Novi Sad Travel Guide
Going back eons, Novi Sad has always been a strategic point on the Danube. Today, its military importance matters not. Rather, it is a centre of culture and tourism.
From the “Gibraltar On The Danube” to its historic buildings downtown, there is much to see here.
After getting settled in Novi Sad, make Petrovaradin Fortress your first stop. The Romans laid the first foundation for this military stronghold. Nicknamed Gibraltar on the Danube by some, it is an impressive sight to behold even today.
As hard as it was to take, conquest wasn’t an impossibility. The Turks proved that in the 16th century with a two-week siege that ended in its fall. The Turks held the fort for more than 150 years, relinquishing it to the Austrians in the Great Turkish War.
The Austrians then rebuilt the entire facility to resemble what exists today. It was enough, despite the strength of the Ottomans, to repel the latter empire at a showdown battle in 1716. From that day forward, the Ottomans ceased to threaten the sovereignty of Central Europe.
Today, Petrovaradin Fortress is more than just an attraction for history and military buffs. It also hosts a prominent music fest called the EXIT Festival. Also, its catacombs often draw more interest than any other feature. During the height of Napoleon’s empire, the Austrian royals hid their Crown Jewel in these tunnels. According to rumours, some pieces are still hidden in its depths.
Next, make time to check out the Synagogue of Novi Sad. In its day, it was the biggest house of worship for Novi Sad’s Jewish community. 4,000 strong before World War II, less than 1,000 survived the horrors of that conflict.
After the war, many decided to move to the newly-established state of Israel. Today, Novi Sad is home to only 400 Jews. As a result, this synagogue no longer runs regular services. Rather, it serves as a museum, and as a space for cultural events.
This attraction is worth visiting even if you aren’t Jewish. For one, its architecture is stunning. It combines elements of Art Nouveau with Hungarian styles. Normally, this building isn’t open to the public. However, if you talk to the caretaker, you may be able to look around for a donation.
If you’re able to leave Novi Sad on a day trip check out Fruska Gora, the region’s most distinct mountain. While you’re in the area, though, don’t miss the Fruska Gora Monasteries. Here, you will find 17 different monasteries – all of which are important to the Serbian Orthodox Church.
If you’re in a rush, certain structures are more noteworthy than others. For instance, Krusedol Monastery contains some of Serbia’s most treasured Baroque paintings. All of them, however, hold a pivotal place in Serbian history. Because of this, they are well-visited by locals. On your way out, buy some honey from the monks – apparently, they are divinely delicious.
Back in Novi Sad, The Name of Mary Church is this city’s most significant Catholic Church. Its bell tower looms over the surrounding area at a vertigo-inducing 72 metres high. Three churches have existed on this land – the Hapsburgs built the original, but it burned down in 1742. The second church lasted until the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, which is when it got bombed. Authorities reconstructed what is now the current church.
Inside, you’ll find fantastic stained glass windows, and a carved altar featuring wood from Tyrol. Its organ is also quite impressive. As you look around, respect those who are praying. They are locals, not photo models.
If you have a craving for nature, satisfy it with a visit to Fruska Gora National Park. Through the eons, its lower slopes had served as fertile ground for vineyards. Today, though, it is home to numerous threatened animal and plant species.
Interestingly, it is home to endangered insect species. Some, like the Balkan Goldring (a type of dragonfly) are now extinct in other European countries. Birdwatchers will love it here, as this park is home to more than 200 species.
On a hot summer’s day, there’s no better place to be in Novi Sad than Strand. This place is this city’s most popular riverside beach. On a busy day, you’ll find over 20,000 residents sunning themselves on the bank of the Danube. Entry costs about 50 RSD, for 0.50 USD.
Before leaving Novi Sad, spend an evening enjoying everything Dunavska Street has to offer. In centuries past, traders and merchants bargained on this thoroughfare. Today, locals and tourists trade their money for food, coffee, and drinks. Sitting at the heart of this city, there’s no better place to have a night on the town.