13 April 2018

Week without walls, Novi Sad-Budapest-Belgrade

The driving question of our trip was how the Ottoman and Habsburg imperial legacies have shaped the cultures of Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Budapest, and how the citizens of these cities relate to their national, ethnic, religious, cultural, and linguistic identity. We sought answers to these questions at strategically chosen locations and conversations with locals. Groups of students gave presentations at each of the locations, thus adding a personal view of the history and culture of the location. The snow and harsh weather during the entire trip could not break the invincible spirit of the group, who marched relentlessly through fortresses, museums, and castles. Our first station was Novi Sad, where we visited the Petrovaradin Fortress and learned about its construction by the Habsburg Military as defense against the Ottomans; the Austro-Turkish Wars on the territory of Vojvodina; the horrors of WWII; and the surviving multiethnic society of Vojvodina. The next stop was Budapest, where we visited the Tomb of the Ottoman dervish and poet Gül Baba, who died during the Ottoman siege of Buda; then we learned about the medieval history of Buda and the Ottoman and Habsburg periods in the city castle and the Hungarian Museum of History. In the afternoon we visited a thermal bath, a delightful relict of Ottoman times, and in the evening went to a coffee house, the perfect synthesis of oriental and Central European cultures. The last destination was Belgrade, where we went to the Military Museum of Serbia located in the old fortress of Kalemegdan. The exhibition in the museum witnessed the many wars and conquests on Serbian soil and beyond, from the Middle Ages all the way to the Yugoslav wars of the nineties. On the very last day of the trip, one group of students went to the International School of Belgrade and interviewed students from the school.

Check out the photo gallery from the event here