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Ottoman rule

The fate of Osijek was sealed when Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent decided to attack Hungary in 1525. When preparations for a military campaign were completed, Suleiman left Istanbul in April 1526. With a huge army and great speed he attacked Hungary and won every battle. Out of fear that city would be ruined and its inhabitants killed, Osijek delegation went on the 8th of August 1526. to meet the Ottomans. They gave the keys to the city Vizier Mustafa Pasha in hope that city and its inhabitants would be spared. After building a pontoon bridge across the Drava river where Ottoman armies crossed over the river on August 23rd and after a victorious outcome of the battle of Mohacs field Osijek became one of the most important positions in the strategic concept of the Ottoman Empire in conquering the fertile Pannonian Plain and further penetration to Central Europe. Osijek had not suffered any major damage, so extensive construction works were done by mid-1528 and early 1529 when the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent decided to lead his armies through Osijek to conquer Vienna.

All war marches of the Ottomans to the West led through Osijek. Mighty Ottoman army needed reliable way to cross over Drava, so they decided to build a solid bridge over the Drava. This task was given to Hamza Beyand he built the bridge in 17 days, bringing together the work of about 25,000 people. Construction was completed on July 19th, 1566. and was later known under the name Suleiman's bridge. In fact, it was more elevated road then bridge, and it was built using famous Slavonian oak logs. Length of the bridge was about 8 km, and it gentle bends around all Baranja swamps, marshes and streams to Darda settlement (palanka). This kind of bridge did not exist anywhere else in Europe. Contemporaries even considered it to be eighth Wonder of the World, like pyramids in Giza. Construction of the bridge positioned Osijek to the highest value consistent with the strategic and transport interests of the Ottoman Empire in this part of Europe. Main highway from Istanbul to Buda and vice versa now went through Osijek.

After the construction of the bridge Osijek developed rapidly and became the most important city of Turkish Slavonia. During Ottoman rule urban society consisted of mostly immigrant Turks and a small number of local residents who have converted to Islam. Appearance and lifestyle had the characteristics of real oriental city with several mosques. Most famous one is Kasim Pasha mosque, the site of the present parish church of St. Michael the Archangel, and Suleiman-han mosque on today's site of the Franciscan monastery. Osijek was divided into two parts: the walled city with fortified towers and Palanka protected by ramparts and palisades.