Petrovaradin Fortress and Underground Tunnels
Modern day Petrovaradin Fortress was constructed at the end of the 17th century to protect Novi Sad from the Ottomans. Things to do on the Petrovaradin Fortress include;
- Panoramic view of Petrovaradin Fortress
- Fortress Walls
- Panoramic view of Novi Sad
- Underground Tunnels
- Clock Tower
- Fight of Deer Sculpture
- Hotel Leopold I
- EXIT Festival
I was staying at Hotel Leopold I which is a historic hotel located on Petrovaradin Fortress.
Petrovaradin Fortress History
The history of this location dates back over 20,000 years. However, it wasn’t until 3000 BC that some form of fortress was built. The first significant fortress was built here by the Romans. A monastery was built on the site in the 13th century which was fortified in the 15th century as a result of a threat from the Ottoman Empire. After all, the Ottomans eventually conquered Novi Sad in the 15th century. They remained in Novi Sad for 150 years before being ousted. Consequently, a new, bigger and stronger Petrovaradin Fortress was built and as a result, the Ottomans never came back.
Panoramic of Petrovaradin Fortress
When you observe Petrovaradin Fortress from a distance you may understand why it’s nickname is ‘Gibraltar of the Danube’. It appears to be a huge rock, exactly as Gibraltar does in the strait of Gibraltar. I recommend you take a walk on the promenade opposite, not only to photograph the fortress but also to view the monument to the Novi Sad raid. Additionally, there are a few other World War II monuments. Furthermore, in the river you can see the remains of a bridge bombed by NATO in 1999.
It’s worth walking up to the fortress so you can walk through the entrance as well as the entrance tunnels. In addition, once at the top you can take a walk on the fortress walls. In fact there are several restaurants located along the walls. It’s possible to order a drink or a meal and enjoy the panoramic views over Novi Sad city.
Panoramic view of Novi Sad from Petrovaradin Fortress
A good time to enjoy the panoramic view of Novi Sad is at sunset. I recommend buying a drink at one of the coffee shops whilst you witness the sunset over Novi Sad. Afterwards, the city lights illuminate, making for excellent nighttime photography. The bridge that connects Petrovaradin Fortress to Novi Sad is the Varadin Bridge. This bridge was destroyed by NATO in the 1999 bombings. As a result, citizens who wished to cross the Danube river would cross in an army boat. The Varadin Bridge has since been reconstructed however.
Petrovaradin Fortress Tunnels
If you visit the museum, there may be tours scheduled for the tunnels. Additionally, if you’re part of a good size group they will organise a private tour for you. For the most part, during summer there are several underground tours each day. As part of the museum tunnels tour you will enter the tunnels through a locked door in one part of the fortress. Once inside, you’ll walk for 1-2 kilometers before exiting in a remote area of the fortress.
It’s worth noting that there are over 16 km of underground tunnels and they go quite deep. There is a way to see more of these tunnels than the 2km you visit on the museum tour. Do you want to go further into the Petrovaradin Fortress tunnels? To do this I recommend staying at the Hotel Leopold I which is located opposite the museum. You may tell the friendly staff that you’ve traveled all the way from your country and you’re really interested in the fortress and underground tunnels. As a result the staff may be able to organise a special tour for you which gives unique access to the deepest parts of the tunnel network.
The Petrovaradin museum displays many artifacts found at the site as well as history of the fortress. In addition, there is much weaponry from World War I on display. Interestingly enough, the museum building used to be barracks in the 18th century. Furthermore, you can enter the underground of the barracks which features a huge air shaft.
One of the iconic landmarks of the fortress is a funky clock tower. In fact, the nickname for this clock tower is the drunk tower. If you look closely, the hands are back to front. To demonstrate, I certainly didn’t take this dusk picture at 3.25 am or pm (above). The correct time should of course be 5.15 pm.
Fight of Deer Sculpture
Fight of Deer is a famous sculpture by the late Yugoslavian artist, Jovan Soldatovic. You will pass it as you walk the walls of Petrovaradin Fortress. If you arrive by taxi, you’ll see it as enter the fortress. It has been located on the fortress walls since 1965.
Hotel Leopold I
Hotel Leopold I is a luxury hotel located on Petrovaradin Fortress. The price is excellent value for such a royal building in a unique location. In fact previous guests of the hotel include, former Yugoslav leader, Tito as well as Maria Theresa, Austrian royalty. It’s also possible to reserve the room which Tito would stay in! Most importantly, the staff in the hotel can organise a tour with a history expert of the fortress and Novi Sad.
The EXIT Festival is an annual summer event held on Petrovaradin Fortress. Famous acts to have performed at this summer festival include, Neneh Cherry, Van Gogh, Iggy and the Stooges, David Guetta, The Wailers, Snoop Dogg, The Prodigy, Lauryn Hill, Pulp, Missy Elliot, Jason Derulo as well as Liam Gallagher. The EXIT festival is getting more and more popular each year. As a result the headliners are becoming more and more A list. For the dates and lineup, check the EXIT Festival official site.
How to get to Petrovaradin Fortress from Novi Sad
To get to Petrovaradin Fortress from Novi Sad, you can walk over the Varadin Bridge and follow the path to the top of the fortress. Alternatively, take a taxi which will take you all the way to the top.