Vucedol pottery, Slavonija

Ancient cultures settled and thrived in locations with access to natural resources—particularly fresh water, necessary for every aspect of life. For thousands of years, various people groups have populated the area of Vinkovci in Slavonija. Located on a raised bank of the Bosut River, Vinkovci is safe from flooding but within proximity of the river’s benefits. The earliest known cultures settled here around 6200 BC, making this the oldest continuously inhabited area in all of Europe. They brought farming and domesticated animals, and produced pottery and other crafts. 

The oldest known Indo-European calendar was discovered here in 1978, inscribed on a ceramic pot from the Vučedol culture of 3000–2200 BC. The Vučedols, contemporaries of Troy, the Old Kingdom of Egypt, and Mesopotamia, found order in the stars, and marked the seasons with the dominant constellation of Orion. Their society was highly developed, and they have left us with fascinating artifacts from their main craft of copper smelting, as well as other materials.

Slavonia was also once part of the Roman Empire; a Roman commercial center was established here in pottery and agriculture, beginning in the 1st century AD and reaching its pinnacle in the 4th. We are reminded that two Roman emperors were born here into an Illyrian family. The first brother, Valentinian I, ruled the western half of the empire and was considered the last great Western emperor. He gave control of the eastern half to his brother, Valens, as co-emperor. Just 35 years after the dramatic story of these two brothers and their over-sized territory came the disintegration and fall of the Roman Empire.

Agatha Christie fans will recognize Vinkovci from “Murder on the Orient Express”; it was a major station on the Simplon Orient Express route between Constantinople and Paris, connecting east and west. Today, a pleasant walk through the lovely 18th-century Baroque town square barely hints at the many stories, achievements, and hardships that have left their mark here. But the craft and artistry that continue today have been practiced throughout Vinkovci’s history, and we at DOMA Trading are happy to have found extraordinary artisans who are keeping those traditions alive.

Vinkovci baroque town center, Slavonija

We feel fortunate to have found some of Vinkovci’s extraordinary artisans who continue to practice traditional crafts.