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  • In memoriam Szabadka

    Historical Centre in Change

    Text and photos: Rudolf Klein

    Although winners of the Balkan war had already built houses in Subotica which were glaring contrasst of their environment because of their scales and forms, the destruction of a theatre is a milestone even so. Everything is possible now if this structure could be pulled down. Besides the cathedral named after St. Theresa it had been the other landmark building of the town up until the appearance of Art Nouveau, the only significant Neo-Classicist structure in the whole region, as well as one of the oldest permanent stone theatres in the Carpathian Basin. The coexistence of its multi-lingual company in the same hall was an influential message in an era heralding national exclusiveness and superiority, proving that it is possible to exist in a different way, that there is room for tolerance and peaceful symbiosis. It makes this event even more frightening that the legal framework for destruction in the town has been provided now. Downloadable from the internet, the design of rehabilitation reveals scales matching those of Belgrade – such as the building height – to replace the fabric of an agricultural town along the former streetlines. Now there is a law in effect allowing for the destruction of practically anything, except for a few public buildings. Or including even some of them. Should this project be realized, Subotica shall never be the town it had been so far: this process is a self-destructive one.