Novi Sad is the second largest city in Serbia and the administrative center of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. Located in the southern part of the fertile Pannonian Plain, on the banks of the huge Danube river, and near Fruska Gora mountain, Novi Sad has a lot to offer. Beautiful architecture, worldwide festivals, and events, wine trails, a taste of homemade cuisine at “Salaš” farmsteads and “čardas”, beautiful nature and many Orthodox monasteries at Fruška Gora. A place where everyone can find something for themselves to enjoy.
Over the years, Novi Sad gained international media attention because of Exit, an award-winning summer music festival, which is held every year at the Petrovaradin Fortress. The city continued to invest in the development of its cultural and creative potentials, so Novi Sad has been selected as the 7th “Best European Destination” for a holiday or city-trip in 2016. Also, Novi Sad is planning to bid for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2021.
This is my second visit to Novi Sad. First time I came during the summer because of Exit festival, a few years ago, but I didn’t have enough time to explore. When my sister told me that she is participating as a designer at Serbia Fashion Week in November, and she is bringing me as her assistant I decided that this time, I will do more sightseeing and go for a first-time visit to National Park Fruška Gora.
Beautiful architecture of Old Town
The old town is a central and the oldest part of Novi Sad. It was founded in 1694 under the name of Racka town or Petrovaradin Šanac.
While walking through this part of the city you can enjoy the interesting architecture. The biggest street is Zmaj Jovina, that goes from Liberty Square and St. Mary Cathedral to the Palace of Bačka Bishop.
Then, if you continue on the right you will enter the Dunavska street, one of the oldest streets in Novi Sad. Both streets are located in a pedestrian area, so you don’t have to worry about cars while sightseeing. In this time of year, the Old town is shining with holiday lights and decorations. Wonderful atmosphere!
The Name of Mary Church
This Roman Catholic Parish church, locally known as St. Mary Cathedral, was built in the period from 1893 to 1895, on the foundation of a church damaged during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, according to the plan of the Hungarian architect György Molnár. It was built in neo-Gothic style, one of my favorite styles in architecture. I found a roof with enameled ceramic tiles in many colors especially beautiful. Situated at Liberty Square, across the City Hall, and at the beginning of the pedestrian area in the city center, it has the perfect location. The tower is 73 m high and makes this church the tallest in the city.
City Hall (Magistrate)
The Magistrate is just across the St. Mary Cathedral on the Liberty Square. It was also built according to the plan of György Molnár in 1895, the same year as the construction of the church.
This building is built in a neo-Renaissance style with interesting allegorical figures on the facade. Allegorical figures are the work of a Novi Sad sculptor Julius Anika. He was inspired by ancient mythology and he tried to represent a variety of human activities with high moral values.
The City hall has four domes at all four corners and a tower with a great balcony near the top. I imagine what a wonderful view would be from the balcony, to see many holiday lights and decorations at the Liberty Square and Zmaj Jovina street.
The Palace of the Backa Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church
It’s difficult to miss it if you are walking from Liberty Square, through the main pedestrian space.
The Palace is situated on the crossroads of Zmaj Jovina and Dunavska street and it attracts attention with its eclecticism style of build, based on the mixture of Romanticism and Secession. The man credited for the design is the Serbian architect Vladimir Nikolić. Also, the exterior decoration is very interesting, with forms of pseudo-Moorish plastic, done by the sculptor Julius Anika.
It was built in 1899, during the time of Bishop Mitrofan Šefić, on the remains of the previous Palace. The previous Palace was built in 1741, thanks to the effort of Bishop Visarion Pavlović. But, it was destroyed in the bombardment of the city during the Rebellion in 1849.
There is a monument in front of the Palace dedicated to the famous Serbian poet Jovan Jovanović Zmaj. He was born in Novi Sad in a respectable bourgeois family. Although by profession a doctor, throughout his whole life he worked in publishing and editing of literary, political and children magazines. He was the first writer in Serbian literature who wrote poetry for children.
The Danube Park
Exiting Dunavska street you will enter the beautiful park, that was also named after the Danube, Europe’s second-longest river, that flows through Novi Sad.
At the entrance, you will be welcomed by a beautiful small fountain with the statue of a nymph holding a horn of plenty. Surroundings are decorated with artificial Christmas trees, making a cozy holiday atmosphere.
Until the late 19th century this area used to be a wetland Danube bayou. Then began filling of the depression of the terrain and the development of today’s park – planting trees and forming paths. Only at the lowest part of the terrain remained a puddle, which was turned into a small lake. In the middle of it, there is an island called “Eržebet” with a weeping willow, which was planted in memory of Elizabeth Bavarska, the Austro-Hungarian empress who was killed in 1898.
Danube Park is now a natural monument and a protected natural asset because it is the home for over 100 various plants species and 600 various trees that are mostly from the period of the establishment of the park. A little empire of biodiversity.
In the park, there is a beautiful white “Saletta” (Summerhouse), tucked between the trees. During the summer months, this is a popular venue for small concerts and various cultural events.
The Petrovaradin Fortress
While arriving in Novi Sad, across the bridge of Liberty, we enjoyed the beautiful view over Danube river and Petrovaradin Fortress that rises on the right shore of the river. The night just started to fall down and the moon reflection appeared on the calm water and illuminated the Fortress. It was magical!
