Švarcvald vs Baklava

When you find yourself in Karlovci, there are two places that are of utmost importance for world history, but somehow they are always overlooked  in relation to the beauty of the city…

Therefore, experts must make every effort to find and visit them. They are the Chapel of Peace and the Church of Tekija.

Three centuries ago in this region, the fate of Europe has been decided on two occasions.

The first time Turkey was stopped in front of Vienna thanks to the combined efforts of the Holy League made by Austria, Venice, Poland and Russia.

Only then were the Turks ready for the first time to sit at the negotiating table. The location was chosen on no man’s land on the hill above Sremski Karlovci.

In order to reflect the importance of all participants in the negotiations, a four-door barracks had to be built, and a round table set up so that all participants are equal. Vanity is a dangerous thing, so everything needed to be set up perfectly.The negotiations finally started in the middle of November 1689. Negotiations lasted for 72 days, and they started to do so at noon on the suggestion of the Sultan’s astrologer.

The Delegates met 36 times, the negotiations were  exhausting, so one of the negotiators from Venice passed away and his remains were buried in the chapel’s courtyard.

Perhaps even the cold finally decided that the peace would be finalized in mid-January of the following year fifteen minutes before midnight, when the stars had the most favorable position, under the name of the Karlovci Peace, with which the small and at that time unimportant Karlovci entered the world history.

For the sake of importance throughout Europe, there was an initiative to turn this negotiating hut into a more important monument. The Franciscans rearranged this negotiation cabin into the Chapel of the Lady of Peace with lots of interesting details.


The chapel is round in shape, modeled to resemble a Turkish tent, and has two types of windows, the lower ones resembles the ones made in England and the upper windows look like the ones made in Holland.

The chapel has 4 clocks and the entrance that the Ottomans used was walled and a suitable altar was erected so that they never come back.

Turkish tourists are happy to come to this chapel that testifies to their great domination in Europe of that time, but they do not like to visit the other landmark nearby, which is the Church of Tekija.

Of course peace did not last long. All the participants just backed up and took a breather for the new conflict that happened on August 1716. This conflict is known as the Battle of Petrovaradin or the battle that saved Vienna and Budim.

On August 5, at seven o’clock in the morning on the day of Mary of Snow, the battle, that ended after five bloody hours around noon, began. The legend says that the snow that fell in the middle of August helped the army under the leadership of Eugene Savoy to win the victory. Although meteorological reports say the opposite, it is possible that on that day the dust of the battle fell on all who participated and they mistook it for snow. This victory marked the final breakdown of  the Turkish Empire, they never came back to these parts. Since then, the Church of Tekija celebrates August 5 as the day of a great and very significant victory.

Anyway, the Church of Tekija was created as a small chapel which in the Middle Ages was destroyed by the Turks who erected a small mosque as a retreat and rest stop. In Arabic, this type of building is called a tekija. After the defeat of the Turks, the friars again raise the chapel and then a church that keeps many important relics as well as a copy of the Virgin Mary Icon that was carried by Eugen Savoy during his military career, and after the victory he donated it to the church, then there are the statues of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul as well as Cyril and Metodije that all Christians respect. The legend says that everyone who has been hiding in the church during the Battle of Vezirac was saved.

The sanctuary has a dome on which the cross with a half-moon is placed as a symbol of victory. The Church of Tekija is today considered to be a large sanctuary which is visited by believers from both fates.

After such a long walk, I suggest that you eat a snack in the nearby Karlovci. The snack should be in line with the equality demonstrated during the negotiations, so it should be something like a single slice of baklava, which will be accompanied by a gentle Svarcvald slice on the same plate. The Vienna Saher Cake might be too sweet… it could cause a new war….

Traveled and enjoyed, Marko Velickovic

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