Giant fortress at the river
Novi Sad Travel Blog› entry 3 of 9 › view all entries
I catch a bus to Novi Sad which was the last big town in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire during the glory days of the Ottoman Empire. The city is different from Belgrade with a bit of Habsburg touch over the city.
The big thing to see in the city is the old fortress on the other side of the river. The Austrians started to build it so they could make a final stand against the Ottomans in case they should once again try to push north. But the fortress is very elaborate so it took 80 years to finish. When it was finally done the power of the Ottomans had been reduce to a shadow of what it had been during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
Hence with the dwindling of the Ottoman power it was unlikely the fortress would ever see action and it never did. One feature of the fortress had some impact on the local population though. The clock tower with the big clock. Everything came at a price in the Habsburgs days - even the knowledge of the correct time of day. Hence everybody who could see the clock tower from their home in the old town was subject to a clock tower tax. Considering the height of the clock tower and its location almost every house could see the clock tower - hence almost everybody had to pay the clock tax.
Today nobody pay the clock tax anymore - and the fortress has been turned over to civilian use except for a small area which seems to house a detachment of the Serbian army. Up on top at the upper fortress is a big hotel - it looks nice - and I got a feeling it is probably not the cheapest rooms in town. But if you do get a room up there you definitely got a room with a view. I am a bit short of cash - it is at the end of the month after all - so I skip the room and just walk around the place.
The top fortress is clearly the most interesting and there is a nice view across to the old town of Novi Sad. I spend most of my time at the top part of the fortress but then I head down to the lower part of it. Down there you can walk around the old fortifications but there are not quite as much to see. But I notice spring seems to have arrived in Novi Sad and several small lizards are running around on the walls to gain some heat so they can be active after the long cold winter. The lizards move fast and several times my photo of them only contains rock - but in the end I manage to get a few shoot of the small beast.
I head down from the fortress and across the bridge to the old town. The old town is really nice with lots of old churches and some small open squares where people seems to finally leave the winter behind and go out and enjoy the spring sun. The city used to be sort of a melting pot where Catholics, Orthodox’, Jews and other faiths lived peacefully side by side - hence there are lots of churches from the different main forms of Christianity.