During the day, the view is no less beautiful. After sightseeing in Danube Park, we exited on Boulevard of Mihajla Pupina and while crossing Varadin bridge and approaching to Petrovaradin Fortress, we loved the view. The fortress is situated in the city district of Petrovaradin, a formerly fortified town by the river Danube. This region was inhabited since the Palaeolithic age. The first larger fortification on the place of today’s fortress was the Cusum Fortress, built in the Roman period.
The Petrovaradin Fortress was built in the period between 1692 and 1780, during the reigns of Austrians rulers Leopold I, Joseph I, Charles IV, Maria Theresa, and Joseph II. It includes the Upper Town/ Fortress and Lower Town/Fortress. Because of its strategic position, it is also known as Gibraltar on the Danube.
According to the legend the name Petrovaradin was derived from Latin, Hungarian and Turkish. Petra is a Latin word for rock, var is Hungarian word for town and din means faith in Turkish. So, Petrovaradin is the town on the rock as strong as faith.
An interesting Clock Tower dominates the Upper Town. It is special because the big hand indicates hours and the small one minutes. This was set like this because for soldiers on the Danube river when they needed to change the guard, the hours were of greater importance.
I can say that this is the place with the best view in town. From here you can see the greatness of the Danube river and enjoy in the view over Novi Sad and its surroundings.
The Petrovaradin fortress is quite big so you will first have a nice walk to the Upper Town through Leopold Gate or up the Fortress Staircase. Beside the Clock Tower, at the Upper Town, Duga Kasarna (Long Barracks) is situated. I would recommend a walk around the Duga Kasarna and then a nice meal in some of the restaurants. Enjoy the wonderful view.
Serbia Fashion Week
Serbia Fashion Week is held twice a year in April and November for 5 days. It gathers famous international and local fashion designers and applied artists. The goal is to create opportunities and to show all energy and talent of young designers. Besides the glamorous fashion shows, there are also organized excellent educational seminars and exhibitions. This November fashion week was held from 7-12. The seminars were led by famous people from the world of fashion – Donald Potard, Barbara Locatelli and many others.
A very nice surprise for all fashion lovers was the arrival of Anna Fendi, a famous fashion designer, and entrepreneur from Rome, Italy.
The fashion week was held in the big conference room in the Novi Sad Fair building. The organization was excellent and it got a lot of local and international media attention.
What to Visit Close to Novi Sad?
Novo Hopovo Monastery
Since the olden times, the area of Fruška Gora was rich with sanctuaries. In 16th and 17th century 35 Orthodox monasteries were built here. Today, 16 of all of them are active. So, it is not surprising that a lot of people called this mountain a Holy mountain.
Monastery Novo Hopovo is situated at the southern slopes of Fruška Gora, only a few hundred meters from the main road Ruma – Novi Sad, and a few kilometers from the settlement of Irig. It is very easy to find it if you follow road signs.
The monastery was founded in 15th century and from that time it was damaged twice – in the battle with the Turkish army in the 17th century and during World War II.
The church of Saint Nicholas is particularly beautiful, built of hewn stone and brick, with architecture in the style of the Moravian School. Definitely worth seeing!
Good quality honey and local beverages (various rakias and liquors) can be bought here.
Sloboda (Freedom) Memorial Site
If you turn left on the crossroad at the main road Novi Sad – Ruma, after 500 m you will reach the mountain hut “Vojvodina” at Iriški Venac.
From here, we continued by foot down the road and through the carpet of autumn leaves. After a couple minutes of a colorful walk, we reached the Information center of Fruška Gora. Unfortunately, it was closed because we came on a national holiday of Armistice Day in the First World War (11th November). During other days, here you can get all the information about National Park Fruška Gora and buy souvenirs.
From here many beautiful paths lead through the forest so you can enjoy all the autumn colors. Some of the paths are marked with hearts. Wonderful!
After I finished reading the educational panel, I set in front of the Information Center and noticed that nearby, high above the tree there was a huge monument with a sculpture of a woman, holding her hands raised high in the air. It looked magnificent!
We were lucky that we came across a woman, who is a native of Novi Sad and she told us all about the monument. It symbolizes freedom for which the brave Vojvodina soldiers fought in World War II. The monument is a symbol of the National Liberation Struggle against fascism.
The sculpture of a woman is a personification of liberty and she is inviting all the citizens for an uprising. It is set high on the top of the obelisk, and beneath her, on the pedestal, is a group of armed partisans, ready for the fight for liberty. On the monument also features a drawn bronze relief depicting the suffering, resistance, and fight. The sculptor is Sreten Stojanović. This masterpiece was built in 1951 from limestone rocks dug up at Fruška Gora. Freedom to the people!
Kovacevic Wine House
On the slopes of Fruška Gora, beside the main road Novi Sad – Ruma and close to Novo Hopovo Monastery and Irig, you can find the beautiful Kovačević Wine House. Definitely, do not miss it!
It’s separated with a big concrete defense from the road. In front of the house there is a parking lot, so we didn’t have to worry about our car. The restaurant is quite big, but since it is very popular, a reservation is recommended.
There is a terrace with a beautiful view over the greenery of Fruška Gora. I’m a big gourmand and wine lover, so I can say Kovačević Wine House was like paradise to me. The food is homemade and very delicious! They have various types of dishes – from traditional for this region to gluten-free and interesting combinations with wine sauce. The prices are not high. Really! I was surprised because this is a luxury restaurant and food is so wonderful. Every wine from Kovačević vineyards you try in the restaurant, you can buy at the entrance reception.
The good news for visitors with children is that there is a big playground in the garden.