Sremski Karlovci is home to a unique urban park – the ‘Royal Garden’. Built in 19th century, the park carries with itself a turbulent and rich history. Originally constructed for educational purposes as an arboretum, the park was a magnificent example of landscape architecture. After the WW2, darker times fall upon it. In the second half of 20th century, the park is starting to decline. In the last 10 years, the park was partially revived and it is starting to show signs of its former glory.
‘Royal Garden’ (Dvorska Bašta in Serbian) was constructed in 1848., as an arboretum, thanks to the patriarch Josif Rajačić. It served as an open air ‘classroom’ for students of the Grammar school and the Seminary in the town. Apart from vast quantities of plant life, the park had a special green house, with heating systems for tropical plants. Soon after the park got its own fountain and stone benches. ‘Royal garden’ was owned by the church until the end of the WW2, when it was nationalised and army took over it. In 1958. the park falls under the protection of the National park and remains under it until 2010. when it got returned to its original owners, the church. With so many institutions managing, or better yet failing to manage it, the park along side with its plants and infrastructure declined rapidly through the years. In an already damaged state after the army took control of it, the park had 200 species of trees, while in 2010. only 115 were counted.
Luckily, there were people and organisations that helped restoring the ‘Royal garden’ in the last couple of years. Vojvodina Environmental Movement, an NGO based in Sremski Karlovci organised several international work camps and one day volunteering actions, with the aim of revitalisation of the park, by cleaning it, setting up benches and bridges, restoring children’s playground and many more. Local youth organisation ‘Eco Flame’, set up over 40 info boards with details of trees from the park. The church has completely restored the official entrance to the park, as it used to look like almost 200 years ago.
Today, the park lies in shadow of its former glory, but still offers peace and serenity among its many trees and shrubs to wondering visitors.
Just after the entrance on the lower part, there is an area cover in black pines
On one part of the upper section of the park, sports fields were constructed, including a basketball court, outdoor futsal pitch, volleyball court and running track.
Edit: Now you can check out videos from international volunteer camp that Vojvodina Environmental Movement (Pokret gorana Vojvodine) organised this year (July 2017). Videos are hosted on youth leaders platform.