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Cultural Dialogue in the European Region of Banat – Novi Sad and Timisoara are European Cultural Capitals, first in 2022 and second in 2023. For you, this is a great period to visit both cities and the region in order to have a complete and absolutely charming adventure filled with lots of cultural events. It is also, a great opportunity for Timișoara and Novi Sad to shape together a region of culture for 2022-2023, with a great cultural impact on the nearby regions. With its rich history, vibrant cultural scene, lively terraces and cafés and robust student population, Timișoara is one of the four most important cities in Romania. The city over time has been like a spark that has ignited and transformed the continent through its many first-ever achievements in the field of engineering or urban development (the first street lights in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, first city with electric lights from the continental Europe, first city free of communism in Romania in 1989, etc.). Novi Sad is the second largest city in Serbia and a real melting pot for various ethnicities. Alongside Serbians, many, Hungarians, Slovaks, Croatians, Romanians, Montenegrins and Roma call Novi Sad their home. The city is nicknamed the Serbian Athens, a name it got in the 19th century when Novi Sad became an important center of trade and manufacturing. The region of culture created between Timisoara and Novi Sad is an umbrella framework which includes the action of several forms of cross-border cooperation: the traditional cooperation between communities (historic Banat Region), the European cooperation framework (Euro regions, cross-border cooperation policies, cross-border cooperation within the Danube Strategy) and the cultural cooperation within the European Capital of Culture programme.
3 nights’ accommodation in 4 * Hotels (breakfast included) in Timisoara: Savoy Hotel 4*, Drobeta Turnu-Severin: Hotel Continentan 4* or similar according to availability; guide services from Romanian custom on day 1 to Romanian custom on day 4; entrance tickets to museums and visited sights as per program; Meals and other services included according to the program.
May 10 st , 2023
Welcome at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Check-in at the hotel. Overnight
May 11 nd , 2023
After breakfast, half-day sightseeing city tour with an English-speaking licensed guide. Panoramic tour, combination of a coach and a walking tour. Start the tour by visiting the Yugoslav History Museum and House of Flowers, memorial complex devoted to life and deeds of Josip Broz Tito, the political leader of Yugoslavia. Then you will pass by the stadium of FC Red Star, former European and World Cup champion, and proceed to Saint Sava Temple, symbol of patron of Belgrade, impressive building that can be seen from any part of the capital. After a short break at the Temple’s plateau, the panoramic tour will go on to Slavija Square, Saint Mark’s Church, Serbian National Parliament and White Palace, all the way to Republic Square, the most central point of Belgrade surrounded with National Theatre and National Museum. Proceed with a walking tour through the lively pedestrian zone of Knez Mihailova street, the main walking and shopping zone. Go on to the Orthodox Cathedral, just across from the Building of Patriarchate, the oldest tavern in the city, Princess Ljubica’s Residence and continue to Kalemegdan Park and Belgrade Fortress, the most important cultural-historical complex in the city, situated on the confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube. Dinner at authentic local restaurant in famous bohemian quarter of Skadarlija, in the downtown of Belgrade. There you will enjoy dinner with live traditional music. Skadarlija is often referred to as "the Montmartre of Belgrade". The restaurants are proud of their guest lists of reputable world-wide personalities who have visited them over the decades. The rumor has it that Alfred Hitchcock ended his diet right there in Skadarlija. Quite often, the restaurants post photographs of their visits on the walls. For example, over the years, Tri sesira and Dva jelena restaurants have welcomed numerous famous guests such as the guitarists Jimi Hendrix, politicians George H.W. Bush, Josip Broz Tito, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Sandro Pertini, the chess player Anatoly Karpov, Catherine Deneuve and many others. After dinner, return to the hotel. Overnight
May 12 rd , 2023
Transfer to Kovacica with a local licensed English-speaking guide. A 50-minute drive from Belgrade brings you to the village of Kovacica, established in 1802, one of the Serbian UNESCO world heritage sites. Inhabited mostly by the Slovak minority, the village represents a unique oasis of living traditions and original arts and crafts. Kovacica has gained worldwide fame for its tradition of naive painting and has many internationally recognized painters. Visit UNESCO's world center of naive art - the Naive Art gallery; visit the house of one of the famous naive painters like Zuzana Veresky or Katarina Djuriskova and the unique house with traditional old craft for hand-made violins. Continude to Idvor and visit the birthplace of the great Serbian scientist, world-renowned physicist Mihailo Pupin. Lunch. Transfer back to Belgrade.
May 13 th , 2023
After breakfast, departure to Vojvodina province with assistance of a local English-speaking guide. Visit Krusedol monastery, which construction in the 15th century was initiated by Despot Djordje Brankovic and his mother Angelina. Today, the monastery is dedicated to the Christian holiday of Annunciation Day, commemorating the announcement of the incarnation by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. Continue to visit baroque town of Sremski Karlovci where one could enjoy a short walk through the city and also the view to the Patriarchy Court–the most monumental building of the 19th century in Vojvodina; Saborna church – one of the most beautiful example of the architecture of the 18th century; Gymnasium of Karlovci, Magistracy, Roman-Catholic church, fountain Four lions. Visit the Zivanovic winery and the Museum of Beekeeping. Honey and wine tasting. There you can learn more about the production of honey and wine and will have the opportunity to taste one of the most famous wine in the region of Bermet, served on Titanic ship. Proceed to Novi Sad, European Capital of Culture in 2022. Lunch at a local restaurant on the Danube river. Afterward, proceed to the symbol of Novi Sad, fortification which acquired its present appearance in the 18th century and was one of the main strategic points towards Turkey, Petrovaradin fortress. Walking tour and sightseeing tour of the city center of Novi Sad: Synagogue, Serbian National Theater, Square of Freedom with City Hall,monument of Svetozar Miletic and the Name of Mary Roman-Catholic church; continue the walk through the Street Zmaj Jovina to the Bishop's Palace, then proceed to Danube street to Danube Park. Free time in the city center. Overnight at hotel.
