History of Novi Sad

Early History of Novi Sad and settlements that had existed in the area, is not the clearest. The modern history of the area that now comprises the city of Novi Sad is related to the 1687 when Austria expelled the Turks from Backa and Srem and became ruler of these lands.

However, archaeological findings suggest that the area of Novi Sad was inhabited in the distant past, from the older Neolithic period to the end of the middle Ages.  At several locations in the city, at the Salt pond, near the former airport Jugovićevo, at the place of Temerinske traffic loop at the construction site in Novo Naselje neighborhood in Pašićeva Street, archaeological remains were found that bear witness to the density of today's urban area from prehistory to the present.

In Gift Charter of Hungary king Béla IV from the 1237, are mentioned for the first time larger settlements in the vicinity of today's Novi Sad. This Charter gave a Catholic Abbey in Petrovaradin (at that time called Belafons) few places on the left bank of the Danube, which is today the area of the modern city.

After the Battle of Mohács 1526, the Turks conquered Backa and ruled this region for 161 years. The documents from this period do not mention the existence of settlements in the territory of the old town center, but the record is still present in villages that are within the city.

Racko selo Novi SadDuring the time of the Turks rule, here lived Slovenian and Serbian population while the Hungarians fled away to the north. Turkish rule lasted until 1687 when they were expelled, and the Austrian army in the region won their high place in the fortress on the right bank of the Danube.

Liberation of these areas from the Turkish rule led to an accelerated colonization and urbanization. Emperor Leopold I offered to the Serbs certain benefits, because they fought on the side of the Christian army. At the same time, fleeing from the Turkish terror, the Serbs, led by Arsenije III Čarnojević 1690, crossed the Sava and Danube and populated areas north of these rivers. This event is known as the great migration of Serbs.

In 1692 Austrians has started to build new large defense fort on the far left bank of the Danube. In 1694 they constructed foothold. It was a military-craftsmen settlement of frontiersmen Serbs. This settlement initially called Rajac village, Racki city, and then Petrovaradin Trench, quickly developed. In s a very short time it became a commercial, military, educational, religious, and later the cultural center of the Serbs in this region. At the early 18th century Trench became one of the major cross-border settlements between Austria and Turkey.

Near Sremski Karlovci, ten kilometers away from Novi Sad, at the end of 1698, the peace talks began between the Christian Alliance, consisting of Austria, Poland and Venice one side and Turkey on the other, which were completed by the Peace of Karlovac, concluded in 1699. The monument that testifies of that event is the Chapel of Peace in Sremski Karlovci.

Austrian victory over the Turks 1716, in the battle at Petrovaradin, Western Europe was saved from further penetration of the Ottoman Empire. In memory of that, there is a monument of the Austrian army commander Prince Eugene of Savoy at the scene of the battle, on the hill Vezirac, named after the Turkish military command tent which was set at that point.

Memento on the expulsion of Turks from Central Europe is the Church on Tekije, located between Petrovaradin and Sremski Karlovci.
The Church is Christian, made for Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants as evidenced by three altars inside the church. The story of the victory of Christianity over Islam shows, laid on his back, crescent above which is the Christian cross on the back of the church dome. Belgrade again fall under the Ottoman rule in 1739 which resulted with the coming of the wave refugees from the Balkans: Greeks, Armenians, and others, mostly merchants and craftsmen.

Military border here was abolished in 1746 and people organized and submitted to Austrian court application for the independence of the city.

After lengthy negotiations, by the decree of Empress Maria Theresa of 1 February 1748, The Petrovaradin trench became a free royal city, got the official seal and name Neoplanta, in Latin, or in Serbian Novi Sad, which literally means "young vineyard. For the Greeks was a "new life" for Hungarians "new view", the Germans gave him the name "new nursery garden", and the Serbs called it Novi Sad, it was later accepted by the Vienna court.

The city has received great benefits and privileges of an autonomous and it was under the supervision of the authorities in Vienna. Independence for the city was paid to Austrian court with 95 000 silver florins, which collected donations of citizens Petrovaradin trench. At that time Novi Sad was connected with Petrovaradin with pontoon bridge, the most beautiful bridge in the Austrian Empire at that time.

Saborna crkva 1883 Madjarska gimnazija 1904 Dunavska ulica 1909
Saborna Church around 1883. Hungarian High School 1904 Dunavska Street 1909

In the first half of the 19th century Novi Sad has grown into a city which many described as the most beautiful town on the lower Danube. The rise was interrupted in the tragic way of revolutionary events at the mid-19th century, in which the Novi Sad had an important role.

