ABOUT THE DUNAVSKA STREET

A picture of Novi Sad (Racka varoš – Ratzen stadt) with main streets plan from 1698

Dunavska street used to be the path that connected the pontoon bridge and the Barbican of the Petrovaradin fortress and central square at the Saborna Orthodox church and the Zlatne grede street. From here the road goes in three main directions: strait ahead from the bridge is the present-day Pasiceva street, on the road to Segedin, right is the present-day Zmaj Jovina street, on the road to Futog, and left the present-day Zlatne grede street, that goes to the bank of the marches. Along these main directions the city was established and developed. Between the settlement and the Barbican, there was about half a mile of swamps, so an earthbank was built to connect them in the direction of Dunavska street. We can see it on the picture above.

That is why the first name of Dunavska street, that we find on a map of the city made in 1745. was “Auf den Brück” meaning “On the Bridge”. Soon after the earth bank was widened, so shops started to be built on it, forming the Dunavska street. It beared the name Dunavska street trought the 19th century, until the end of the WWI, in the three languages (German, Serbian and Hungarian). The city market used to start at Dunavska street, than on through the Pijaca (Market street – today Zmaj Jovina street) and it continued through the Lebarski sokak (Baker’s street – today Miletićeva street). The the part of Dunavska street thowards the Barbican, was predominantly a fishers market, and later it was moved to the area behind the street, where it’s located to this day. For a while it was named the Petrovaradin street, then between two world wars Jaše Tomića street, during the WWII dr Lasla Bardošija street, and finally in 1944 its name was restored to Dunavska street.

Dunavska street in 1905

Dunavska street was rebuilt soon after the devastating bombing of 1849, and it didn’t change much since then. There is just one written account by Mihajlo Polit-Desancic, who was born and raised in Dunavska no.5, how the street used to look before the bombing:

Mihajlo Polit-Desančić (1833-1920)

“… The Novi Sad, that used to exist before the Revolt, is no more. It was a semi-oriental city. There were houses with rognjevi (long exposed rafter tails), doksati (oriel-style projection, sometimes supported by buttresses),

Houses with rognjevi and doksati

shops with so called ćepenci (turkish: kepenk – a wooden front of a shop or a craftsman’s workshop, that consists of three wooden shutters on hinges. When the shop openes two upper shutters are raised, like a canopy, protecting goods and customers from rain or direct sunlight, while the third one is lowered and supported to act as a stand to display  the goods and sit with the customers). 

A shop with closed ćepenci

(The following picture shows us what these shops used to look like, and how the merchants and customers were sitting next to the merchandise)

The houses had so long roof overhangs that one could walk along the entire Dunavska and Ćurčiska street, mostly even in Market street (today Zmaj Jovina street), without getting wet, while it’s raining. Because of those wide and low roof overhangs, the streets seemed to be very narrow.

(The picture below shows part of the Bash Charshia street in Sarajevo 150 years ago, to illustrate what the Dunavska street might have looked like)

At the market there was a well known simidžinica (bakery) of kir Nikola… Another well known simidžinica was  kir Fotin’s, at the so called Bara, where today is the Riblja pijca (fish market)…”

Mihajlo Polit Desančić, “Uspomene”