|The confluence of the Mura and Drava Rivers in northwestern Croatia (photo by Filip Lučin)|
The little town of Donja Dubrava that my great-grandfather Ferencz Ujlaki came from never became a modern city, yet for centuries it has bustled with the busy-ness of a river's edge village.
"Donja Dubrava is an old crafts and trade centre at the east of Međimurje County in northwestern Croatia, at the meeting place of two grand rivers – the Mura and the Drava. This position, at the confluence of these great rivers, was an important natural factor that influenced the historical and geographical development of this trade city."
|Donja Dubrava, Croatia from the air (photo by davorfiles)|
Though the maximum population (which occurred around 1910) only reached about 3,500 (there are about 2,300 residents today), the town has a proud heritage and a history book of its very own: Općina I Župa Donja Dubrava: Povijesno-geografska Monografija (The Municipality and Parish of Donja Dubrava: A Historical and Geographical Monograph), published in 2007 by Bartolić, Feletar, Feletar and Petrić.
According to the book, "Donja Dubrava developed into the most significant trading and crafts town in eastern Međimurje. The town served the central functions for the geographic region of eastern Međimurje, Legrad Podravina and the Zakan region in Hungary. Craft guilds were established, trade and hospitality developed and the town had a particular role in activities tied to the Drava River – milling, sieving for gold, fishing, boat trade and raft transport. From 1828 to 1940, the largest wood trading company operated in Donja Dubrava, transporting wood along the Drava from Pohorje to Osijek, Novi Sad, Belgrade and Smederevo. Agricultural activities, particularly the production of cereals and livestock breeding, were of great significance for the life and development of the town."
|St. Margareta Catholic Church in Donja Dubrava, established in 1790 (photo by Filip Lučin)|
|A monument in Donja Dubrava (photo by Filip Lučin)|
I've written this article as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. Follow me here at 100 Years in America as I try to keep up with the challenge to work through the alphabet while writing my family history. I'm way behind getting started, but here goes!