“Serbia 🇷🇸 ~Scenic, From Novi Sad to Fruska Gora, to Belgrade”

We headed out of Novi Sad, with big plans for our trip to Fruska Gora. But, but got road blocked on both ends of the National Park, due to construction, so we did not fully get to see what we drove there to see. What we did see was pretty. Its farmland, mountains and forests. I took only a few photos, along the way.

Ninety million years ago, Fruška Gora Mountain was an island in the Pannonian sea. When the sea went dry, the island remained without its aquatic neighbor, but in exchange, nature bestowed upon it, the role of the only mountain in the flat Vojvodina, raised in the shape of a narrow reef. It is approximately 46 miles long, from which extend single lateral reefs flourishing with oak, hornbeam, beech and basswood forests.
In the endless greenery of these deciduous forests, on the glades of reigning mountain of the Pannonian Basin, there are 16 Monasteries, which were built around 16th and 18th century, in styles of Baroque and Morava architectural school of medieval Serbia. Due to its riches considering the many places to worship, Fruška Gora is also called the “Holy Mountain” or “Serbian Atos.”
Once, in its hidden valleys there were 35 Serbian orthodox monasteries built by the Royal family; Branković, continuing the old Nemanjićs’ state, but they were annihilated in wars and conquered.
What also makes this mountain so extraordinary, are its rich Vinyards. Pathways of Fruška Gora are also wine trails, In the wineries, which are furnished like old Srem households, you can normally experience the spirit and old times of Srem folks, as well as bohemians and gentry who adored this place.With the COVID, there were no wineries open, on the route we took, but we definitely saw vineyards.
The lonely island mountain erected in the middle of great Pannonian Basin, scientists call “the mirror of geographical past.” Serbs call it “the mirror of cultural and spiritual past,” which hold century-old forests in the oldest Serbian National Park.
Name of this church
So beautiful inside. It just shimmered and glowed!

From there, we headed towards Belgrade, and looked for a hotel just on the fringe, where it will be less chaotic than in the big city. We found a great spot, about 15 minutes away from the capital city, 15 Euro/night. It is very close to the very Customs for Hungary Border. We want to go so bad, but we can’t go back into the Schlegen zone, again, til September 9th. (We are only allowed a 90-days Visa, in a 180 day period) Anyway, we will spend two nights in this roadside hotel, where we have one real bed (not two twins shoved together, A/C which works, a fridge, and WIFI. We have no food in the area, so for tonight, we ordered delivery pizza, as we are too pooped to get back in the car and explore for a meal. There will be plenty of time for that, tomorrow, when the day is fresh!

In this down time, we have some business to take care of, back home, which requires faxing and printers. In addition, if we can go to Bosnia 🇧🇦 from here, we will, but I must find a hospital or clinic in Belgrade where we can get another COVID19 tests done, as Bosnia requires a negative test within 48 hours of crossing their borders. In talking with the gal at this hotel reception, she does not know where we can go for testing. I asked her, as a local resident, where would she go, if she wanted to get tested. She told me, she did not think they had testing in Serbia. Hmm 🤔, this might be interesting, and not as easy as it was in Kosovo.
Incidentally, this morning I made a phone call to a customs office I was directed to with a contact phone number, from off the internet; to inquire about boarder crossing requirements (Bosnia). A man answered, and I asked for English please. The gentleman said;” no English.” I said; “Please, English speaker?” He said; “no speak the English,” then said; “goodbye,” and hung up.

If we can find the testing, we will get ‘er done again, if not, we will not be going to Bosnia. We have been to Bosnia, before, but we wanted to explore much more, just like we did in Montenegro, recently, because we had been there, too, but not for long enough the first time.

Romania also borders Serbia, but their border restrictions are tough. Even the locals have to quarantine for 14 days, after crossing. In our case, we would have to have a negative test within 48 hours, plus quarantine for 14 days. We have a rental car we are paying for, by the day, so that’s not going to work. I’ve been to Romania, but wanted Daryl hasn’t, and I wanted him to see, at least part of it, like I got to. It’s really wonderful!

