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Austro-Hungarian Stories from Subotica

This project rediscovers Subotica's myths and legends from the days when it belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It also presents wonderful cultural sights and local businesses that you can visit today. Have you been to this Serbian city before? It's right on the border of Hungary.

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Let's do some time travelling

Subotica in the Austro-Hungarian Empire

After the arrival of Austria-Hungary, the rapid development of settlements, infrastructure and the civil society began. So much so that at one point Subotica gained the status of the 3rd largest place in Austro-Hungarian empire, in terms of population. The Austro-Hungarian empire was present in this Serbian city from 1867 until 1914.

According to Bunjevački calendar (translated: Bunjevački kalendar) from 1868. the ethnic composition of Subotica was predominantly occupied by Bunjevci, with Hungarians, Serbs and Jews as the minorities. By 1880. 50% of citizens spoke Hungarian, while "Rac" was the second most spoken language.

The faster development of craftsmanship, industry and trade was encouraged in 1869 with the arrival of the first train. It was later accelerated by the construction of a power plant in 1896 and the tram traffic in 1897. The beginnings of today's modern industry in Subotica can be found at the end of the last century.

Subotica's streets hide many, many Austro-Hungarian architectural pearls. To discover major tourist attractions from this period, make sure to watch the video below.



Located in the very north of Serbia, Subotica represents a very popular weekend vacation spot. The city's center absolute star is the City Hall, accompanied with many others Austro-Hungarian gems.
Secession is a special artistic direction that was reflected primarily in the high art of architecture, painting and sculpture, but also in applied and decorative art. It was created when the economy began to develop abruptly and as a reaction against economic civilization at the end of the 19th century. There are different terms of this artistic direction, such as the Viennese Art Nouveau in Austria, Jugendstil in Germany, Art Nuovo in France and Belgium, in the Anglo-Saxon countries Liberty, in Russia Modern, in Spain Catalan Modernism, or in Subotica - the magnificent succession architecture.

It all means the same thing: opposition to the existing official styles in painting and applied art of the 19th and 20th centuries. The main features of this direction are the asymmetry of the composition, wavy lines and strong color. Dominated by forms in ornament such as flower, leaf, human and animal bodies. In Subotica alone, there were 41 buildings made in the times of secession.

If you're looking for picturesque architectural masterpieces from secession in Subotica, here are some of our top picks:

Subotica's history through Austro-Hungarian buildings

The city that experience rapid development growth

If we want to dive deeper into the history and architecture of Subotica in the Austro-Hungarian days, it is important to note that there are two variants of secession: Hungarian and Viennese. The construction of buildings in this style was entrusted only to the best architects.

Most of the buildings from this period were built in Subotica by a tandem of Marcel Komor and Deže Jakab, architects from Budapest.

A large number of buildings in Subotica and Palić (about 40) are ground floor and first floor palaces and houses that once belonged to wealthy citizens.

Since the most beautiful buildings are located in the city center, tourists have the opportunity to visit the most representative facilities. The three most important buildings on the territory of Vojvodina in the Art Nouveau style are: the Synagogue, built in 1902, the Reichl Palace, the home of a wealthy architect, and the City Hall, all three in Subotica - and all three of them are in the city center too. Our special recommendation for you is that you take one of the special "Roads of Art Nouveau" tours that will offer your exclusive views of the facilities in this style.
Legends and myths from the Austro-Hungarian days in Subotica

Actual foundations?

Since the City Hall was built on the spot where sandy soil and fertile soil collide, one part of the building kept breaking down during the construction. In order to fix the problem, the handyman used wood boulders and put them in as the foundations. They remain unchanged even today.
Legends and myths from the Austro-Hungarian days in Subotica

Constructing his own airplane

The idea to construct his airplane and take off into the air, Ivan Sarić got in Paris, where he participated in car racing, and where in 1909 he secretly analyzed the plane of Louis Blériot, who was preparing to fly to England.
Legends and myths from the Austro-Hungarian days in Subotica

First cinema

In order to open the first permanent cinema, Marian Tumbas started showing films to the people of Subotica on an empty plot, under a tent. Unfortunately, despite the enthusiasm, a fire broke out during his 3rd showing, burning down the entire project.
More history-rich stories from Subotica

A plea to the emperor

A very diverse group of Subotica's men ("railway deputies"), traveled to Vienna in 1863 to beg the emperor for the railway route to pass through their city too. This is a testimony to how all layers of society wanted to see their city grow. In 1869, the first train arrived in Subotica.
More history-rich stories from Subotica

Palaces in Mother Teresa Park

Until the 80s of the 19th century, there was a swampy area in front of the railway station (Rogina bara), when a decision was made to form the Mother Teresa Park by embankment and landscaping. Interestingly, four of the most enterprising citizens of Subotica built their palaces and formed unique architectural segment of urban space, by placing their houses on 4 corners of the park.
More history-rich stories from Subotica

A title to be proud of

One of the things that the people of Subotica like to emphasize in front of foreigners is that their city was the third most populous in Austro-Hungarian empire, and that it was the most numerous urban area among the cities. This is true, if we miss out on sharing the fact that half of the inhabitants lived on numerous farms, scattered around the city, and their inhabitants can hardly be called citizens.

The Big Book of Dates

Subotica through the years

1854. - 1868.

Art & Culture

The city theater was opened in 1854, and the first music school was opened in 1868.

1896th year

Power plant and tram traffic

In 1896, a power plant was built, and the following year, 1897, tram traffic was put into operation.

1869th year

Subotica was included in the railway

Subotica is included in the railway that connected Szeged and Rijeka, and in 1882 the main railway between Budapest and Zemun was put into operation, making Subotica an important railway junction, which influenced the city to gradually become an important industrial-commercial, sport- oriented, tourist-friendly and spa-equipped urban center.


Craftsmen are fighting for their rights

In 1885, the Association of Craftsmen was founded, which united the work of a large number of craftsmen from Subotica, but at the same time helped them solve their problems.

1899th year

Cinema and theatre plays

The first cinema play was shown by Angelo Bianchi from Pécs in 1899, and Aleksandar Lifka, who opened a permanent cinema in 1911, leaving the deepest trace in this art.

Explore the Austro-Hungarian influence through these virtual walks

Walk through City Library

Explore the Austro-Hungarian influence through these virtual walks

City Hall

Explore the Austro-Hungarian influence through these virtual walks


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