Why I love Petrovaradin’s Suburbium

I fell in love with the township not knowing a single historical fact about it. Facts are read in books. I simply fell in love with the town, and love is blind!

The township has an authentic architectural heritage from the 18th century. From my home window I can see the Clock Tower at Petrovaradin Fortress, and I precisely know what I am supposed to do that day, even if I don’t always stick to the plan completely.

Within the town the basic urban setup is easily read, conceived by Maria Theresa. She built it for her soldiers stationed at Petrovaradin Fortress, who guarded her empire. She knew her subjects needed to live comfortably, in order to serve her well.

When I walk through the town I feel as if I am in Sleeping Beauty’s own Town in which time has stopped, and everything is waiting for Prince Charming to awaken the slumbering Beauty from the 18th century. Who wouldn’t want to wait and see real Beauty?

The town is the home of Lajoš Lukači, but we all call him Lajčika. He is the only person who knows how to wind up the clockwork in the Clock Tower at Petrovaradin Fortress. You can see this clock from a far, with the big hand showing hours, while the little hand shows the little, meaningless minutes. And Lajčika knows everything there is to know about the ancient mechanism. But, he also knows much more! He knows all the secrets gone with the wind of time, and he doesn’t hide them… And there are secrets…

The town is also home to Promenade Square, which is now called Vladika Nikolaj Square. Once a place of events and gatherings, similarly to the Greek Agora. Once it glistened like the officer’s wives when they paraded in the latest gowns, all dressed up to perfection. Now, it is thick with weeds, while the ladies remained in a Bygone Era. Nevertheless, a lot of things can spur from weeds! For now, kids play here, foretelling the tale of life.

The town has no new buildings, nor nouveau riche villas. Brick houses (some with old masons’ seals) nestled together and cozy to make them warmer. There are no dangers that strong winds can lift your carpet like over the Danube in Novi Sad. (I experienced the thing with the carpet living on Novi Sad’s quay overlooking Petrovaradin Fortress)

The town has grown weeds from pepper tiles, which are a heritage all on their own, and the most widely captured image from Petrovaradin Fortress. Underneath the roofs dense passions from olden days echo even to this date. Past like present life! Completely acceptable, because life in this Town has Energy and Charm.

The town has several balconies made from wrought iron. They invoke Romeo and Juliet. Or the mentioned Prince… They invoke flowers which should overflow from the rustic railings…

Town Gates are so worn out, yet beautiful, that I continuously think that a thief will show up and steal them under the cover of night, selling them to the highest bidder at a ridiculous price. Behind the gate – secrets lurk, from which the cobwebs should be shaken off. Who’s not afraid of a little cobweb can enter!

You can’t find a smaller Town, nor a bigger seducer anywhere else. While I walk Hector I always find something new that amazes me. Someone is laughing out loud and the laughter spills over the acoustic Town, all across the cobbled streets.

The entire Town is an ideal “open air” stage hosting its main characters – its residence, seemingly grumpy, yet with a heart of gold. Reach out to them!

The Town is a neighborhood! If you lack the change to buy bread or milk the store clerk at the small store of endless delights will say – “You can bring it later”. And she will add – “Don’t worry about it. We are not going anywhere”. So, who would run from such a Beauty, I ask myself each day. I am certainly not going anywhere!

I chose the Town for my address because I wanted to, I am not a native. I have been living in this house for 28 years, besides which trains once thundered, and then, as the story goes, foundations set by Maria Therese herself were rocked, just like the dishes or glasses on the table or bed. And each day when I cross the bridge from Novi Sad, I look the outlines of the Town and I think to myself – You’re the most beautiful!

Street Musicians are coming to my town in September. Welcome!

— Author: Bojana Karavidić


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