Under the Petrovaradin Rock, a little Pannonia hill of Mt. Fruska Gora, a young town on the Danube was born – Novi Sad, in existence for a little bit over 300 years. Since it was founded in 1694, Novi Sad became the centre of Serbian culture and earned its nickname Serbian Athens.
The City of Novi Sad is the capital of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina situated in the eastern part of Europe, in Serbia. It is second largest city in Republic of Serbia with the population between 300,000 and 400,000 citizens. Novi Sad is located in the south of the Panonian Plain, on the border of the Bačka and Srem regions, on the banks of the Danube river and Danube-Tisa-Danube Canal, while facing the northern slopes of Fruška Gora mountain.
Across from Novi Sad, on the right bank of the river Danube, is the small town of Petrovaradin. Novi Sad and Petrovaradin are considered to be twin cities. They are separated by the Danube but connected by 3 bridges which are of essential importance for these two towns. However the most outstanding feature on the right bank of the Danube is the Petrovaradin Fortress. Often called “Gibraltar on the Danube”, Petrovaradin Fortress dates back some 600 years and is a maze of alleys, trenches, gates, underground tunnels and galleries. The famous Clock Tower dominates the Fortress, and today it is one of Novi Sad’s landmarks. Every July, the Fortress also hosts the EXIT music festival, which turns Novi Sad, into a music capital of Europe for the duration of the festival.
Moreover, there is the Danube as an unsymmetrical, potent axe of the City, embraced with long quay and Strand, the most beautiful city beach along the Danube. This river has always been both rewarding and punitive-natured to Novi Sad. It was generous in that it supplied Novi Sad with drinking water and brought ships full of passengers, goods, and ideas. Its punitive nature showed with floods. In earlier centuries, the Danube had been crossed by pontoon bridges. In the 20th century, ten bridges were built over the river. The bridges were destroyed during wars. Following the 1999 NATO air campaign, the citizens of Novi Sad would ’boast’ of their many bridges: two OVER the Danube, one (pontoon) ON the Danube, and seven IN the Danube.
From the very beginning, Novi Sad was a multiethnic town. Serbs have always made the majority of its population, but there were others, too: Germans, Hungarians, Croats, Slovaks, Ruthenias, Greeks, Tzintzars, Jews, Armenians, Romanians, Roma people and others. This multicultural image has not changed. A multiethnic foundation on which Novi Sad was built, makes it a very tolerant, peaceful environment with a specific charm to it.