What does it mean when a citizen of Novi Sad tells you to meet at the ‘newlyweds’? Why googling cathedral in Novi Sad may not give you valid results, and yet, there is no young or old citizen of Novi Sad who does not know about the cathedral? If a friend from Novi Sad tells you that when you come to visit, they will be waiting for you at the locomotive, where exactly will the two of you meet? These cute Novi Sad toponyms may seem confusing to the visitors of the ‘Serbian Athens’, but there are interesting stories behind each one of them.
Since the cathedral in Western Christianity is located in the centre of the diocese, and Novi Sad belongs to the Diocese of Subotica, the beautiful building in Liberty Square – is not a cathedral. It is actually a church, more precisely the Church of the Name of Mary, which the population renamed the cathedral and addresses it that way. The first Catholic church in Novi Sad was built in this very spot in the 18th century, although the present-day building is not the same building that stood there at the time. Today’s building was raised at the end of the 19th century. Catholics in Novi Sad, dissatisfied with the appearance of the renovated church, wished for themselves a church that looks worthy of the Royal Free City. They seem to have succeeded in their wish, because the popular ‘cathedral’ is today one of the most impressive and beautiful symbols of the city.
Halfway between the Church of the Name of Mary and the City Hall, in the middle of Liberty Square, stands a magnificent monument to Svetozar Miletić. For those who don’t remember history lessons, a short reminder – Svetozar Miletić was the mayor of Novi Sad and one of the most significant Serbian politicians in the Habsburg Monarchy. The monument to Miletić is the work by the famous sculptor Ivan Meštrović (who also made the Belgrade Pobednik (En. The Victor)); it was unveiled in 1939. As the Bronze Miletić stands on a large square pedestal, you can see gathered teenagers under his footing at any time of the day – especially when the weather is nice. ‘At Miletić’ is a popular meeting point, although, as one citizen of Novi Sad told us: ‘Lately, there are often some stands around Miletić, so it is easier to meet next to the cathedral.’
While both the cathedral and Miletić create a logical hint of some religious building and some monument, for tourists or rare visitors of Novi Sad, ‘let’s meet at Trčika’ may sound like a real puzzle. However, not to worry, your Novi Sad host is not inviting you to a half marathon training party. Trčika is a café located in a static tram car in the city centre, in Kralja Aleksandra Street. It was named after the first Novi Sad tram, which rumbled through the city at the beginning of the 20th century. By the middle of that century, trams were replaced by buses, and of all the used vehicles, only this tram remained (it was bought as a museum exhibit in Belgrade). You can’t miss it when you’re around, so you can stop by for a cup of coffee or a drink.
Just a few steps from Trčika is the Sad Novi Bazaar shopping centre, formerly known as Bazar, as the majority of citizens of Novi Sad call it, even after the re-branding. If someone asks you to meet at the Bazar, keep in mind that they are thinking of this old-new shopping centre, and wait for them at the entrance not far from Trčika and the underground passage.
Banovina or Izvršno veće
Depending on which generation they belong to or who taught them the local toponyms, the citizens of Novi Sad will call the important building and landmark either Banovina or Izvršno Veće. It is a characteristic semi-circular building on Mihajlo Pupin Boulevard, which today houses the Provincial Government and the Assembly of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, and which was built as the headquarters of the ban of the Danube Banovina between 1935 and 1940. Having in mind that it is almost 200 meters long, the building itself is quite unique when it comes to its shape. However, if you are unsure where exactly you should show up, ask for one of the previous locations from the list since they are at a very short distance, and then figure out where Banovina is.
The building of the former Lottery of Vojvodina is located in Bulevar Oslobođenja Street, or simply – Bulevar (En. Boulevard). Since it stretches from the Railway Station to the Liberty Bridge, it is a rather long section, which should be mentally and practically ‘split in parts’ if you want to meet someone or explain where something else is. Thus, one of the important reference points in Bulevar for the citizens of Novi Sad is Lutrija, a low glass building that was once a provincial centre for games of chance. The Vojvodina Lottery has not existed for more than two decades, but the name of the building has remained.
If, on the other hand, someone expresses a wish to meet at Mladenci, it is probably not about a believer who uses the church calendar for time orientation. ‘Mladenci’ is actually Trg Maldenaca (the Newlyweds Square) in the centre of Novi Sad, and you will recognise it from a distance by its characteristic arch-gate. The square got its name after the Registry Office located on the square. The arch you see in the Square is in fact a sculpture of the Gate of Wishes by the academic sculptor Mladen Marinkov, who also sculpted the Wishing Well at the same place. Lovely idea for beginning a life together! Furthermore, there used to be a market in Trg Mladenaca, and since it was removed and the space became a square, it changed several names in order to finally establish today’s romantic one.
Precisely because of the splitting of the Boulevard, another important reference point is Daltonka. Like the Lottery, Daltonka has a distinctive glass façade. Nestled between Bulevar Oslobođenja, Augusta Cesarca and Laze Kostića streets, it is especially noticeable due to its semi-cylindrical shape, which you can’t miss from a distance. So, if you hear that something is placed or happening near Daltonka, it is a residential and commercial building, approximately halfway down the Boulevard.
Crna kuća upravo je to što joj ime kaže – kuća fasade ofarbane u crno. Nije nešto što se svakodnevno viđa, zar ne? Ova kuća, u Ulici Vojvode Bojovića, zapravo je sedište Omladinskog centra CK13 i kulturno-edukativni prostor, ali i kafić. Ovde se okupljaju aktivisti i umetnici, pa možete prisustvovati nekoj društveno angažovanoj tribini, izložbi ili pak koncertu. Ili samo popiti pivo!
If you want to stay in shape during your stay in Novi Sad, it is very possible that someone will suggest that you meet on Đačko Igralište, or just Đačko. This playground, where you can play football, basketball, or work out in the outdoor gym, is located on the Sunny Quay, and is 85 years old. Namely, according to the project by the engineer Milutin Tatić, it was made by the students of the King Alexander I Men’s Grammar School. Đačko has had a newer look since 2009, when the playground was reconstructed.
Isa and Bisa
Isa and Bisa, swans that tragically passed away, inhabited the pond in the Danube Park. In fact, this pair, who were killed by stray dogs a few years ago, is the last pair of swans from the park under this name. A pair of swans have been staying on the pond in the most beautiful and most famous park in Novi Sad since the beginning of the 1950s, and while the swans changed, their names remained the same: Isa and Bisa. These swans have become a trademark of Novi Sad for many generations, and after the death of the last couple, it was decided that a new one would not be brought to the park because it was not safe. However, although the pond is no longer adorned with these grandiose birds, the residents of Novi Sad often meet ‘near Isa and Bisa’, thinking of the part of the Danube Park where they used to live.
Lokomotiva (En. Locomotive)
It could be said that Novi Sad is especially nostalgic when it comes to its old means of transport. Therefore, in addition to Trčika, there’s the Lokomotiva in the city. If someone asks you to meet at Lokomotiva, they will most likely welcome you or see you off. Lokomotiva is a genuine steam locomotive, located in front of the Railway Station, and to make everything more credible, there is a statue of a railway worker in bronze next to it – an amateur work of the Railway workers. Take a look at it when you arrive or leave – chances are you won’t see something like that on the today’s railway tracks.
Foto: Vladimir Veličković, Jelena Ivanović