Read, Write, Run, Roam

Novi Sad: new now, but with an old-world feel


My posts about Vojvodina wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Novi Sad. Novi Sad is Serbia’s second largest city and the capital of Vojvodina. Though the city has an urban feel, there’s a slower pace and speech there that made this Belgrade lady feel at ease. In fact, the Serbian spoken in Vojvodina is considered to be quite clear, and several language schools have sprung up there as a result.

“Novi Sad” historically meant young vineyard. It literally translates to “new now,” but the city has been populated since the Stone Age. A fortress was built there during the 4th century (B.C.) by the Celts and improved upon by various conquerors of the region. During Hapsburg rule in the late 1600s, the Serbian Orthodox population was forcibly moved out of the fortress to the other side of the Danube. Novi Sad now encompasses both areas, and the fortress is a popular tourist destination and site of the EXIT festival.

The fortress also features “the drunk clock tower,” whose hour and time hands are reversed to make ships see the time more easily. But I’ll bet more than a few drunken sailors thought they were way off schedule.

The pedestrian area is the jewel of Novi Sad. Hapsburg architecture flanks at least three main pedestrian avenues, several orthodox churches, and a beautiful Catholic church (shown at upper left.) It’s an unusual sight in the middle of this mostly Orthodox town. I was told that the Catholic church was originally on the outskirts of town, but the avenues expanded to include this area.

The prominent Catholic church is unusual but not surprising. Vojvodina is known for its history of ethnic and religious diversity. In addition to the Catholic church, there’s an historic Jewish synagogue just off the pedestrian area.

Walking through picturesque streets lined with shops and bakeries, it’s hard to believe the the city has suffered so much damage in its past. It was bombed by Austria, Hungary, Germany and the Allies in WWII, and in 1999 by NATO forces. Though most buildings in the area aren’t over 150 years old, the town has a timeless essence that makes Novi Sad feel like a Veliki Grad (old city).

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8 responses

  1. “A” in Novi Sad is a long A. Like in English words FAR, CAR, LARGE, etc. So, it doesn’t mean New Now. That’s just stupid.
    It means new (young) plantation. Saaaad, from Saditi – to plant. Hence the Latin name – Neoplanta.

    May 10, 2011 at 9:39 am

  2. Stupid’s a harsh word to use for a beginning speaker. Sad or sada means now-and yes, now that you mention it, it is a different sound. I did note that the word meant young vineyard, or plantation as you translate it.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:03 am

  3. getasenseofhumor

    And Мостовљанин means a douche with no sense of humor. New now is a pun, a word play – perhaps not a very good one, but so what. Many people use it as a joke. Get a sense of humor, douchebag. 🙂

    May 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm

  4. I’m only posting this because I’m not sure if it’s Mostovljani posting as a joke, or my mom coming to my defense. In any event, it’s no big deal. Everyone has bad days.

    May 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm

  5. I didn’t say you’re stupid. Or your translation skills are bad. Just the name New Now is stupid, as the name for a city. (which would mean citizens are morons for naming their city like that).
    Bear in mind that Serbs are a bit raw. They say what they think. Even if it’s a bit harsh for the listener. With best intentions. (If you’re fat, they’ll tell you that. Not to hurt you, but to help you realize it). On the other hand, Yanks are oversensitive. Tend to get hurt/offended quickly. And you’re a woman. 😀
    (too harsh again? sorry, P.C. [religion in US, joke everywhere else] is not my strong point)

    May 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm

  6. “They say what they think. Even if it’s a bit harsh for the listener. With best intentions. (If you’re fat, they’ll tell you that. Not to hurt you, but to help you realize it).”

    Au contraire, my friend, snide remarks about somebody’s perceived shortcomings, for instance, only serve the purpose to make *you* feel better about yourself and your own frustrations and shortcomings. The same goes for your sweeping generalization regarding anything or anyone different from that which you, in your smalltown close-mindedness, perceive as ‘the norm’.

    “Tiranija palanke je tiranija uvida u sve, ili tiranija ove apsolutne jasnosti i
    javnosti svega. Podsmeh fizičkoj mani ma koje vrste, uvek spremno čeka u palanci, ali i uopšte podsmeh ma kakvoj odlici po kojoj se pojedinac razlikuje od drugih.
    Nijedna odlika se ne priznaje, ma kako da je izražena…
    Ljudima se nadevaju imena upravo po toj njihovoj odlici, čime se ta odlika ističe, ali ne zato da bi bila poštovana i uvažena, već zato da bi bila ismejana, i na neki način uvek na oku palanačkog duha, koji sve pamti, ništa ne propušta, ništa ne ostavlja nezabeleženo.
    Time što je nosilac jedne osobine ili mane, – u koju je pretočeno njegovo ime koje je dobio po rođenju (veoma malo ljudi zovu se u palanci svojim pravim imenom), – on je u praksi trajno podređen palanci: svakim dozivanjem, koje mu se, po ovome nadimku, upućuje, duh palanke pobedonosno likuje: on je neprestano zaposlen.”

    May 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm

  7. Have you considered – or has it even crossed your mind – that the refusal to subject others to verbal abuse by blatantly stating the obvious (like, you’re “fat”) may not be due to insincerity or political correctness, but out of RESPECT for the other INDIVIDUAL’s privacy and ability to make their own life decisions. Surely a grownup individual does not need your patronizing “concern” and unsolicited advice, they can decide how they want to live their own lives. Get of your high horse of smug so-called “well-intentioned harshness” and concern yourself with your own situation. 🙂 And, for the record, New Now is not a real name for a city, it’s a freakin’ PUN, a joke, a funny translation. Here’s some more of that:
    http://my.opera.com/Hellas/blog/2007/04/01/literally-translations-of-serbian-phrases-bwahaha

    May 11, 2011 at 5:59 pm

  8. It was a pun, a play on words that may not have translated well to a Serbian audience. I said it was harsh because the word stupid is used differently in American English. Serbians use it more frequently and personally than Brits or Yanks. This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed it, just the first time I tried to point it out.

    May 12, 2011 at 5:39 am

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