Regardless of what county we go to, next, we have one more stop, near the Bosnia border. We will either do our activity and cross over, or we will do the activity, and stay in Serbia for an extra day. Time will tell.

It’s necessary to be flexible, and patient, when traveling during a world-wide Pandemic. That is for sure!

“Serbia 🇷🇸 ~Petrovaradin Fortress and Around Novi Sad”

We absolutely love Novi Sad! The vibe, the old-world feel, the charm, and the culture. This is a bigger city, yet, the feeling is still like an enchanting small town. I’m not sure how, but it is.

This morning we headed for the Petrovaradin Fortress, which is on the Danube River, overlooking Novi Sad. From a distance, it looks like a small Fort on a hill, but it was a huge Fortress at one time. The expanse of battle-ready thick walls are an indicator of just how big. To get to the main part of the Fortress, there were entrance gates and a one-way tunnel (thank goodness for a small traffic light for the one-way indicator; as we took turns going in and out).

Crossing the Danube River, by bridge, from Novi Sad, where the Fortress comes into view. It is also calledGibraltar on the Danube,” 

On a rocky cliff at the base of Fruska Gora, is the site of today’s Fortress from ancient times The latest archaeological studies show that the history of this locality originated more than 200 thousand years ago! In this timeframe, the Fortress on the hill had many owners, names and took on varied shapes
Celts lived in this place between the 3rd and 4th BC. In the 1st century AD, the romans lived here. Between Petrovaradin and a town today, called Sremska Kamenica, there was a Fortress Cusum. At the time of the Byzantine Empire in the same place, there was a Fortress Petricon. In the 8th century, today’s Petrovaradin was in franacka state, and from the 9th century, it was a part of the state of medieval Hungary.
The Turks occupied the Fort in the year 1526. It would remain a Turkish Fort for 160 years,; until 1687. At that time, it was conquered by the Austrians and the imperial court evaluated a long battle for supremacy in the Danube region. In 1692, Austria began construction of the new fortification, now known as Petrovaradin Fortress.

The construction of the fortress lasted 88 years, until the year 1780. It was built during the reign of Austrian Emperor; Leopold I, Joseph. Under his rule, many Fortresses were built in Europe, and Petrovaradin Fortress was the largest of them all; extending almost 272 acres. It is also the best preserved. The particularity of this system are high and steep walls, water moats and channels, with movable bridges and control gates.
It was a specific design of particular importance, with an underground Fortress on four floors, with almost ten miles of corridors and resting places, as well as a backup supply well in case of a long siege against the Fortress.
One of many views from the Fortress, overlooking the Danube
According to one legend, the name is derived from Petrovaradin; “Petra” means rock in Latin, “var” is in a Hungarian town, and “din” is from the Turkish faith, from which is derived Petrovaradin ~ the town on the rock firm as faith.
One-way Tunnel. Here we go!
The Clock Tower is a distinctive sign of the Petrovaradin Fortress and Novi Sad. The diameter of the clock circles on all four sides of the baroque tower are bigger than seven feet, and the numbers are written in Roman numerals, such is the rule of Christian churches.
The specific uniqueness of the clock, are the big hands which show hours, and small hands which shows minutes; because for the boatman on the River Danube, the changing of the guards and military order were significant for the time. The clock is visible from afar, and is still operational and rings on the full hour.
A view from the Clock Tower
Also from the Clock Tower, I saw this old church. I wanted to see if it was open, but where was the way down?
Not all businesses are open around the Fort. I would say this bistro will need a haircut, before it opens again
Mr. Terrific found the tunnel which goes down to the chambers which led to the u ground Catacombs. Inside, the main gate to the catacomb tunnels remained locked. We had hoped at least the church, below would be unlocked, but it wasn’t.
The steps are not the best, so one must go slow
The name of the old Church, just below the Fortress Clock Tower
Climbing back up from the locked church, it is a pretty view of the Clock Tower, from below
After leaving the Fortress. we headed back over the Danube, to Novi Sad

