BEČEJ is a town in the heart of the province of Vojvodina, situated in the middle of the course of the river Tisa on her way through Serbia,on its right bank in Bačka. Bečej is also the centre of the municipality which includes Bačko Petrovo selo, Bačko Gradište, Rasdičević and Mileševo.
Here,in this municipality, citizens of mainly Serbian and Hungarian nationality live and work in a harmonious and rich union of different cultures and religions.
Today, in Bečej alone there are approximately 30.000 inhabitants, whereas in the entire municipality there are, all together, around 45.000 inhabitants.
Bečej was mentioned for the first time in 1901. The name Bečej at that time was not related to a town on the territory where Bečej is situated today, but to a fortress and a pier on the Tisa.
The fortress was situated on a river isle, 6 km away from Bečej of today. Since then, it has changed many owners inside the Austrian-Hungarian Empire until the Empire was defeated by the Turks. During the Viennese war the Austrians managed to drive away the Turks, and with the resolutions of the peace settlement signed in Karlovci in 1699 this territory was given over to the Austrians. Thus this powerful fort was “doomed” to demolition by that peace settlement.
Following the demolition of the fortress, in the same year a new town was errected on the territory where Bečej is today. In order to protect themselves from Turkish raids from Banat during 1702 and 1703, members of the Hapsburg royal family formed a military border along the Tisa. Bečej became its centre with a cordon of 300 border guards. The name of the town at the time used to be Šanac (Trench) Bečej, and in 1774 the name was changed to Stari (Old) Bečej. After driving out of the Turks from Banat the military border was abolished in 1749. With this act in 1751 The Potiski (along Tisa) Crown Districtd with a seat in Old Bečej. This brought on a faster economic development of Bečej and also the increase in the number of the population.
The district existed until 1848 when it was cancelled, only to see Bečej become a ward with the new administrative division after the revolution. In the second half of the 19th century, one could witness the development of agriculture, trade, craftsmanship and industry. At the time these facts put Bečej, with its 19 000 inhabitants, among the most properous places in Vojvodina.
With the end of the First World War and the downfall of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in 1918,as a ward, Bečej became a strong economic centre in the newly founded Kingdom of Serbs, Croatians and Slovenians, and from then on in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, too. This wealthy ward became part of the Belgrade area in 1921. In 1929 banates were formed in the kingdom, and Bečej became part of the Danubian banate where it remained a ward until the Second World War. It kept this status until 1955 when a communal system was introduced. The new reorganization lasted until 1959, and finally in 1960 there was an administrative division which exists even at present, i.e. Bečej became a municipality.
The river Tisa is formed by the union of the Black and the White Tisa. Bečej is situated on its right bank in Bačka. The length of its course through Vojvodina is 164 km and in Titel it flows into the Danube.
The Orthodox and the Roman-catholic Church
Probably the most beautiful in Vojvodina, the orthodox church is dedicated to St. George. The building of the church lasted from 1851 until 1858. The icons were painted by the famous painter Uroš Predić. ln 1830 the roman-catholic church was built. The interior of the church is richly decorated with ornaments in a baroque style. The picture “The Ascension of the Holy Mother of God” on the altar was painted by the famous painter from Bečej, Mor Tan.
The building of the technical school
Once Serbian primary school is one of the oldest primary schools in Vojvodina, built in 1703. Today it is the seat of the Technical secondary school.
The statue of Petar I Karađorđević
The statue of King Petar I Karađorđević used to decorate the centre of the town from 1924 until 1941. It was renovated in 1991 and now stands in front of the Technical secondary school.
The High School
The state real high school was opened in 1925. The school soon got a reputation of a renowned high school.
The small chapelof the baroness Eufemija Jović was built in 1861.
The Roman-Catholic Chapel
The chapel was built by Ferenc Seneši in 1842. It is dedicated to St. John Nepomuk.
The Chapel on Fantast
The chapel of the landowner Bogdan Dunđerski was built in 1923.
The water-gate was designed in Eiffel’s studio. It was opened in 1900.
The house of Bogdan Dunđerski
The famous landowner Bogdan Dunđerski (1826 – 1943) , Apart from the castle, owned a house in the very centre of the town.
Tourist complex “Fantast” is situated in the eastern part of Bačka, in the municipality of Bečej, next to the road Bačka Topola-Bečej, 14 km away from the town of Bečej itself.
On the area of 65 hectars there is a castle, a stud-farm, a small citadel, a chapel, a park, and other accompanying objects. The castle was errected at the begining of the 20th century by a well-known landowner from Vojvodina, Bogdan Dunđerski. The castle depicted his power and wealth.
The Dunđerski family originated from Herzegowina, somewhere around Gacka. At some time at the end of the 17th century they moved to the vicinity of Subotica, and later on at the begining of the 18th century they moved to Srbobran.
That was the place where Gedeon Dunđerski (1808-1883), the grandfather of Bogdan Dunđerski, laid the foundations of the familiy’s wealth. The father of Bogdan Dunđerski, Aleksandar, with his eagerness, ability and thrift increased the estate even more and brought the family among the big feudal lords.
Bogdan Dunđerski (1862-1943) was Aleksandar’s eldest son and he inherited fertile land around Srbobran and Old Bečej from his father. The entire area amounted to 2600 acres. Apart from agriculture Bogdan was also famous for his stud-farm. On the farm there were 1400 horses.
Following the example of individual European landowners Bogdan Dunđerski errected a castle of his own. The building lasted from 1921 until 1923. The castle represents a mixture of different styles. The turret itself and four corner domes are in a necgothic style, whereas both entrances were made in a neoclassical style.
The pool in the open, whepe mostly guests used to swim, stands out with its beauty too. The castle is surrounded by a low wall with two monumental wrought-iron gates.
At the begining of the 1980s the castle was adapted and turned into a hotel- The Fantast. The hotel was named after a famous race stud.
The stud farm is in tho rank of the most famous ones in this part of Europe. Inside the complex there is also a gorgeous park.