Monday, October 10, 2016

Novi Sad, Serbia: Petrovaradin Fortress

The second largest city of Serbia, Novi Sad located an hour north of Belgrade is known for its impressive fortress situated on the right bank of the Danube River (Dunav in Serbian), the second largest river in Europe after the Volga River, flowing through 10 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and draining itself to the Black Sea.

The fortress is geographically located outside Novi Sad, in the small village called Petrovaradin that is connected by a bridge to the city. It only take 10-15 minutes walk from the citadel to the old town.

The pedestrian main entrance to the Petrovaradin fortress.

The Petrovaradin fortress from the bridge.

When I was researching for this trip online, I came upon the hotel located inside the fortress. I knew right away that this is where I will stay in Novi Sad. I thought that it’s like hitting 2 birds with 1 stone. Actually 3 birds in fact! 1) I get to stay inside a historical hotel that was once a military barracks. 2) I get private access to the historical fortress which was built by the Austrians in the late 17th century and is the main attraction and symbol of Novi Sad. 3) There are a good number of restaurants on the ramparts with the best views to the river and the city that I will definitely try.

You can read here my blog post about my stay at the hotel inside the fortress: Staying at the Fortress - Hotel Leopold I

My most dramatic experience so far will have to be when I arrived at the fortress with my rental car. I followed the directions for vehicles entering the fortress, driving on cobble stones and passing through old bastion walls and a narrow stone bridge with one-way vaulted gateways. They have installed a traffic light at the entrance of the fortress, at the Royal Gate, to manage the flow of vehicles since only 1 car can access the path at a time.

After checking in to my hotel I did not lose time and right away searched for the best terrace restaurant on the ramparts. Here I had one of my best duck meals: Duck Composition Lunch with Novi Sad Views at Terasa

The late lunch was a big success so I badly needed to walk off the calories I gained. Thus before crossing over the Dunav River (Danube River) to the old town of Novi Sad, I did a little tour of the bulwarks facing the river and city. This part of the fortress used to be the military barracks and residence of the officers. This has now been transformed into a hotel, and the lower part have become a row of art galleries.

To learn more about the history and the significance of the Petrovaradin fortress in Serbia, please go here: History of Petrovaradin Fortress

I managed to take a peek at a few of the ateliers, and although I love art, especially paintings, I just cannot get myself to buy one. I always have my proud conscience telling me – When are you going to start painting your own masterpiece?

*Helaas, I am still dreaming and procrastinating, haha*

Because the fortress is huge, I decided to continue my exploration the next day in the morning after my breakfast. The whole citadel is beautifully designed and the grass was as green as if it was already spring. Walking the parapets early in the morning was like medicine to me. I remember it being a fresh start of the day, there was no wind which was good and I could see the dew glistening on the grass amidst the tiny flowers. It is not every day nor every month that I get to wake up in a fort. So I cherished the moment and took my time.

Here is a tourist map of Novi Sad and Petrovaradin:

The Petrovaradin Fortress lies across the Dunav River (Danube River) from Novi Sad.

Tip: The fortress is free to enter. You do not have to go all the way around the fortress to go inside (where cars enter). There is a shortcut in the village very close to the bridge on Štrosmajerova street beside the church. You will see a flight of steps which will lead you to the fortress.

If you prefer a dramatic entrance then choose the longer route. Go around the fortress and enter it from the main entrance.

Interesting thing to know: The EXIT Festival, an annual summer music festival is held here at the fortress since 2001. The festival has grown to become the biggest South-Eastern Europe festival and many famous bands have played here such as the Sex Pistols, Pet Shop Boys, Beastie Boys and Lauryn Hill to name a few.

Strolling the bulwarks here early in the morning. That little road is the entrance to the fortress, the Royal Gate, so only 1 car can pass at a time.

I could smell the fresh morning dew.

This is the pedestrian main entrance of the fortification.

The Royal Gate and the deer sculptures above the fortification near the gate.

This is the tunnel short cut located near the Tower Clock and below the restaurants. And of course, the cat I met. She was very friendly =)

The tunnel goes out to this these steps leading down to the village.  

The fortress is a popular location for wedding photo shoots. I saw 3 couples when I was there.

Visitors leaving the fort after a morning stroll.

Along the embankment side you can see a row of art galleries. The hotel is right above these and the hotel's restaurant has an outdoor terrace on the rampart but it was too cold to be sitting outside.

They have a huge mirror outside the cafe restaurant! You can access the restaurant from the ramparts or from inside the hotel upstairs.

This clock tower is unique, learn here: Special Clock Tower

View of Novi Sad from the fort.

More views across the river. The winding road gave me a nostalgic feeling.

This is one of the ateliers I visited. I could not muster taking a picture inside haha.

Taken below the fort just before the bridge.

Travel Period: March 2015
Destination: Petrovaradin, Novi Sad (Vojvodina), Serbia

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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