Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Novi Sad

Novi Sad

Novi Sad is the second largest city in Serbia, capital of the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina, and the administrative centre of the South Bačka District. It is located in the southern part of Pannonian Plain, on the border of the Bačka and Srem regions, on the banks of the Danube river and Danube-Tisa-Danube Canal, facing the northern slopes of Fruška Gora mountain.

Human settlement on the territory of present-day Novi Sad has been traced as far back as the Stone Age (about 4500 B.C.). This settlement was located on the right bank of the river Danube in the territory of present-day Petrovaradin. This region was conquered by Celts (in the 4th century B.C.) and Romans (in the 1st century B.C.). The Celts founded the first fortress at this location, which was located on the right bank of the Danube. During Roman rule, a larger fortress was built in the 1st century with the name Cusum and was included into the Roman province of Pannonia. In the 5th century, Cusum was devastated by the invasion of the Huns.

By the end of the 5th century, Byzantines had reconstructed the town and called it by the names Cusum and Petrikon. The town was later conquered by Ostrogoths, Gepids, Avars, Franks, Bulgarians, and again by Byzantines. The region was conquered by the Kingdom of Hungary between the 10th and 12th century, and the town was mentioned under the name Bélakút or Peturwarad(Pétervárad) in documents from 1237. In the same year (1237), several other settlements were mentioned to exist in the territory of modern urban area of Novi Sad (on the left bank of the Danube).

Between 1526 and 1687, the region was under Ottoman rule. In the year 1590, population of all villages that existed in the territory of present-day Novi Sad numbered 105 houses inhabited exclusively by Serbs. However, Ottoman records mention only those inhabitants that paid taxes, thus the number of Serbs that lived in the area (for example those that served in the Ottoman army) was larger. 

Petrovaradin Fortress
For much of the 18th and 19th centuries, Novi Sad was the largest city in the world populated by ethnic Serbs. Because of its cultural and political influence, Novi Sad became known as the Serbian Athens. 

During the Revolution of 1848-1849, Novi Sad was part of Serbian Vojvodina, a Serbian autonomous region within the Habsburg Empire. In 1849, the Hungarian army located on the Petrovaradin Fortress bombarded and devastated the city, which lost much of its population.  Between 1849 and 1860, the city was part of a separate Austrian crownland known as the Vojvodina of Serbia and Tamiš Banat. After the abolishment of this province, the city was included into Bačka-Bodrog County. After 1867, Novi Sad was located within the Hungarian part of Austria-Hungary. 

On 25 November 1918, the Assembly of Serbs, Bunjevci and other Slavs of Vojvodina in Novi Sad proclaimed the union of Vojvodina region with the Kingdom of Serbia. Since 1 December 1918, Novi Sad was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes; and in 1929, it became the capital of the Danube Banovina, a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. 

In 1941, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was invaded and partitioned by the Axis powers, and its northern parts, including Novi Sad, were annexed by Hungary. During World War II, about 5,000 citizens were murdered and many others were resettled. In three days of Novi Sad raid (21—23 January 1942) alone, Hungarian police killed 1,246 citizens, among them more than 800 Jews, and threw their corpses into the icy waters of the Danube, while the total death toll of the raid was around 2,500. Citizens of all nationalities - Serbs, Hungarians, Slovaks, and others - fought together against the Axis authorities. In 1975 the whole city was awarded the title People's Hero of Yugoslavia.

Since 1945, Novi Sad has been the capital of Vojvodina, a province of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia. The city went through rapid industrialization and its population more than doubled in the period between World War II and the breakup of Yugoslavia. After 1992, Novi Sad was part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which, in 2003, was transformed into the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Since 2006, Novi Sad is part of an independent Serbia.

The number of tourists visiting Novi Sad each year has steadily risen since 2000. Every year, in the beginning of July, during the annual EXIT music festival, the city is full of young people from all over Europe. In 2005, over 150,000 people visited the festival, which put Novi Sad on the map of summer festivals in Europe. Besides EXIT festival, Novi Sad Fair attract many business people into the city; in May, the city is home to the biggest agricultural show in the region, which 600,000 people visited in 2005. There is also a tourist port near Varadin Bridge in the city centre welcoming various river cruise vessels from across Europe who cruise on Danube river.

