Monday, September 11, 2006


As I said, I was in Vojvodina for some days. I went there for a seminar of YEN – Youth of European Nationalities, one of the Member Organisations of the European Youth Forum, and a network of 30 youth organisations representing the European ethnic, linguistic and national minorities. This particular seminar was organised by YEN together with two of its member organisations: the youth associations of the Hungarian and Croat minorities in Vojvodina. And this Serbian region was the perfect spot to hold this event, as Vojvodina is ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse, with more than 20 different ethnic groups (Serbs, Hungarians, Slovaks, Croats, Montenegrins, Romanians, Roma, Bunjevci, Rusyns, Macedonians, etc.) and six official languages (Serbian, Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, Croatian and Rusyn)! It is located in the northern part of Serbia, in the Pannonian plain, and its capital and largest city is Novi Sad and the second largest is Subotica. I’ve been in both. The main reason for this ethnic diversity is, as it is often the case in the Balkans, the fact that, throughout history, this territory has been part of different states: the Roman Empire, the Hun Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Frankish Kingdom, the Great Moravia, the Bulgarian Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro and, now, only Serbia…

Subotica, the first city I visited, it is located about 10 km from the border with Hungary. Hungarians are the majority here (35%), followed by Serbs (26%) and Croats (10%), which is a god example of the above mentioned diversity. Palic, 8 km away from Subotica, is where I stayed. The town has a beautiful lake near a gorgeous park, with lots of hotels, restaurants and beaches. There is also a Zoo. Sombor is a quite big city with Serbian majority, famous for its beautiful city centre, with important cultural institutions as the National Theatre. Finally, Novi Sad, on the banks of the Danube River, is the capital of the Vojvodina region. I visited the municipality of Petrovaradin, which features a majestic fortress known as the “Gibraltar of the Danube”.

Apart from the places, I will keep good memories of the people I met, their joy and their songs. And, of course, of rakija…


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