Novi Sad dramatically welcomes visitors with its formidable fortress and clock tower boasting reversed hour and minute hands. Like so many strategic spots in the region, Novi Sad also has a complicated history. It’s been conquered by the Celts and Romans, Byzantines, Hungarians, Ottomans and Habsburgs. The city’s complex past is reflected in Novi Sad’s eclectic architecture, and well-illustrated by the whimsical windows featured here.
Belgrade. It’s an old city with a new vibe, and as we discovered during a whirlwind two days there, it is abuzz with creative energy, innovation, and tradition.
In one corner of town a woman wearing a babushka-style scarf sells lavender, white and cranberry-colored flowers at a market, alongside vendors peddling a bounty of cherries, strawberries, and green peppers. Just around the corner, in the up and coming Savamala district, young entrepreneurs mingle in an industrial-building-turned-cultural center that could just as likely be in San Francisco or Berlin. And, in the city’s sixth-century fortress, old men cluster around a park table, playing a heated match of chess, while a young couple embraces on a bench overlooking the city’s skyline.
Passing through Palić’s Great Park entrance, a heavily-carved wooden arch that resembled reddish-brown lacework, I couldn’t help but imagine who had strolled through the gates a century earlier when this part of northern Serbia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We continued along on a sidewalk that was covered by a thick canopy of handsome old trees, our sights set on tranquil Lake Palić a few hundred meters off in the distance. White lamp posts framed the walkway, and eventually we reached the water’s edge.