There are many restaurants in Novi Sad that serve international and national cuisine, Italian specialities, Chinese food, fish and vegetarian food. The average price for a meal per person is €5 to €10. Local beer costs around €1, imported beer is €1.5 to €2.5, a cup of espresso coffee costs from €0.8 to €1.2 and juices are around €1. Most restaurants close at 11 pm. Numerous fast food restaurants and grill booths are open 24 hours, the average price for a meal is 1€ .

Due to the excellent grape growing conditions, the vineyards of Fruška Gora have been amongst the most important in Central Europe since the Middle Ages. In the Fruška Gora region there are three winemaking centres: Petrovaradin with Sremski Karlovci, Irig and Erdevik.

Not far from Novi Sad is the Fruška Gora National Park which harbours habitats of a large number of animal species. In Fruška Gora, besides forests, valuable ecosystems and geological features, there are also the famous Fruška Gora monasteries and a large number of picnic sites, including Iriški Venac, Zmajevac, Andrevlje and Koruška, as well as the Međeš and Borkovac lakes.

On the shoreline of the Danube near Novi Sad there is the Koviljsko-Petrovaradinski Rit marsh, a significant bird habitat which is home to some rare and endangered species. Each year at the beginning of June a photo-safari is held in the marsh.

                                                        Novi Sad’s Top 5:
  1. The Name of Mary Church  is a Roman Catholic church named after Virgin Mary.  Locals refer to it as the "Catholic cathedral", or just "cathedral", even though the actual cathedral (bishop's seat) is located in Subotica. The church was built on the foundation of an old Roman Catholic church, which was damaged during Revolution of 1848. This church was not restored correctly, so Catholics from Novi Sad decided to build a new church. It was finished in the end of the 19th century, in 1894 by architect Georg Molnar. The church is a three-nave building, with gothic arches. The altar is made of carved wood from Tyrol, the windows with stained glass from Budapest and the roof tiles were made of Zsolnay ceramics. It is the tallest church in Bačka region and dominates the city centre of Novi Sad.
  2. Petrovaradin Fortress. Is located in the province of Vojvodina, on the right bank of the Danube river. The cornerstone of the present-day southern part of the fortress was laid on October 18, 1692, by Charles Eugène de Croÿ. Petrovaradin Fortress has many underground tunnels as well (16 km of underground countermine system). In 1991 Petrovaradin Fortress was added to Spatial Cultural-Historical Units of Great Importance list, and it is protected by the Republic of Serbia. 
  3.  Novi Sad Synagogue is a Jewish synagogue and one of the many cultural institutions in Novi Sad. Located in Jevrejska (Jewish) Street, in the city centre, the synagogue has since been recognized as a landmark. The building of the new synagogue, the fifth to be erected on the same location since the 18th century, became a major project for the entire Jewish community of Novi Sad. The building work of the Novi Sad synagogue started in 1905 and was finished in 1909. It was projected by Hungarian architect Baumhorn Lipót.The synagogue was part of a bigger complex of buildings that included on both sides of the synagogue two edifices decorated in a similar pattern. One building served the Jewish school and other as offices of the Jewish Community.
  4. The Museum of Vojvodina, founded by Matica Srpska in 1847, houses a permanent collection of Serbian culture and a life in Vojvodina through history. Vojvodina from the Palaeolithic era to the middle of the 20th century. The museum includes exhibits relating to archaeology, history, ethnology and modern history.  The museum houses a collection of over 400,000 specimens and a library of over 50,000 volumes.
  5. Liberty Bridge is a Cable-stayed bridge on the Danube river. The bridge was built in 1981 and destroyed during NATO bombardment on April 4, 1999. It was rebuilt 2003-2005 and reopened on October 7, 2005. The bridge was designed by Nikola Hajdin.
    Rebuilding the bridge cost the city €40 million and lasted for 2 years and 22 days. Maja Gojković, the mayor of Novi Sad, reopened it on October 7, 2005. The official reopening was held a few days later, with officials from the European Agency for Reconstructionpresent. The bridge's reconstruction and opening was a cause for political clashes; one side saying Novi Sad and its citizens should be thankful to EU for the gift of the reconstructed bridge, and the other that EU was obliged to reconstruct it anyway, as a part of war damages compensation.


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