When you say Modena in Novi Sad, no one thinks of Italy. The name is very sound for the people of Novi Sad and refers to a specific street near the main Liberty Square. Even an iconic cafe, located nearby, carries the same name, Modena. Living here for a long time, I have never thought there is an aspiring story behind this street name. It was only after visiting Modena (the real one, in Italy), where I have discovered the Park of Novi Sad, that I began wondering. This street name exchange has picked my interest, and I decided to search more about this peculiar friendship between two towns in Serbia and Italy.
Where does this connection come from for, at first glance, random two towns in Serbia and Italy, Novi Sad and Modena respectfully?
The sister cities or twin towns is a form of an internationally accepted cultural and commercial tie between two geographically and politically distinctive towns, cities, regions or whole countries. The concept of sister cities became rather popular after the Second World War, after 1947 to be exact, when it was used to reconnect and reestablish the friendships between the wounded European society. It was used to promote friendship, peace, and understanding between different cultures and countries.
Modern town twinning mostly results in mutual support towards cultural, artistic, ecological and scientific growth. It usually includes the professor and student exchanges, collaborative projects, sports events, etc. Overall, it’s a common concept that bridges the unrelated areas, that have some similarities or intersecting points in history, and it promotes culture, trade, and tourism.
Novi Sad and Modena became sister cities in 1974. Withal, Modena was the first ever twin town to Novi Sad, which during the last 40 years, gained 8 more “siblings.”
It’s interesting to observe how Novi Sad and Modena, with over 700 kilometers apart, have many similarities. Both towns are university towns, proud of their long history. While Novi Sad may be the proudest of their technical and artistic studies, Modena takes pride in its law and medical programs. Both cities are rather small but lively, where Novi Sad is often referred to as a cultural capital of its country, and Modena as an industrial capital of its country.
The architectural styles differ but create picturesque streets, vaults, and passages in both cities. Novi Sad’s Modena street is truly an iconic place in the city, where you can find the best views of St. Mary’s Cathedral and enjoy the time spent in the very center of the city. On the other hand, Park of Novi Sad is a peaceful oasis near the Modena’s center.
Even though the concept of twin towns is rather common nowadays and goes beyond our continent, I find this peculiar friendship between two towns in Serbia and Italy quite inspiring. And it is really an unbeatable feeling to find the name of the modest place where you live, somewhere randomly in the world!
Cover photo © Credits to boggy22