May 14 th , 2023
After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and transfer to Romania, to the city of Timisoara, European Capital of Culture in 2023 and the heart of the historical region of Banat (a historical region today split between Hungary, Romania and Serbia). It will take us around 3 hours to get to our destination. Free time for lunch and a half-day tour in Timisoara. Also dubbed "Little Vienna", Timișoara boasts outstanding architecture, dominated by Baroque and Secession styles. Mixing modern buildings with medieval architecture, Timișoara is a city of culture, youth and some firsts in history—it was the first city in Europe and second in the world after New York, to use electricity to illuminate its public streets. During our city tour, you will find out how the 1989 anti-communism revolution started in Timisoara, unfolded and how it spread nationally to finally overthrow Ceasescu’s dictatorial regime. Stroll through 3 wonderful squares having representative names for the history of this city: Union, Liberty and Victory. Along the way, you will admire the fusion of baroque, secession and eclectic architectural styles. Then you’ll be surprised to find the Catholic, Lutheran, Serbian, Romanian Orthodox churches and Jewish Synagogue very close to each other-a proof of the diversity existing in this city and ethnicity or religious beliefs. See the remains of the old defensive fortress and learn about the history starting with its first days, through the medieval ages, during the endless wars between the Ottoman, Hungarian and Austrian Empires when Timisoara had a key role. Today, Timișoara is mostly known for being a cosmopolitan city, a university centre and the chosen 2021 European Capital of Culture, a title that was extended later to 2023 due to the pandemics.
Traditional Romanian dinner.
May 15 th , 2023
Today we get out of the city to the surrounding neighborhoods in order to learn more about the historical region of Banat. Short stop in Lipova to visit the Maria Radna Franciscan Monastery-a pilgrimage spot for the Catholics of Banat due to its wonder-making icon of the Virgin Mary. The Catholics of Banat and their priests attend services in Hungarian, German, Romanian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Czech and Slovakian. The beginning of the monastery dates back to the year of 1551, when it was established by the Franciscan monks from Bosnia. It was built between 1727 and 1826, with elements from the baroque (grotesque) style. Next, arrival in Charlottenburg—a land where Romanians, Swabians, Serbians and Hungarians lived together for centuries. The only round village in the country, Charlottenburg is a unique 18th-century village built by Swabians, German colonists coming from Baden-Wurttemberg, Lorraine and South Tyrol. The houses, stables and barns form a perfect circle, with all the houses being the same height and having the same distance between them, creating a perfect symmetry. Today, there are only a few Swabians left, but the village is an unparalleled landmark in the region. Last stop for today – to the "Nikolaus Lenau" puppet museum, where we will discover an ethnographic exhibition of around 56 pairs of puppets from the western Romanian region of Banat. Being also a museum dedicated to Nikolaus Lenau, an Austrian romantic poet who was born there in 1802, we will find here on display lots of books, paintings depicting the life of the poet and that of his family, as well as translations of Lenau's poems in Romanian and manuscripts that were property of Nikolaus Lenau. Back to Timisoara and same accommodation.
Traditional lunch in a local guesthouse.
May 16 th , 2023
Today we leave Timisoara and drive towards Oravita in order to visit the oldest theatre in Romania and a faithful copy of Vienna's "Burgtheater". In 1817, when the Banat region was celebrating the 100th anniversary of its liberation from the Ottoman Oppression, a historic moment took place in Oraviţa: the inauguration of the Old Theatre, the first theatre ever founded in the entire present-day Romanian territory. Visit the theatre and drive further to Baile Herculane. One of the best and oldest thermal resorts in the world, named the Pearl of Banat, Herculane Baths is the most important spa resort in Romania, with an age of about 2,000 years. In modern times, the spa town has been visited for its supposedly natural healing properties: hot springs with sulfur, chlorine, sodium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals. Traditional lunch on the way. Continue towards Drobeta Turnu-Severin and enjoy the gorge of Europe's second-longest river, the Danube. The river created in time a series of four steep gorges separated from each other by ravines and broad basins, known as the Iron Gate. In the 1970-ties, Yugoslavia and Romania built a massive lock and the Iron Gate Dam to help control the river's speed and make navigation safer. After constructing the hydroelectric power plant, the water level got 130 feet higher and the river flowing through the Iron Gates finally calmed. We shall visit the Iron Gates Region Museum, which currently exhibits ethnography and natural sciences sections and hosts a model of Trajan’s bridge. Free time and accommodation to 4* Continental Drobeta Turnu-Severin Hotel.
Traditional Lunch on the way.
May 17 th , 2023
Today we will enjoy the most spectacular part of Danube with its stunning views of "The Couldrons", Tabula Traiana—an inscription dating from 100 BC—and the largest rock sculpture in Europe—Decebalus—during a 3-hour cruise. On Danube’s banks, carved in stone, is the statue of the former Dacian ruler and ancestor of the Romanians, Decebal. Sculpted by 12 alpinist-sculptors over a period of 10 years, the statue is 55 meters (180 feet) tall, making it the highest stone sculpture in Europe. Accommodation to a 4* Hotel.
Lunch on the boat and further departure to Belgrade.
May 18 th , 2023