Friday, July 19, 2013

SERBIA: VOJVODINA, Part 2

After our lunch we had a little time to walk around Sremski Karlovi, a small town of about 9,000  situated on the Danube. It was surprisingly quiet, perhaps because it was a Sunday afternoon and most of the residents are Serbian Orthodox.

















We wandered into St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral. With its twin towers, it looks almost Catholic.


The ornamentation, however, is definitely Orthodox:


And the interior, whoa!  The Baroque iconostasis, rich hues, and polished gold throughout are a stunning contrast to the black and white exterior:







Next door to the Cathedral is the Patriarchate Court, built in the Italian palace style in the 1890s. The bishop of Sremski lives here year round, and the Serbian Patriarch makes his home here in the summer.
This unhappy lion looks like he has a splinter in his foot.

Next, we drove to Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbia (with a population of only about 250,000) and the seat of the Vojvodina government. Situated on the Danube River, it has long been an important trade center, which explains why the Petrovaradin Fortress was built in the 17th and 18th centuries, keeping watch over the city from its perch on the hill.
The old city surrounds the Fortress, and the new city is on the other side of the Danube.

Rooftop view from the Petrovaradin Fortress
A good view of the Danube, which I can never see without thinking of this.
The clock tower at the top of the Fortress is a bit unusual. The long hand shows the hours and the short hand the minutes.
Miles of underground tunnels protected those going to and from the Fortress:

 Of course, there are also stairs for the less important folk:


 Bob had a way of finding cats all over the Balkans:
Some of the homes in Novi Sad look about the same age as the Fortress:

A wedding, perhaps?
Obviously, not too many semis come into the city via this Eastern Gate to Novi Sad:
The ambience of Novi Sad changes completely on the other side of the Danube as the deep past gives way to a cleaner, brighter, more cosmopolitan world:

 Like many European cities, there are many streets that are closed to pedestrians, making for wonderful strolling and site-seeing:
 The main Catholic church in Novi Sad is named "The Name of Mary Catholic Church." This Gothic church was finished in 1894.

                                 

Out in front of the church in the main square (known as Liberty Square) is a statue of a man seeming to shake his fist at the church:
 Or maybe he is, as Bob has suggested, throwing out the first pitch of the season.
This is Svetozar Miletic (1826-1901), a very prominent Serbian political leader during the Austria-Hungary days. He was a lawyer, a member of Parliament, and the mayor of Novi Sad. He has a rather distinct oratorical style, wouldn't you say?
Miletic has his back to the Novi Sad government building and faces the Catholic Church. It does seem as if he is not too happy with the church. The sculptor, Ivan Mestrovich, is probably the most famous artist of the Balkans. He had ties to the Vienna Secession Movement, and Wikipedia notes that he was the first living person to have a one-man show at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. We saw several more of his sculptures during our travels and visited his atelier in Zagreb on our last full day in the Balkans. I'll include more about him in future posts.

 While not quite the masterpiece of a Mestrovic sculpture, I love the story behind this statue of a contemporary of Miletic, Jovan Jovanovic (1833-1904), which is standing in front of the Bishop's Palace.
As a young man, Jovanovic became a very successful poet, but by profession he was a physician. He married and had five children, and many of his greatest poems are for children. However, before he turned 40, all of his children and his wife died of tuberculosis. Our guide told us that he dedicated the rest of his life to serving children, both through medicine and through his writing. In fact, many of Serbia's nursery rhymes were actually written by Jovanovic.

Next: Finishing up in Serbia

4 comments:

  1. Miletic is Orthodox and he's taking on the Catholic Church. It actually looks like he's shooting a basketball.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But I am guessing that the Croatian sculptor, Mestrovic, is Catholic.

      Delete
  2. Judging from the pictures, St Nicholas as almost distractingly ornate.

    I see there is plenty of graffiti in this part of the world, too.

    As always, the statues and art add so much to the experience of being in a foreign country. Something about the universal appeal of art enhances the experience of seeing distant places.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I guess they don't do wrong side of the tracks, here, but instead wrong side of the river? The two Novi Sads are quite strikingly different. (One's for the tourists?)

    Beautiful countryside and beautiful churches!

    ReplyDelete

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