Novi Sad, one of the most attractive Danubian cities, is not only the largest cultural centre in Vojvodina, but also one of the most important cultural centres of Serbia, and of Europe – which you must come to see and experience in-depth! Especially these days when, following the year 2019 in which it was the European Youth Capital and Lonely Planet’s #3 best city, it is now warming up to deliver only the purest cultural superlatives ahead of 2021!
How come Novi Sad is this cultural, cultured and increasingly enculturated city?
Some of the answers you may find in its turbulent history, which helped shape its present identity and character.
Novi Sad is a relatively young city. It will celebrate its 272nd birthday on 1st February, the day when it got the status of a free city.
Since 1748, a number of events have directed its development and shaped it into what it is today – from a trading settlement in the shadow of the largest military fortification in this part of Europe, to the administrative centre of Vojvodina, the university centre, developed industries and rich cultural heritage.
It has been a perilous journey for Novi Sad, however. For almost three centuries of its existence, it was once burned to the ground, repeatedly bombed, flooded by the mighty Danube, and on several occasions, it ended up without all its bridges, and even changed several states.
Novi Sad today is the city of great cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. It is the city of cultures where differences intertwine rather than diverge one from another. Novi Sad emphasizes its multiculturalism, history and spirit of the city through artistic expression, museum exhibitions, temporary installations, street art, projects and events that take place throughout the year alongside with its rich cultural offer.
Multiple institutions of culture, such as museums and galleries interpret the social values and lives of diverse nations and ethnic groups that have lived in the area throughout history. This is evident mainly in religious buildings – besides Orthodox churches, Novi Sad also boasts a neo-gothic Roman Catholic Church which is the major city’s landmark, art nouveau Synagogue, Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church, and others.
Petrovaradin Fortress, with its prominent clocktower and underground military galleries, is the main symbol of Novi Sad. It was built on the right bank of the Danube and several centuries ago served as a defence of Habsburg Monarchy against the Turkish invasion. Today, this is a unique space for one of the largest and award-winning European music festivals – EXIT, attracting around 200,000 people annually. This year EXIT is preparing a spectacular programme and massive celebrations for its 20th birthday so stay tuned for more info!
Novi Sad knows how to cherish its intangible heritage – foremost its way of life and hospitality of the local residents, as well as its history and material artefacts that are put on display to visitors in institutions of culture across the city. Matica Srpska, City Museum of Novi Sad, Museum of Vojvodina, Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, Gallery Square or the Synagogue are some of the buildings and venues that can certainly intrigue every visitor.
For all it has to offer, Novi Sad will soon be crowned with the title of the European Capital of Culture!
Ahead of 2021, the rich cultural programme will unfold throughout the seasons. They will be happening in different venues across the city, some of which may be slightly out of the norm and the usual. For example, churches, factories, primary schools, etc, will offer their spaces for events. Cultural stations have been refurbished and redesigned for the purpose of extending the creative and cultural offer of the city: Chinese Quarter, Svilara (silk factory) or Egyseg (the former castle and sports hall) that shall become or have already become the cores of artistic expression of young people and those who feel as such. They present the backbone of the city’s new cultural policy oriented towards citizens and their bigger inclusion in the processes of democratisation and intercultural development. The opening of cultural points on the edges of the city will contribute to the greater cultural engagement of citizens and the enhancement of social interaction.
For all mentioned, and unmentioned, we invite you to come to Novi Sad, to better know the city of the vibrant everydayness, tangible and intangible heritage, mainstream and alternative culture – and let it surprise you by its rich, rich, rich repertoire!
The programme for 2021 will be officially announced in the second half of 2020.
Some useful tips:
- Getting there
- Stay in one of the funky accommodation facilities
- Dine in some cosy eateries and try our craft beers and high-quality wines
- Walk beyond the main tourist routes