Subotica is one of those places which are quite disarming. We rather like the small town in northern Serbia, which has a feast of art nouveau architecture and deserves to be better known on that count alone. Last time we took the train south from Budapest, our first stop after crossing the border from Hungary into Serbia was Subotica. It is only a dozen kilometres from the border.
The odd thing about Subotica is that the traveller arriving from the north would hardly know that she or he had crossed any international border. The demeanour of the place is at first sight Hungarian. True there are street names in Serbian (written of course in the Cyrillic alphabet) but there are Hungarian renderings too. Shop signs and menus are in Hungarian. Wandering the back streets, visiting a church or two (and a remarkable art nouveau synagogue), and talking to folk we realised that Subotica’s ethnic make-up is more complicated than we first thought. There is a lively Croat community and a sizeable Bunjevci population.
Subotica is a strange introduction to Serbia, but it is a very fine place to start exploring the Vojvodina, that region of northern Serbia which celebrates its peculiarly multicultural character. We featured the Vojvodina region in hidden europe 13.
Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries