Prior to meeting a few Facebook buddies from Sremska Mitrovica, I had never heard of it.
I arrived in Sremska Mitrovica 2 weeks ago. I met a great guy on Youtube named Milos. He was a former Serbian soldier and self proclaimed Serbian Nationalist. He invited me to stay in his little backyard house. I think it is so cool that Serbian homes have those. 🙂 I arrive on the bus from Belgrade at around 2PM. The bus station is a long way from the center of town. He was going to meet me at the station , but when I arrived he was nowhere to be found. I take my two bags and start looking for a little cafe to sit down at. I get a few blocks away and he calls me. He tells me to stay where I am. He arrives a few minutes later and we head to his house. He lives only a few blocks from the station. He lives there with his father, mother and brother. They are a very welcoming bunch. The father was wounded by NATO bombs in the Kosovo conflict of 99 and showed me the piece of shrapnel that had been pulled from his side. They sure love their cigs and coffee!!!! 🙂 I have never seen a breed of people that can drink coffee at all hours of the day! They are drinking a cup of coffee at 12 and 1 AM!!! o.O
Milos is a guy that seems to know everything about S.M or so he says! 😉 We spend the next few days investigating the ins and outs of the city.
Sremska Mitrovica is a city located about an hours bus ride from Belgrade and Novi Sad. It has been built over the famous Roman city of Sirmium. It was the 2nd most important Roman city after Rome. Three Roman Emperors were born in the surrounding area. It was a key trading outpost and had over 120,000 inhabitants.
The city has a large park called Memorial Park. It is dedicated to those that were slaughtered during WWII. The Sremska Mitrovica municipality is said to have had the largest loss of casualties of any location in Serbia. The number is said to be around 20,000! Memorial Park is the spot where around 8,000 Serbians and other minorities were forced to dig their own graves before being shot or buried alive! 😦 Check out my video of my time in Memorial Park…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5DTf2KCMGk. After WWII, Sremska Mitrovica was the location of the first post WWII building. The train station was built in 1945 and displays many pictures in its massive lobby.
Today, It has a population of around 80,000 people. It is located in the autonomous region of Vojvodina. Vojvodina is broken into three regions or states. Srem, which is the region that S.M is in, Backa and Banat. Srem is well known for two things- pork and wine. There are two rivers that run through this area- The Sava and The Danube. The pork section lies from the Sava to the Fruska Gora state park. The wine belt is located from Fruska Gora to the Danube.
Fruska Gora National Park…..
Fruska Gora is a place that really stands out in Vojvodinja. The surrounding land in Vojvodina is very fertile , but very flat. Fruska Gora jumps out of the middle of the flatness with lots of hills, trees, nature, wine fields, and monasteries. There are around 20 monasteries that litter the surrounding hills and forests. Fruska Gora is well known for its fine wine production. They say that the Titanic served many bottles of fine Fruska Gora wine!
Serbians from the surrounding areas flock to Fruska Gora on May 1st. It is their celebration of Labor Day. They will camp, cook out, drink lots of great drinks, and just enjoy the beautiful nature that the park has to offer!
The area was also very important in WW2. The Partizans used the heavily forested location to form many of their of military squads. Three of the most famous squads are now campgrounds in Fruska Gora , they are :
1- Rohalj Baze
3- Mosin Grob
The city is also the home to many famous people, past and present. Here are a few of them:
- NIkola Tesla’s sister- Nikola Tesla had three sisters. One of them is buried in the old Orthodox cemetery . I have yet to find the grave. I will update soon!
- Al Capone’s personal driver- This is one that I am still researching! I have been told by several residents that the driver is buried in the cemetery , but trying to get his name and a pic of his grave. Will have soon!
- Mr Matic- Serbian Foreign Minster under Sloban Milosevic
- Current Chelsea Soccer player- Brainslav Ivanovic
- Current European Bodybuilding Champion- Nebojsa
- Former Minster of Youth and Sport under Slobadan Milosevic and former Mr Olympia and father of Nebojsa Spanovic, Milan Spanovic
- One of the most famous Masons on Earth and painter-Dragan Martinovic
- Current Kayak World Champion- Ognjen Filipovic
- Finalist on Serbian Survivor and well known Serbian comedian- Srdjan Dincic
- Famous Olympian discus thrower- Dragana Tomasevic
Birthplace of American Football in Serbia…..
It also is home to the first American football team in Serbia, the Sirmium Legionaries. They were formed by a small group of guys that loved the sport, but had no financial support. They were formed in 2002 and have been a big force in Serbian American Football! I had the honor of meeting a few of the players after their game last Sunday!
Sremska Mitrovica has a lot to offer!!! It is great for a day trip or a week long excursion!! Come check it out! I also might be running a little bar over here in the near future! 🙂 Mention this post and you drink cheaper. 🙂