The continuity of life and the story of Vinkovci as the oldest settlement in Europe began more than 8000 years ago. Thanks to its extremely favourable position in the northernmost meander of the Bosut River, whose left bank was protected from floods, people have inhabited this area and different cultures have been changing since the Neolithic until today.
Of all the ancient settlements mentioned in the area of Slavonia, the exact geographical and topographical position has only been determined for a small part. In the late Roman province of the Second or Sirmian Pannonia, the third largest town was Cibalae. The area covered by the Cibalae trenches corresponds to the central parts of present-day Vinkovci – the main square of Vinkovci and the Main Park lie at the very centre of the former Roman Cibalae. Cibalae had been an important traffic hub long before the arrival of the railway, which officially put contemporary Vinkovci on the map as the largest railway hub in Europe. In the Middle Ages, the town Vinkovci was not called Vinkovci but St. Elijah, and it was only in the modern age that the present name of the town on the Bosut River prevailed. It was named after the patron saint St. Elijah, the original Hungarian form being Szentillye, and the Croatian version being Ilinci.
Nowadays, on the feast of St. Elijah on 20 July, the Town Festival with different entertainment activities is celebrated.