||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Croatian Wikipedia. (March 2009)|
Centre of the town
|• Mayor||Marijo Barković (HDZ)|
|• Land||1,460 km2 (565 sq mi)|
|Population (2001)10,411 (municipality)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Otočac (pronounced [ɔtɔ̌tʃats]; German: Ottochaz) is a town in Lika, Croatia. It lies in the northwestern part of Lika, in the Gacka river valley. The population of the town is 4,354 as of 2001, with a total of 10,411 people within the municipality at large, the majority of whom are Croats (91%).
Otočac is located in the western part of the karst field of Gacka, located between Velebit and Mala Kapela, at an elevation of 459m. The town lies to the southeast of Senj, northwest of Gospić and west of Plitvice.
There are two sections of the town, Upper and Lower Town.
According to 2001 census, the municipality had 10,411 inhabitants, of whom 91.29% were Croats and 6.63% were Serbs. Croats in the vicinity of Otočac form two groups, those who speak Chakavian dialect and Bunjevci, who speak Shtokavian dialect with an Ikavian accent. Serbs form a majority in the villages of Gorići and Staro Selo. The town itself had population of 4,354.
Before the Croatian War of Independence, the 1991 census lists the greater municipality of Otčac as having 24,992 inhabitants, with 16,355 Croats (65.44%) and 7,781 Serbs (31.13%).
Otočac was named after the early Croatian parish. The text of the famous Baška Tablet (around 1100) says that the church of St. Nicholas in Otočac was part of the order community with the Church of St. Lucy, Jurandvor on the island of Krk.
From 1300 on, it belonged to the estate of the Frankopan family. Sigismund Frankopan (1461–1535) founded a diocese there at the church of St. Nicholas and Jelena born Keglević widow of Juraj Mikuličić, who was a member of the community of the Divine Holy Spirit in Rome, gave to the church three parcels of land.
The settlement with a defence tower, at a bend in the river Gacka, was protected by a towered fort. After the fort's demolition in 1829, only parts remained preserved. To provide a safer defence, a Renaissance-era castle ("Fortica") was built in 1619, with a triangular layout of cylindrical towers (these ruins stand above the town).
The Baroque parish church of the Holy Trinity, erected in 1684 (restored in 1774), is a large one-nave building with rounded sanctuary; three side chapels are on each side of the nave. The bell tower rises from the main front. The late baroque and classicist furnishings of the church include seven altars, a pulpit, baptismal font and sepulchral slabs from the 18th century.
Towns and villages in the municipality
Notable natives and residents
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