There are the medieval Catacombs of the Petrovaradin Fortress which we were quite excited to explore. There are underground tunnels, beneath the Fortress. Unfortunately, for now, they are closed to tourists, due to COVID19. That was a big bummer, but it’s just how the cookie crumbles for us. We still remember the Catacombs we visited in Paris, also underground, so its not like we haven’t experience this kind of thing, but the ancient tunnels are quite unique. In Paris, there were skulls and bones stacked up all over. It was haunting, yet so incredible at the same time. Here, there are no visible bones that I know of, but of course it has its own uniqueness.

Not my photo~but this is a part of the catacombs

Though the Fortress is a popular site, there are no signs pointing the way to the hidden catacombs. Perhaps it meant to be a secret?
The underground tunnels hidden beneath the fortress; the underground military galleries are often referred to as the catacomb, create in a four-story, roughly 10-mile-long network of passageways.
There are numerous artifacts and symbols found on the walls, such as the Maltese cross and various masonic symbols. One of them is the ipam miam inscription, used by the alchemists and Freemasons. Each level is marked with a different color, with the fourth (black) one being the most mysterious, as on its bottom lies the so-called “Kaiser Well,” from which the Austrian king Joseph drank water.
There are many legends related to the Fortress’ tunnels, including a myth about hidden treasure. The story goes that the Austrian Imperial Treasury was brought into the Fortress to hide it from Napoleon’s possible attack on Vienna, and that some of the treasure has still remains hidden underneath. 
After leaving the Fortress, we headed back over the bridge, crossing the Danube again, to get back to Novi Sad

We returned back to the area around Freedom Square. It is THE place to go. Soon, we desired our hotel room and A/C to cool down and rest a bit. By dinner we were right back out there, getting a bite to eat! With so many people, there are plenty of places to choose from and places to sit and relax. Many shops are open. Masks are required to enter churches and shops. Outside seating at restaurants are aplenty. We can eat indoors, but are told we must wear a mask to do so. Nobody can answer our question; “how do we eat with masks on?”

It is so great we secured a hotel room within walking distance of the square, as its the only way to go. We are staying at Bella ? (will try to remember) Its affordable and comfortable; two tonight for 50 Euro and they did our laundry for five Euro.

Oh yes we did!
This area of Novi Sad is called Jewish Street

Novi Sad has always been famous for its culturally and ethnically diverse society. The distinctive history makes it closer to the Hungarian than to the Ottoman influences of the south. This is directly connected to the presence of the diverse religious architecture and the real cultural salad which the city has become over the years.
One of the symbols of the city, and one of the most beautiful buildings in Serbia is the synagogue on Jevrejska (Jewish) St. The 100-year-old synagogue is not regularly in use for practicing the religion, but it serves as a genuine concert venue in Novi Sad. This same address was a home to five different synagogues in the history, where each new one outgrew the old one in the size and the beauty.

