Dimitrijević (1866 - ?)- Rector of Theologian University in Belgrade.
- Kosta Stojanović (1867–1921) - Minister of Commerce (1906–1908) and (1912–1913).
- Rista Prendić - the official Tatar of the English Consulate, settled in Aleksinac (1837–1855).
- The patron saint of Aleksinac is St. Mark.
- Aleksinac was the first Serbian town to get a post office, on May 25, 1840. The second was opened in Belgrade and the third in Kragujevac.
- Aleksinac is the home of the Native Indians Society of Serbia.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Aleksinac is twinned with:
- Aiani, Greece
- Hisarya, Bulgaria
- Lavrio, Greece
- Patras, Greece
- Sampolitio, Greece
- Vyronas, Greece
- Zagorje ob Savi, Slovenia
References and further reading
- "Municipalities of Serbia, 2006". Statistical Office of Serbia. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
- "2011 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in The Republic of Serbia: Age and Sex – Data by settlements". Statistical Office of Republic Of Serbia, Belgrade. 2012. ISBN 978-86-6161-023-3. Retrieved 2013-09-11.
- Istorija Aleksinca i okoline do kraja prve vladavine kneza Miloša, Sprić Miodrag, Aleksinac, 1995.
- Aleksinac i okolina, Dr. Branko Peruničić, Beograd, 1978.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aleksinac.|
- Official municipality web site
- Aleksinac Net
- Aleksinačke Novosti
- Villages of the Aleksinac municipality
- Web site of Scout group Šumatovac
- Bombing of Aleksinac (1999)
- Travel Guide To Aleksinac
- TiM's "Tour de Serbia" - Aleksinac