Exploring the China Quarter in Novi Sad can give a good sense of how untamed and primarily undeveloped part of the city can become a harbor of alternative culture. Locally, it's famous as an unofficial refuge for younger generations and more progressive older ones, who are seeking shelter from the mainstream culture. It’s a place where you can feel the evergreen rock’n’roll spirit in the air, hear some new-coming garage bands perform out of sync, or just as likely find yourself jumping into the well-established musicians from the region, and the world.
The China Quarter in Novi Sad congregates several underground bars and concert venues. Many of them have had just a shortly breathed life on Novi Sad bar scene and ended up permanently closed. Some names, however, have built a sound reputation and became real symbols of this alternative checkpoint. Fabrika and The Quarter are famous concert venues that welcome the upcoming and established performers alike, occasionally organizing even the electronic music parties. Sometimes there are some small festivals, or quirky exhibitions, plays, and movie projections. The more regular weekend parties are organized in the Firchie Think Tank Studio, which also nurtures the avant-garde spirit and welcomes the city alternative scene. Concerts, festivals, exhibitions, it’s another small center of culture, art, and music in Novi Sad.
The China Quarter in Novi Sad was an industrial zone during the ‘30s of the last century. It’s position near the Danube, and an old railway was perfect for transporting the materials. In the later decades of the last century, the industrial zone and the rail were moved to the northern part of the city, leaving the space of what we call today The China Quarter, abandoned, empty, and ruined. The architecture of a rustic industrial zone still persists and gives a special touch to the site that’s often a birthplace of creativity and contemporary art in the city. Luckily, the city of Novi Sad has recognized its value and plans to preserve the area, and enhance its purpose - reinventing it as a creative hub.
This peculiar and unique oasis has a specific and in a way self-sustainable way of functioning. Nested on the coast of the Danube, this place can thank the history for its ugly and unattractive outlook. It first started as a “refuge” of sorts, welcoming the artists and artistic souls who couldn’t find their place in the hierarchy of the city, so they decided to create their own in the abandoned and ruined buildings of the ex-industrial district.
The location of the China Quarter is optimal in a sense that it’s isolated enough from the rest of the city, but rather close to the center and other amenities. It is only 5 minutes of walking distance from the city’s favorite beach Strand, or a pleasant 15-min walk by the river to the Fisherman’s Island, where you can have lunch in one of the best fish restaurants. The China Quarter in Novi Sad is one of those places that captures the substance of the city, a place that no one is proud of, that you don’t find in the tourist guides, but that is essential and stubbornly reminds us of exploring the alternative ways.
Cover picture © Credits to jon11
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