Once upon a Novi Sad…
Early history of Novi Sad is somewhat mysterious. Archaeological studies show that the city was populated even in the Paleolithic Period and that it was a meeting place of many cultures and nations. In addition to the Romans, there were the others who dwelled here, including the Gepids, Huns, Avars, Slavs, Germans, Hungarians, Byzantines and Turks.
However, if we stick to the irrefutable facts i.e. the modern history of the city, Novi Sad is a very young city – according to historical documents it has existed for a little more than three hundred years. Namely, the beginning of the modern history of Novi Sad is placed in 1687, when Habsburg Monarchy took control over the territory of Bačka and a greater part of Srem from the Ottoman Empire.
Everything Began with the Fortress
When we talk about the origins of Novi Sad, we certainly must start with the construction of the Petrovaradin Fortress, fortification on the right bank of the Danube, which started in 1692. Petrovaradin Fortress used to serve as a shield in case of Turk reinvasion. In its hinterland, on the left bank of the Danube, a settlement began to grow two years later, which was mostly inhabited by solders, merchants and craftsmen. This settlement developed more in the following century – especially trade and crafts, and population that inhabited the settlement was increasingly diverse (there were Hungarians, Slavs, Jews, Aromanians, etc.). It was named Petrovaradin Trench. Settling of this town was certainly influenced by the First Great Migration of the Serbs led by Arsenije Čarnojević, which took place in 1690.
In 1747, an agreement was reached between the non-Serbian and Serbian inhabitants on the organisation of the future free city; citizens who wished for freedom made it possible for the city to become a free royal town on February 1, 1748. By paying 80,000 forints in silver, wealthy merchants and tradespeople were able to obtain a status of free royal city from the Empress Maria Theresa, and named it Novi Sad, i.e. Neoplanta (Latin), Újvidék (Hungarian) and Neu-Satz (German).