Discovering Novi Bečej: Stories, people, history

By the paths of the past: Discover the rich history, interesting events and unforgettable people who have shaped Novi Bečej through time, as we return together to the heart of this beautiful city on the banks of the Tisza.

Explore the historical center of Novi Becej, capturing the charm of its past

Islands of Green

Villages and towns in the Vojvodina plain appear as green islands amidst the sea of cultivated fields. The desire to utilize every inch of fertile Banat land for the production of crops has deprived the fields of even the most essential trees. Vast expanses, especially in the central and northern Banat, lack any semblance of trees. Only farms were surrounded by the greenery of acacia or mulberry trees. Occasionally, a tree would grow along the road connecting villages and towns. Everything else was either cultivated land or pastures for the village cows and other livestock. Trees were so rare that a farmer, amidst the scorching summer heat and the most arduous tasks like harvesting, had no opportunity to rest in the shade of a tree for miles in any direction.

In contrast to the fields, villages and towns are exceptionally rich in greenery in the flatland conditions. Rows of acacia and mulberry trees line every street on both sides. Yards are also filled with trees and fruit gardens. This was the appearance of Novi Becej and Vranjevo, as well as all other settlements in Banat and throughout Vojvodina. The greenery of villages and towns raises the question of why there is such a concern for tree cultivation.

In villages, someone who has not planted trees in front of their house along the entire length of their plot is considered a particularly poor host. As soon as the house is completed, trees are immediately planted first on the street, then in the yard, and only then fruit trees in the garden. The disdain felt towards someone who has removed an old tree without planting a young one is something normal in every place, yet no one thinks about the almost cult-like reverence for street trees.

Nature, in general, is fair, as evidenced at every step. It displayed this virtue when it came to the bountiful Banat plain. The rich and beautiful plain with fertile fields was complemented by some drawbacks. Without these flaws, it wouldn't be said only in poetry, "Vojvodina's flat fields, you are more beautiful than paradise..." Nature couldn't lavish all its goodness on one region and cover others only with faults. It had to bestow virtues on others as well, as was the case with the Banat plain.

In summer, these fields covered with golden wheat and barley, soaring stalks of green corn, and splendid sunflower blossoms present a beautiful sight that soothes the eyes and soul. Inhaling the intoxicating scent of field flowers and fresh greenery is pure joy for a person. During this period, nature also imparts the second part of its justice. This fertile land dries up considerably from May until the autumn rains, especially in its surface layer, to successfully execute the vegetative period, the cycle of growth and maturation of field crops. At the same time, nature places a burden on the other side of the balance and ensures its usual equilibrium. The dried-up upper layer of soil becomes loose and easily crumbles into fine dust. A slight breeze, and especially the passage of horse-drawn vehicles, are enough to lift the dust from the roads, perpetually turned into dust, scattering it across fields and crops. Inhabited areas experience the same, as do the flat fields, but on a larger scale, as traffic in the streets is more intense, and thus, the dust is thicker on the roads. During that time, when streets were being constructed, they were usually not asphalted or cobblestone-paved, so with every passing carriage, a cloud of dust would rise, making it challenging for people to protect themselves.

Experience has shown that the dust raised by horse-drawn vehicles doesn't immediately spread horizontally left and right—it almost vertically rises to a height of even ten meters, carried by the upper air currents, dispersing it in the surroundings.

People concluded that the only true protection from this dust is to move houses away from the road and plant trees in front of houses, not only along the street but also in yards and gardens. The leafy canopies of trees serve as a kind of roof protection, like an umbrella, trapping most of the dust.

Hence, in all flatland settlements, there are tree-lined streets, mulberry trees in yards with large canopies, and fruit trees in gardens, a mandatory feature for every house. Therefore, for purely health reasons, inhabited places in the plain are genuine green oases. It was known that the greenery of trees represents a source of health, but that alone surely wouldn't have influenced the creation of a true tree-planting culture.

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