In the 1970s and 1980s Vinkovci had the status of one of the most important railway hubs in Europe. At that time trains would leave this station every four minutes, sometimes there were as many as 360 trains a day. This means that the daily flow at the railway station was about 50,000 passengers! In those glorious times, the station was also an important place for going out and socializing, the station restaurant was open all night, and the stairs you still climb today to reach the station were packed with passengers from all over Europe.
Western and Southeast Europe were connected here by many international express trains, including the famous Orient Express. In that train, somewhere between Vinkovci and Slavonski Brod, a mysterious murder took place, described by Agatha Christie in her novel. You can find out about this, as well as about many other interesting details from the history of the Vinkovci railway, in the collection located at the Vinkovci railway station.
The most famous love story from Vinkovci is that of the “Šokci Romeo and Juliet” – Marija and Ivan Kozarac. It is a story about the forbidden, unfulfilled love of two young people who grew up together in the settlement of Krnjaš, by the banks of the Bosut River. Their love was impossible for many reasons – they were blood relatives (third cousins), but also Ivan’s poverty and incurable disease, tuberculosis, from which he suffered (and prematurely died) posed no less of a problem. The most famous love poem devoted to Marija is “Milov’o sam garave i plave” (“I have caressed brunettes and blondes”), which has become a folk classic of this region and an eternal testimony of platonic love.
In honour of that love on the banks of the Bosut River in Krnjaš in 2016, a monument to Marija and Ivan Kozarac was erected, with the two of them sitting on a bench and holding hands, which was unthinkable during their lifetime. Marija married a businessman from Vinkovci, Guttman, and her grandson, who still lives in Vinkovci today, testifies that she was a hardworking woman and very dedicated to the church who kept a picture of Ivan and several of his manuscripts and poems in her prayer book.