Going to Serbia

Jul 04, 2012 - Jul 13, 2012

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Any experience with the Exit festival in Serbia?

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    • Tara Goldsmith recommended Novi Sad
      Check The Matica Srpska Gallery in Novi Sad, Next to the Gallery there is the Memorial Collection of Pavle Beljanski, Don't forget the Musuem of Bee Keeping and Wine Celler at the Zivanovic family ... read more
      home in Sremski Karlovci.
      .Comment.over 1 year ago. Report
      Tara Goldsmith

      The Matica Srpska Gallery in Novi Sad is to be found in the old Stock Exchange building and it has more than 7,000 works of art, especially that from Vojvodina from the 17th centuryonwards. All the exhibits have English translations. On the ground floor are copies of the frescoes painted by Christopher Zefarovic at the Bodani Monastery in 1737, on the first floor are paintings and carvings, including precious icons from the Orthodox churches of Vojvodina. The second floor has a permanent exhibition called People and Events, and displays pictures from 1900 to 1940 when the country was fighting for freedom and its national identity, and on the third floor are superb paintings from some of Serbia’s greatest artists, classic, romantic and realist – Constantine Daniel, Dure Jaksic, Uros Predic, Paja Jovanovic, Save Šumanović and Milan Konjovic. There are also the famous paintings ‘The Cockfight’ and ‘Wounded Montenegrins’ and one by Jovanovic for the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900, a huge historical composition, ‘The Proclamation of Dusan’s Law’. The Matica Srpska Gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 1000–1800, Friday 1200-2000. The entry fee is RSD200 whcih is around 2 euros. Try to visit during the week as there will no one there except you and you can have the whole place to yourself.

      Next to the Gallery there is the Memorial Collection of Pavle Beljanski who was a diplomat and huge lover of art who dedicated his collection to the Serbian nation. This gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday 1000–1800 and on Thursdays from 1300- 2100. Entry is RSD300.Opposite these two galleries there is another, this time of a collector called Rajko Mamuzic who also dedicated his collection to the Serbian people – it is well worth a visit and is also free of charge.

      Visit the Musuem of Bee Keeping and Wine Celler at the Zivanovic family home. We met Mr Zarko Zivanovic whose great-grandfather was a professor at the famous Karlovac grammar school but was also the founder of modern beekeeping in Serbia and a man who had a great knowledge of wine making.In the family house is a unique beekeping museum with objects you rarely see nowadays but which used to be common – such as beehives made of thin strips of dried wood woveninto a dome shape and covered in mud – very different from the beehives made today.

      Extracting honey in the old days was rather hit-and-miss and of course, there were no protective clothes then either – but people did believe that beestings were good for the blood! The honey at the Zivanovic farm is very clear and thick, not runny, which shows there are no preservatives added, unlike what you get in a supermarket.

      Along with beekeeping and producing high qualilty honey the Zivanovic family is at the forefront of wine production in Serbia and are winning awards, diplomas and medals at home and internationally. They own huge vineyards 200 m above sea level near the Danube on the slopes of the Fruska Gora mountain, and their wine is produced in 300-year-old cellars. Their Ausbruch wine was on the wine list on the Titanic. Their greatest secret is the old recipe, passed down through the generations, from which is prepared Bernet wine, and this Bernet was served at the Russian, English and Viennese courts right up until the First World War. Similar to Port but much stronger, it is made from natural wines with the addition of 27 different ingredients such as raisins, beans, mustard, nutmeg, vanilla and figs. If you are passing through Novi Sad visit this unique place and you won’t regret it – you can book combined visits to the museum and the wine cellar with wine and honey tastings too. As an added bonus I would recommend you try to sneak inside Mr Zivanvic’s house to meet his grandmother, a beautiful, charming lady with an unbelievable zest for life which I guess is the result of plenty of healthy honey and fine wine!

    • THE CHAPEL OF PEACESremski Karlovci
      Tara Goldsmith recommended THE CHAPEL OF PEACE
      Around 10 miles south of Novi Sad on the slopes of the Fruska Gora National Park and on the left bank of the Danube River, is one of Serbia’s most important spiritual and cultural towns, Sremski ... read more
      Karlovci, a small town easily accessible on a day tour from Belgrade.
      .Comment.over 1 year ago. Report
      Tara Goldsmith

      Since 1713, this place has been the seat of the Serbian Archbishops so don’t be surprised if among the sea of tourists from different countries you come across a group of black-robed Orthodox priests come to visit the ornate 19th century Archbishop’s Residence. Especially famous for its good wines and honey (which both you can taste at various establishments around the town), its local dessert kuglof (a fruity, spiced cake), its beautiful baroque architecture and very nice inhabitants, Sremski Karlovci is also well known for its contribution to history books since it was here that the term ‘round table’ was first used when describing the signing of a peace agreement. The first peace agreement to be so described was signed here in 1699 between the Turkish, Polish, Venetians and Austrians, and it was thrashed out around a round table on a site a little way out of the town which is commemorated by a circular building, the Chapel of Peace, that has four doors, one for each party to the treaty.

      According to the caretaker of the Chapel of Peace, a well-informed and talkative chap, this unusual building is beginning to be popular with visitors again since the EC decided to invest in its reconstruction on the condition that it opened its fourth door behind the altar, the so-called Turkish Door. When we came to visit the Chapel of Peace there was no one to greet us except strong winds and closed doors. We, like history-hungry peeping toms, looked through the windows and keyholes trying to catch a glimpse of the past. Suddenly a tall guy appeared in front of us telling us to go to the opposite side of building and he would open the door for us. It seemed strange that he did not tell us to enter the building with him, but later he explained that he only carries the key for the Turkish door as most visitors are from Turkey – as we were Christian we could only enter the building by one of the other doors. Inside there is an altar which covers the Turkish door (the chapel was built by the Catholics of the town), and there used to be an organ but it was damaged by the rather careless builders who restored the building recently. The windows are distinctive – on the first floor they are made in the shape of the Dutch flag and on the ground floor they represent the Union Jack – both England and Holland were the ‘international peacekeepers’ overseeing the peace agreement of 1699. The whole building is painted yellow inside and out, the staircase to the first floor is original but covered in paint stains and refurbishment is ongoing.

      The Chapel of Peace is a witness to a significant historic event, but nowadays is sadly underused – it would make a wonderful space for concerts and exhibitions, and is definitely well worth the stroll from the town centre along the quiet residential streets.

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