Zidanje KatedraleThe people of Novi Sad did not accept the authorities of Hungary. Constant threat and uncertainty ended on 12 July 1849. On that day, the Austrian army under the command of Ban Jelacic opened cannon fire on the Petrovaradin Fortress, where the Hungarian army was stationed. From the fortress the Hungarians, under the command of General Rain, with 200 guns bombarded Novi Sad, which was then almost completely destroyed and suffered the most from all Serbian cities in the rebellion.

From about 2800 houses only 800 remained, and most residents were killed or fled, and their number is reduced from 20 to 6 thousand. What wasn’t destroyed or burned, it was stolen.

By the end of the rebellion, a loan of 1.3 million silver forints was provided, and in 1852 the restoration of Novi Sad had begun. It took 20 years to return Novi Sad city to the state before the bombing.

This is why most of the buildings, monuments, cultural and other buildings are no more than 150 years old.

Novi Sad 1910 Petrovaradin 1910 Zmaj Jovina ulica 1912
Novi Sad 1910. god. Petrovaradin fortress around 1910. Zmaj Jovina Street 1912.

The town was soon rebuilt and in the second half of the nineteenth century prospered in every respect. That time was marked by the strong personalities of national leaders of the Serbs - Svetozar Miletic. At the same time he lived in the city and created a number of outstanding writers, artists, scientists and cultural workers. Novi Sad was therefore, with a good reason, called the "Serbian Athens" and "Serbian Paris”.

At that time, in Novi Sad was established in the first Serbian National Theatre, and Matica Srpska was moved from Pest to Novi Sad. From Matica Srpska emerged the most important literary and cultural institutions of the Serbs, like the Museum of Vojvodina, Gallery of Matica Srpska and book trade and publishing company. In economic terms Novi Sad at the beginning of the 20th century was at the outskirts of Austrian state. During the First World War, Novi Sad was away from the war front and came out of the war damaged. It was liberated in November 1918.

Between the two world wars, after the unification of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Novi Sad is rapidly evolving. Across the Danube was built first permanent bridge. The city is spread on the bank of the Danube and with architecture designers such as Dragiša Brašovan, DjordjeTabakovic and Daka Popovic, the city follows European trends, as it did before with projects by Djordje Molnar and Vladimir Nikolic. Since 1929 until 1941 in Novi Sad is was the headquarters of the Danube Banovina, the administrative area of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Trg slobode Ulica kralja Petra Ulazak srpske vojske 1918
Liberty Square Kralja Petra Street Entrance of Serbian liberation army in 1918

From the beginning to the end of World War II, Novi Sad was under Hungarian occupation. At the beginning of the occupation several hundred citizens were shot, and many were interned in concentration camps. Fascist Hungarian army and gendarmerie in the infamous raid from 21 to 23 January 1942, killed about 1250 citizens of Novi Sad and its surroundings by throwing them under the ice of the Danube. The World War II participated more than 2,500 soldiers of all nationalities, and in fights were killed more than 830 citizens of Novi Sad.

Novi Sad has been liberated on 23rd October 1944 by the entry of partisans and the Red Army in the city. For his contribution of Novi Sad and its citizens to fight against fascism and in memory of the victims of World War II, by a Decree of President of the Republic in 1975th, Novi Sad is proclaimed for the hero town.

In the second half of the 20th century, Novi Sad shared the fate of the former Yugoslavia and neighboring countries but still remained a city of dignity and respect.

For decades, Novi Sad was one of the most developed and most beautiful cities in the country. The city was host to many events, the World Table Tennis Championship, Chess Olympics, the Congress of the United Nations Food and many others. In Novi Sad came and stayed visitors from around the world and on departure they carried always the greatest impressions and memories.

Sruseni most na Dunavu 1941 Trg slobode 1958 Izgradnja mosta 1960
Bridge on Danube 1941. god. Liberty Square1958. god. Buiding of Žeželj bridge in 1960

The bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by the North Atlantic alliance began with bombing of Novi Sad, 24th March 1999. In the next 78 days all three bridges across the Danube in Novi Sad were destroyed. Bombing also destroyed the oil refineries, electric power facilities in the vicinity, and many other buildings in the city and its surroundings.

For most of Novi Sad citizens and visitors, the old Varadin Bridge which collapsed was, along with a tower with a clock on the fortress, a symbol of the city and the most famous postcard of Novi Sad.

Varadinski most Most slobode 1999 Zezeljev most 1999
Varadin bridge bombed in 1999. god. Liberty bridge bombed in 1999. god. Žeželj bridge bombed in 1999. god.

Today, Novi Sad city developed economy, trade, transport, culture, education, science, healthcare, tourism and other activities that belong to the modern city in the beginning of the 21st century.