The city of Križevci is located at the crossroads of roads that connect regional centers: Zagreb, Koprivnica, Bjelovar and Varaždin. One of the associations in the name of the city, accidentally or intentionally, points us to the intersection of roads, so in this area since antiquity and the Middle Ages was a crossroads of traffic routes. Well known road of King Koloman connecting Pannonian and Adriatic ends passed through Križevci. Understandably, the road routes favored the development of the city, as it was the intersection of trade and military roads, as well as the proximity of feudal estates, Kaptol, episcopal and religious. An additional contribution to the city development was given by the railway to Zagreb and Budapest, built in 1870, and to Bjelovar in 1894.
Križevci lies at 140 m above sea level, on the south side of Kalničko gorje. Because of its geographical position the area has a temperate continental climate with colder winters and warmer summers. Križevci region abounds in natural beauty, tourist potential and cultural resources. Fertile lowlands suitable for growing various crops and hills at the foot of Mount Kalnik as created for vineyards, cellars and orchards, are the reason why the surroundings of Križevci are predominantly agricultural. 21,155 inhabitants live in an area of 263.72 km², of which 11,219 in the city, others in the rural surroundings.
Križevci – two cities in one
Križevci is one of the oldest cities in continental Croatia. In written documents, mentioned for the first time in a document of the Croatian-Hungarian King Bela III from 1193 under the name of Cris (Cross). The most prominent center of the settlement at that time was the castrum (fortress). North of this fortress in Križevci, Ban Stjepan organized a new settlement of settlers (today’s Gornji grad), to which he granted the privilege of a free royal city on April 24, 1252. On the same day, Ban Stjepan proclaimed and established a new royal city in Križevci, giving inhabitants the same freedoms that the citizens of Grič and the New City of Zagreb enjoyed. The charter of Ban Stjepan was confirmed by King Bela IV on August 16, 1253.
The Day of the City of Križevci is celebrated on April 24, in memory of the proclamation of the free royal city of Križevci on April 24, 1252. The development of the Lower Town was subordinated to the function of the royal fortress and was one of the important centers of western Croatia where numerous assemblies were held, so the Lower Town developed economically faster and stronger. At the beginning of the 16th century, the Lower Town was almost twice as large as the Upper Town. From one city to another, one passed through the northern city gates over a drawbridge. The remains of the former ramparts are visible at the end of Zakmardijeva Street and in the immediate vicinity of the church of St. Križ. According to their geographical position, Križevci is more in the center of old Slavonia, ie Northern Croatia, than Zagreb or Varaždin. That is why the ban often came to Križevci, listened to the parties in the lawsuit, passed verdicts and issued other decisions and documents. In Križevci, the assembly of the Slavonian and later the Croatian nobility often met and discussed the affairs and needs of the homeland, especially its defense against the Turks. The most famous assembly from Križevci is the one from 1397. Supporters of the two opposing sides met at the parliament. On one side was King Sigismund of Luxembourg together with his supporters, and on the other Ban Stjepan Lacković with his. There was a quarrel between the parties at the assembly, and it all ended in great bloodshed. That is how this assembly was named the Bloody Assembly of Križevci.
Until the 18th century, Križevci was divided into two parts: the Lower Town of Križevci and the Upper Town of Križevci. In 1405, King Sigismund granted Donji Križevac the privileges of a free royal city. The same charter allowed that part to be surrounded by a rampart. When, in 1614, the Upper Town began to use the same seal as the Lower Town, long-lasting conflicts and lawsuits broke out. King Leopold I resolved the conflict so that the Upper Town had to put one and two lower crosses in its seal. It was 1670. However, the conflicts did not end there. They were ended by Empress Maria Theresa in 1752, uniting Gornji and Donji Križevac into one town, which has since been named Križevci. The coat of arms of Križevci originates from the same year, symbolizing the unification of the Upper and Lower Town.
Križevci coat of arms
The cross on the coat of arms is named after the city (Latin Crux, German Kreutz, Hungarian Koros), and the coat of arms can be described as follows: two bent arms holding each other on the blue field, the right in silver armor, the left in gold sleeve and holding a triple silver cross between two golden stars in the corners. The armored arm represents the military administration of Gornji Križevac, and the one in civilian clothes is the trade administration of Donji Križevac. The coat of arms has been used more or less continuously in various artistic designs, especially frame ornamentation. The current, simple form of the shield was adopted in the early 1990s, when the flag was first adopted.