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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website  https://www.ceciliaclark.com/ . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at  https://www.ceciliaclark.com/blog .

Ečka, Serbia: August 29, 2012

We're in the village of Ečka located about 45 minutes north of Belgrade.  I'm told that about 5,000 people live in this village.  I've only seen about 100 residents and wonder where the other 4,900 are hiding.  The village was settled during Austrian rule.  The hotel we're staying in, Kaštel Ečka, was formerly center for aristocratic hunting parties.  The castle or manor house was built in 1820 in English style and violinist Franz Liszt played at the opening ceremony.  The castle and its outbuildings were mostly destroyed by the consequences of WWII.  The castle has undergone extensive renovations and additions and looks like an English Manor house.

We were given a suite which is quite lovely.  It has a very large bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and bedroom and living room areas.  Dan's Serbian colleague told him that it was the "best room" at the hotel.  It did not make a good first impression, though.  The light over the tub did not work so it was a black hole.  The room has two air conditioners--they don't work.  The room has two televisions--while they work, most of the channels are "snow".  The hotel list of satellite TV stations lists three English language stations.  The satellite does not appear to be connected to this room.

So, I almost had the driver return me and Kali Cat to Belgrade, but after a walk around the village, I decided to stay.

We discovered that there are at least 3 churches in Ečka.  The first images are of the Austrian Catholic church (perhaps also called the Kaštel church) that seems to be permanently closed.  It is situated right outside of the hotel grounds.  The main road through town jogs around the church and continues on.



The next church is the new Romanian church which was also closed when I attempted to visit it.  It is called "new" because it is newer than the older church formerly used by Romanians.  


Only the steeple of the new Romanian Church is visible in this photo.  The church is probably at least 200 years old.  

The third church was open--in fact, the door was wide open.  It is an Orthodox Church dedicated to St. Nicolas.  It was formerly shared by both the Serbian and Romanian residents of Ečka hence the reason why the yellow church is called the "new" Romanian church.  It is a beautiful building that dates back to about 1711.  The roof and steeple are made of wooden shakes and panels.  




Dan and I were inside taking photographs when the priest walked into the church.  He smiled, turned on the lights for us and indicated that we should turn them off when we were done.  How refreshing.    Some parishioners also stopped by.  One woman even dusted some of the table tops and tidied up the interior a little for me. 


Interior of the Church of St. Nicolas and its iconostasis.  This is the church's second iconostasis as the original structure and icons were replaced in about 1750.  



The above photo is of the "royal doors" of the iconostasis.  Only the priest and males are allowed behind these doors.  

The back portion of the church houses several icons.  Worshipers place offerings along the ledge.

 

This icon of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus was part of the original 1711 iconostasis.  

  
After about an hour of taking photos, Dan left me to go to a meeting with his colleagues at the hotel.  I stayed and stayed.  I stayed until the cows came home--literally.  




After the cows, came children dressed in folklore costumes.  They were gathering for an International Children's Folklore Festival.  They gathered at the church and then paraded through the village toward the Cultural Center were they performed traditional dances.  



Dancers from Hungary

The festival has representative groups from Serbia, Slovakia, and Hungary.  

Despite my first impressions, Ečka rocks!

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