Belisce

History of the town area starts with the founding of industrial company in 1884 in this part of eastern Croatia then rich with oak forests. That year, Hungarian wholesale merchant and manufacturer Salamon Heinrich Gutmann has bought ten-year exploitation rights of the 2185 hectares Harkanovac - Koska forest complex from Valpovo nobility. Belistje (in the cadastre municipality Bistrinci), a barren meadow on the right bank of Drava was selected as the most suitable site for construction of a sawmill. This area was later renamed Belisce, which was also the name given to the settlement that was built there.

Next to the sawmill, one of the most modern of the time and probably the largest in Europe for processing of oak timber, first residential houses of the Gutman colony sprang out. The firefighting association was founded at the same time, followed by opening of the school classroom and the post office (1886); elementary school building – today's youth center - is built (1890) as well as the cemetery chapel (1891) and the power grid and the water supply and sewage system are built.

In the year S. H. Gutmann Company was founded, the first kilometers of 100 cm wide gauge railroad lines for the wood industry were laid, which soon overgrew into local railroad with public transportation, railroad station, fireroom and technical repair facility in Belisce.

Abundance of Slavonian forests, cheap workforce and great demand for wood-processing products have ensured big profits for the company and allowed it to build factories for production of tannin, barrels, wood distillation products and parquet at the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th century.

The first of the residential houses to be built was the Big House (today the headquarters of Belisce Inc.) for housing needs of company owner and for offices, and it was later followed by simple houses for workers.

The largest building of old Belisce - Palej or the Gutmann Palace, was built in 1905. Due to its monumentality, especially because of its interior furnishings it is ranked among the region's greatest architectural achievements of the early 19th century. Soon afterwards, the railway directorate building was erected (1906), as well as the characteristic residential houses (Five stars, Green houses, Mitrovica, houses with parapet porch), Workers Club, Clerks Club or White House (today a cinema).

Gutmann Palace or Palej is located in the very center of the town. It is a historistic two-story building and an "A" category cultural heritage monument. Located close to it is the "Gater" monument, the largest industrial power saw from the first Belisce sawmill, in which it was installed in 1889. As a monument of technical culture it was set at its current location in 1959.

The workers buildings complex at the S. H. Gutmann Vijenac (the jam street) is protected as a registered monument complex that witnesses the beginnings of settlement construction.

The memorial train of the former narrow-gauge Slavonija-Podravina railways with its 1913 Munich-built engine is located on the Belisce Inc. factory grounds.

More on Belisce at www.belisce.net