High above the main gate, there is still a semicircular inscription; “Ki beti, bet tefila ikara l’kol haamim,” which translates to …for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” taken from the Book of Isaiah 56:7
The building of the newest and the biggest fifth synagogue, since the 18th century, was a major project for the Jewish community in Serbia. They hired the Hungarian architect Lipot Baumhorn; famous as a leading synagogue architect in Central Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. Baumhorn was up to the task and has created a masterpiece of sorts, a stunning three-dome building that even 100 years later, dominates the city landscape. The Synagogue of Novi Sad has the shape of a triple-nave basilica, imposing in size and evocative in its nature.
Svetozar Miletić Monument
The monument dedicated is dedicated to Svetozar Miletic, who was the most significant Serbian politician in the 19th century, His statue is placed at the Square of Freedom.
During the WWII the monument was moved away in order to protect it from being destroyed or damaged, and after the war ended, it was moved back to the very place where it stands still, today, in front of Town Hall
SvetozarMiletic; born 1826- died 1901, was a lawyer, a Mayor of Novi Sad (1861-1862; 1867-1868), a Member of parliament of Hungary and Croatia, president of the Serbian reading room, one of the founders of Serbian National Theatre (1861), of Serbian national free mindparty (1869) and a starter of a newspaper; “Zastava’’ (1866). which was among the most significant Serbian paper in the Austrian Empire.
His ideas and his political programme had a great impact on the national strategy and the national movement of the Serbs from Vojvodina, during the second half of the 19th century. Many times he was arrested, sentenced and imprisoned, because of his political activity.
Since he spent many years in prison, he became ill and therefore he retired from the political life. He died in Vrsac in 1901.
Take a Step Back in Time
One of the oldest and most beautiful streets in Novi Sad, today represents the place with a strange juncture of the past and the present times. Walking down the former Perovaradinska Street, the colorful facades and decorations are alternating, and thoughts are wildly going back to the times when the merchants, tradespeople and passengers rapidly walked across it towards the Danube.
The imagination is waking up, and one can imagine, if we try, this street which once was the embankment between the two ponds, are starting to flow. Sights of the numerous wooden bridges and fishermen crossing them in a rush to exhibit their fresh merchandise at the famous marketplace on Dunavska Street. Sounds coming from the small craft shops are mixing with the scents that are spreading from the old stores and inns.
It was completely torn apart by bombing, but its re-building stared really quickly. At the time, representative palaces were built according to the modern European styles that had sprung up; the same with the but the inns and bookstores.
Dunavska has started to live, and its former charm has been awakened. This street is maybe the best example of how the buildings and environment don’t make up the places, but people do.
As soon as the heels of Vojvodian sosas have started clanking down the new road, and the air was filled with the sounds from the vicinity stores and saloons, everything was in place. The same spirit still hasn’t left the oldest street in Novi Sad.
Maybe because of that, it represents the favorite promenade and place for walking, gathering and resting, in Novi Sad,

Many tourists, back in those days, visited the “Serbian Athens,” although polished ladies on the carriages, hardworking tradespeople and noisy merchants don’t pass by it anymore. Dunavska Street was successful in keeping that “something” with which it has been attracting and shining, ever since.
Do you remember this beautiful Cathedral? On our first evening, the doors were locked. This afternoon, the doors were unlocked. It was still gated on the inside with limited access, but we could take a few photos.

Two nights is the perfect stay for the us, here. It gave us plenty of time to see Novi Sad. Tomorrow we will say goodbye to this wonderful place, and continue on our Serbian adventures!

“Serbia, Novi Sad”

Getting to this town was easier, than trying to find a canyon which Serbia shares with Romania. Instead, we end up in Belgrade, without our phones working, poor communication and our maps not working.  Paper map would be a great backup, but all the Tourist Information Offices have been shut down, wherever we go.

A short walk and we were in the mix of all the historical buildings of Portuguese style stone streets and narrow pathways. The center is closed to all but pedestrians, with outside patio-style setting everywhere for COVID regulations. 

We went to a fort on the other side of the Danube River. The massive stone walls are still standing. After extensive searching we found that the Catacombs were closed, so we strolled around he grounds. We found some old churches but most have there doors locked.

We went back to the old center of town and found the only Synagogue and was saddened to see this is where the Jewish people we collected and transferred to the extermination camps in 1944. 

We walked around after parking our car. The municipal buildings are great examples of the architecture. It was suggested we check out the insides of the city hall. Two men were outside and told us we could not enter. I asked why and he said that tourist are not allowed inside. I said what makes you think we are tourist? He almost cracked a smile after looking at my flip flops, camera, hat, and bag hanging off my shoulders. I don’t know what gave me away, I guess I look Dutch.

After visiting some churches and going inside one that was closed before, we crossed the courtyard and went for lunch. We even ate banana splits and waddled back to the car and drove to our hotel. I had a delicious nap.