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Novi Sad

The city of Novi Sad is located in northern Serbia. It is the capital and administrative centre of the ethnically mixed autonomous region of Vojvodina. Serving as a transit port, it stands on the mighty Danube River and on the main railway line that links Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, with Budapest, the capital and main city of neighbouring Hungary. With a population of approximately 285,000 (400,000 in the wider urban area), Novi Sad plays an important role as a regional and cultural centre.

Novi Sad [1] Copyright Robin Whiting

As well as the rail connections and the Danube, the latter is linked here with the Bačka canal system, which plays an important role both economically and culturally for the northern part of the Vojvodina region. Vojvodina’s ethnic diversity is reflected in the local Public Broadcasting Service, which broadcasts in Serbo-Croatian, Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, Ukrainian, and Romany languages among others.

Map courtesy of

The settlement here developed alongside the growth of the fortress at Petrovaradin which stands atop a hill on the other side of the river. Originally a Roman fort, further fortifications were made atop the hill during medieval times. In 1716, it was here that the Turkish army were defeated by the forces of Prince Eugene of Savoy and most of the fortress at Petrovaradin which can be seen today dates back to these times. The town itself was originally known as Petrovaradinski Sanac and renamed Novi Sad (“New Plant”) as a result of a royal decree in 1748, which awarded it free city status. Novi Sad is sometimes referred to as the “Serbian Athens” and this dates back to the 19th century, when the city became renowned as a centre of culture and learning. In 1848, Hungarian soldiers led a revolt, bombarding the city for several months from atop the garrison and consequently, some two thirds of the city was destroyed. The soldiers were eventually tricked into surrendering. As a result of this, many of the older buildings in Novi Sad seen today were built after this time.

Above: City Hall on Freedom Square

Hungarian Troops occupied the city once again during World War II as part of the Axis, whilst across the river where the fortress stands, Croatian troops were sited. After World War II, the city went through rapid industrialization and from then, until the breakup of Yugoslavia, the population more than doubled. In the spring of 1999, NATO attacks against Slobodan Milošević's rogue-Yugoslavian state during the Kosovo War led to Novi Sad being once more under bombardment. The devastated city was famously left without any of its three Danube bridges and it went on to suffer greater casualties than Belgrade in terms of lives lost. Novi Sad was left without communications, water, and electricity. Residential areas were cluster-bombed and the city's oil refinery was bombed on a frequent basis, causing severe environmental pollution. It remains difficult to understand the reasoning behind Novi Sad's heavy bombardment by NATO during the Kosovo War, when that particular conflict was happening at the other end of the country and few residents of the city were in favour of Milošević's nationalistic policies. Today, Novi Sad is the hub of the Vojvodina's agricultural production. Industries include food processing and the manufacture of a variety of goods. The city also has a wide range of cultural centres including a university and an art academy. Further institutions are described in the text that follows.

Above: Petrovaradin Fortress, across the mighty Danube River

Novi Sad has much to offer the visitor. Although the photographs on this webpage were taken on a fairly cold September's day, it was immediately apparent that in warmer days of the year, the broad pedestrianised streets (the main one being Dunavska) boast an excellent outdoor café culture. The Neo-Classical buildings provide a most welcoming background to a city that is a real pleasure to stroll around, as does the riverfront. Since the NATO bombing in 1999, the city has undergone a renewed look. All three bridges have been rebuilt and the damage repaired. The city boasts a social scene with many events taking place each year which attract people here. Main sites include Freedom Square (the city's focal point dominated by the magnificent City Hall, which dates from 1895), the Museum of Vojvodina (covering the region's history), the Foreign art collection (the largest museum collection of foreign art in Serbia), The Matica Srpska Gallery, The Bačka Bishop's Palace, Cathedral of St George (1740, destroyed 1849, rebuilt 1853, a Serb Orthodox church in Pašićeva street), St Nicholas Church, the Synagogue (with its Art Nouveau-influenced façade) The Strand (a riverside beach) and, of course, the pre-mentioned Petrovaradin Fortress, which dominates the high ground across the Danube River. One final note on the city from the author of this webpage, who grew up in the East of England, of the many cities Novi Sad is twinned with, one of them is Norwich, in the county of Norfolk. In fact, the name Novi Sad will be familiar to many of the locals for since 2001, spanning the River Wensum has stood an asymmetric cable stayed swing footbridge named the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge. Click on any of the thumbnail gallery images below to view larger photos of Novi Sad.

[Photos: November 2017, Text: December, 2017]

Thumbnail Gallery (80 Photos):

References and Further Information

1. In-Situ Literature and Information Boards
2. Wikipedia Here
3. Mitchell, Laurence. (2005). Serbia. Chalfont St. Peter: Bradt Travel Guides.
4. Willis, Matt. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Serbia. DK Publishing.

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