18/06/2015 03:37

Welcome to China Town

Cultural offer? Great fun and loads of music? Festivals? Parks to hang out in with your pals? Museums? What is the first thing that pops into mind when you think of the ways of having fun in Novi Sad?

If you can’t decide on just one of these things, you will be happy to know that all of this awaits you in the part of Novi Sad called China Town. No, it’s not a Chinatown, but an old arts and crafts neighbourhood of Novi Sad that gradually transformed into a cultural and entertainment centre in which you can feel the spirit of the new, urban culture. The greatest charm of China Town is that it is active 24/7. The people coming here all share the idea of merging different cultural offers, exchanging new energies, and preserving the city’s iconic values.

China Town had long been known only for its numerous workshops, where people could repair almost anything, from bicycles and cars to boats, yachts, and even planes. However, some ten years ago, things begun to change.

Many roads lead to Novi Sad, but only two lead to China Town. You can either come from the direction of the sports centre commonly referred to as SPENS, all the way down Fruškogorska Street, and then right into Despota Stefana Boulevard, the address of China Town. You can also go through Narodnog fronta street, and enter Despota Stefana Boulevard down the side of Limanski Park. If you decide on the first road and are on foot, you can take the bus number 1 or number 8, or bus number 4, 7, or 11 if you’re coming from the other side. Also take a moment to check out the graffiti wall just under the Liberty Bridge. Limanski Park, one of four Novi Sad parks, will be an important part of the Cinema City festival. A few years ago it was renovated, and even got a small skate park immediately adjacent to China Town.

A great place to chill before going to see a film is the pub Crveni petao (Red Rooster) known by many as RST. If you’re hungry, there is one of the most colourful fast food restaurants Kukuriku (Cock-a-doodle-doo). We also recommend that you make a couple of photos at this really neat little place. Immediately behind this restaurant is the club Quarter, the most popular music space for city concerts, which played host to some of music greats like Darko Rundek, Partibrejkers, Goblini, Bad Copy, Let 3, etc. The student cultural centre Fabrika (Factory) is across Quarter, and is the most alternative space in Novi Sad that has organized a great number of diverse cultural programmes and events in the past several years. Only a few steps away is the Manual museum – something you don’t see every day, a most peculiar place that gives a completely different perspective of China Town.

The space where China Town is located was once part of the Petar Drapšin factory that manufactured wire-netting, sieves, and iron constructions, leaving behind the blue-collar industrial vibe. Off-white walls, great iron doors, and small, thick glass windows give this part of Novi Sad a specific charm and a very distinctive air. Almost all these places have concrete stairs where visitors come and sit, resembling the workers who are giving a new life to this huge factory of culture.

When one mentions China Town, there is this nostalgic association of the recently closed club Route 66, which had been an important concert venue and a meeting place for Novi Sad bikers. If you take a stroll farther down the street you can happen to run into one of the living legends of the local rock and roll scene, like former drummer of Ekatarina Velika, Ivan Fece – Firči, with whom you can have a drink in his club Firchie Think Tank or try your hand at playing the drums with this old master. If you’re a fan of electric sound and clubbing until the wee hours of the morning , there is the popular club Compresor, and if you’re more in a mood for the good old times, you can go to the pub Davna vremena (Good old days), which offers homemade dishes and the spirit of the past. China Town also has a Cultural centre, a gathering place for Novi Sad anarcho-punk youth, who succeeded in claiming this part of China Town after years of relentless struggle. This centre organizes many different outreach programmes.

What else is there to say, except, as we from Novi Sad like to say – welcome, pal, into China Town, relax, chill out, and enjoy.