Drawing its name from « Voyvod », highest rank in the military, Vojvodina is since January 1, 2010 an autonomous septentrional province of Serbia, extending to the West, North and East of the capital Belgrade, distant of 10-30 km. It lies in the Southern part of the Pannonia plain crossed by the Danube and Sava rivers.
The population of about 2 million reflects various ethnic and cultural diversities : 25 ethnic groups, 6 official languages (Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Romanian and Ruthenian).
Serbs represent 70 %, Hungarians 14 %, others 16 %. Orthodox 69 %, Catholic 19 %, others 12 %.
The capital with its 286000 inhabitants lies on the Western bank of the Danube.
The city centre is Liberty Square (Trg Svobode) with the 1939 statue of Svetozar Miletic, political leader and former City Mayor (1826-1901), in font of the neo-Renaissance style City Hall.
Facing it, the neo-Gothic Roman Catholic church of the Name of Saint Mary built in 1895 on the site of a small church from 1742.
Local people call it the « Cathedral », but the local bishop is based in Subotica (see below).
Zmaj Jovina is the former main street stretching from Liberty Square to the Bishop’s Hall built in 1901 by Vladimir Nikolic. Next to it stands the statue by Dragan Nikolic of J.J . Zmaj, a physician and poet.
The main pedestrian thoroughfare is Dunavska Street lined by shops and the City Museum and Library. It leads from Zmaj Jovina to Danube Park, the most attractive in the city with the romantic Swan’s Lake in its heart.
The city is dominated from the other bank of the Danube by the overpowering mass of the Petrovaradin Fortress, nicknamed the Gibraltar on the Danube.
Built by the Austrians according to French Marquis Sebastien Vauban’s plans.
The foundation stone was laid in October 1692 and completed in 1780.
It could hold a garrison of 4000 soldiers, 2000 tons of gunpowder and 400 cannons.
It covers an area of 112 hectares and houses numerous buildings, including the Novi Sad City Museum and the famous clocktower of Ludwig’s Bastion, the key tourist attraction with its adjacent panoramic terrace affording breathtaking views of the Danube and the city.
The clock is unlike all others, the hour hand being longer than the minute hand.
There are also underground military galleries and tunnels on 4 floors with a total length of more than 14 km.
Crossing the Danube from the modern city, the access is through the lower fortress or SUBURBIUM , a small residential town which was used as a military and administrative centre.
A stone stairway of 214 steps leads from St Jury’s Baroque monastery church (1701-1714) to Ludwig’s Bastion through which one reaches the Upper Fortress.
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