History of Novi Sad is very colorful and the city of Novi Sad can first be found in writings in 1694, after the expulsion of Turks, when families of the Serbian border guards started inhabiting the former Rimski Sanac (what Novi Sad was formally known as). In time the settlement grew bigger and with that the need to achieve the status of a free Royal city grew as well. In 1748, the prominent citizens travelled to Vienna in order to purchase the status of a free Royal city from the Empress Maria Theresa. Freedom at the time cost 80,000 forints. On February 1st 1748 Maria Theresa issued an edict, which read as follows:
“We, Maria Theresa, by the God’s mercy Holy Roman Empress, Queen of Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Rama, Serbia, Galicia, Lodomeria, Carinthia, etc, etc. Cast this proclamation to anyone, who might concern…so that the famous Petrovaradinski Šanac, which lies on the other side of the Danube in Bačka province on Sajlovo land, by the might of our divine royal power and prestige…make this town a Free Royal City and to fortify, accept and sign it in as one of the free royal cities of our Kingdom of Hungary and other territories, by abolishing its previous name of Petrovaradinski Šanac, renaming it Neoplanta (Latin), Újvidék (Hungarian), Neu-Satz (German), Novi Sad (Serbian), Mlada Loza (Bulgarian)”.
This is how Novi Sad received the name it carries to this day. In English Novi Sad means “new seedling”.
Before the establishment of the first magistrate, the border guards left the city and moved to Srem. As Novi Sad was now a free city it needed a coat of arms.
The coat of arms of Novi Sad features three towers that represent the history of Novi Sad during the time of Rimski Sanac, as well as the sea of Novi Sad – the Danube River and a white dove.
Back in 1817, Vuk Karadzic, reformer of the Serbian language spoke of Novi Sad as the largest center of Serbian society in the world. At this time, Novi Sad was the center of political, cultural and social life of the entire Serbian nation. During this time, Svetozar Miletic was mayor making him the youngest mayor in the history of this city. Along his mayoral duties, he was also a well-respected lawyer. The famous children’s author Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj also called Novi Sad home. This city was truly a mecca of culture, being frequently visited by the likes of Laza Kostic, Djordje Natosevic, Kosta Trifkovic and many other famous Serbians. All of these people culturally contributed to this city gaining its nickname – Serbian Athens.
Novi Sad participated in three big wars. In World War I on November 9th 1918, the Serbian army being led by Major Vojislav Bugarski entered Novi Sad. Novi Sad found itself under fire in World War II, but sadly again in 1999 when it suffered bombing by the NATO aggressors. The bombing, which began on March 24th 1999, lasted continuously for 78 days. During that time Novi Sad lost all its bridges and the building of TV Vojvodina. Many civilians lost their lives as bombs fell on a primary school and residential buildings. Most targeted was the oil refinery.
In spite of this Novi Sad still stands. Like a phoenix it rose from its ashes and as a testament to the hardiness and dedication of its brave inhabitants it is showing no signs of slowing down. It rebuilt its three bridges, with a fourth one on its way and life slowly but surely returned to normal. Novi Sad will always remember its history but will always continue to move forward with a warm welcome to anyone who enters this lovely city.