Kikinda (Serbian Cyrillic: Кикинда) is a town and a municipality located in Serbia, in the autonomous province of Vojvodina. It is the administrative centre of the North Banat District. The modern city was founded in 18th century. From 1774 to 1874 Kikinda was the seat of the District of Velika Kikinda, the autonomous administrative unit of Habsburg Monarchy. In 1893 Kikinda was granted the status of a town. The territory of Vojvodina became part of the Kingdom of Serbia in 1918. Kikinda used to be a very strong economic and industrial centre of Serbia and Yugoslavia up until the 1990s. Currently, the industry of Kikinda is in the middle of the transitional economic process.
Origins: The city of Kikinda is located on a territory rich in remains of old and disappeared cultures. Numerous archeological findings are the testimony of people who lived here more than seven thousand years ago. However, the continuity of that duration was often broken. People arrived and departed, lived and disappeared, depending on various historical circumstances.
Medieval history: Two important medieval settlements existed near the location of modern Kikinda. Names of these settlements were Galad and Hološ. Galad was one of the oldest Slavic settlements in northern Banat and was built by Slavic duke Glad in the 9th century. In 1337, Galad was recorded as settlement populated almost exclusively by Serbs. This settlement was destroyed during Austro-Ottoman wars in the end of 17th and beginning of the 18th century. Another settlement, Hološ (also known as Velika Holuša), was an local administrative center in the 17th century, during Ottoman administration. This settlement was also destroyed in the end of the 17th century.
Modern history: The history of modern Kikinda can be traced in continuation for 250 years, from 1751-1752, when the area where the city is presently located was settled. The first settlers were Serbs, a Habsburg border military corps who protected the border against the Ottomans on the Moriš and the Tisa rivers. After the Požarevac peace treaty, where an agreement between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire was reached, the Ottomans lost Banat and the Serbs lost their job. A newly founded settlement was soon organized, and the former border military corps started a new, land farming lifestyle. Several decades later, along with the Serbs, Germans (Banat Swabians), Hungarians, and Jews settled the area.
About twenty years after the establishment of the settlement, on November 12, 1774, the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, by way of a special charter, formed the Velikokikindski privileged district – Regio-privilegiatus Districtus Magnokikindiensis, as a distinct feudal governmental administrative unit with headquarters in Kikinda. Besides Kikinda, the district included another nine settlements of the Serb border military establishments in North and Central Banat: Srpski Krstur, Jozefovo (today part of Novi Kneževac), Mokrin, Karlovo (today part of Novo Miloševo), Bašaid, Vranjevo (today part of Novi Bečej), Melenci, Kumane and Taraš. During that period, the inhabitants of these places had substantial economic, and even political privileges within the Habsburg Monarchy. The District functioned, with some interruptions, until 1876 when it was abolished, and Kikinda was allocated both organizationally and administratively to the direct authority of the Torontal County with headquarters in Veliki Bečkerek (today Zrenjanin), which covered most of the territory of present day Serbian Banat.
In 1848/1849, the famous uprising of the Serbs in Vojvodina took place. At the beginning, Kikinda’s citizens expressed, almost unanimously, social revolt, while later the riot turned into a national one, and Kikinda became part of the Serbian Voivodship, a Serb autonomous region within the Austrian Empire. During the war, Serbian and Hungarian governments came into power over the city one after the other, accompanied by great conflicts, suffering and destruction. It was one of the most difficult and most complex periods in the history of Kikinda.
Between 1849 and 1860 Kikinda was part of the Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat, a separate Austrian crown land. In 1860, this crown land was abolished, and Kikinda was included into Torontal county. It is an interesting piece of information that at the end of the 19th century Kikinda was the most densely inhabited place in the Torontal County, with 22,000 inhabitants. A railroad connecting Szeged, Kikinda and Timişoara was built in 1857 and is the oldest railroad on the territory of present-day Serbia. The period from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the First World War was a peaceful and fruitful period in the history of Kikinda and was marked by a strong economic and urban development of the city. Moreover, the picturesque core of the city, which was and still stands as a beautiful component of Kikinda even today, was formed, and the city received a defined local government in 1895 (statute, senate, town representative, mayor, etc.)
Manifestations: The Pumpkin Days (Дани лудаје/Dani ludaje in Serbian) are an annual manifestation that takes place in mid-October (2nd week in october).Every year people from all over the region gather in Kikinda to take part in a competition of who has the largest pumpkin and longest gourd. The term ludaja is specific to the Kikinda region, while the common Serbian word for pumpkin is bundeva. Kikinda has a special relationship with this plant because throughout its history, the locals used to say that one can stand on a pumpkin while working in the fields and get a clear view of the whole city. This exaggeration was supposed to depict the flatness of the city’s territory. A local standing on a pumpkin, dressed in traditional attire, and with his hand blocking the sun so that he can see into the distance, thus became the symbol for the region. A group of local enthusiasts started the Pumpkin Days manifestation in 1986 and it quickly attracted pumpkin and gourd lovers from all over the country. The three-day event also includes lectures and seminars on the advancement of pumpkin and gourd cultivation, a culinary competition in preparing meals from pumpkins and gourds, children’s competitions in creating masks and sculptures, and various concerts and exhibitions.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia