Feature: Harvest time in Serbia's capital of steel

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 8, 2019
Adjust font size:

SMEDEREVO, Serbia, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- The end of the agricultural season is a big deal here in Smederevo, some 50 km southeast of Serbia's capital, where people gather at a festival to exhibit their freshly picked fruits and grapes and local products.

The city, which is well known for its steel plant, now owned by the Chinese Hesteel, is also the venue of Serbia's oldest fruit and grape expo "Smederevska jesen" (Smederevo autumn), which has been taking place since 1888.

For the 132nd time on Friday the gigantic grape cluster has been carried to the city square in a carnival procession of kids and youth, led by carnival king and queen, and was greeted by thousands of visitors from Smederevo and across Serbia.

The festival is a presentation of not only the successful harvest, but also the achievements of the city's business, tourism and culture.

This city on the Danube river, home to around 60,000 people, takes pride in its agricultural tradition and the fact that it can yield up to 16,000 tons of apples, 26,000 tons of peaches and 5,200 tons of grapes every year -- along with around 2 million tons of steel.

Smederevo's medieval fortress, once the center of Serbia's medieval state, is lavishly decorated in the colors of the season, with pumpkins, red peppers, grape leaves, and the best pickings of the recent harvest.

An exhibition titled "Village courtyards" brings behind these stone walls a picture of the traditional way of life in dozens of neighboring villages together with their hand-made items, local delicacies and freshly picked fruits.

Further away at the fortress, the city municipalities display their traits -- fruit jams, syrups, juices, wines and other delicacies, while visitors gladly take break from strolling among stands to engage in traditional "Kolo" dance to the sound of Serbian music.

Among the exhibitors is Zorica Sentic, a honey producer from a nearby village. She came here to exhibit her products, as her family has been doing for years.

"This is a traditional event for exhibiting fruit and honey and there are a lot of guests and tourists. The fruit production is in further expansion which confirms that people from Smederevo have maintained their tradition, and can still provide high quality," she told Xinhua.

Another exhibitor, Zorica Arsenijevic from the village of Skobalj said that the festival is unique because visitors can get to know the life of Smederevo's villages with their authentic culture and local products.

"Our women's association is involved in presenting tradition and cultural heritage, so we prepared jams, sweets, embroidery, hand-made clothing and many other things for people to see and taste," Arsenijevic said.

Dejan Dimitrijevic, a local who went out into an evening stroll with his family, said that the program of the autumn festival is colorful and varied, while grapes that he tried promise that this will be a good year for wine.

"This year the grapes have more sugar than last year because we had more sun. I think that the wine will be really great this year," he explained.

Back in the downtown Smederevo, at a cultural center, an exhibition showcases the most successful companies.

Among them is Chinese HBIS Serbia, which in 2016 took over Smederevo's steel plant and its 5,000 employees and has since become the country's biggest exporter, nearing plant's maximum production capacity of 2.2 million tons per year.

People who shop at the main square said they are satisfied with the increased steel production, because steel, much like a plentiful fruit and grape harvest, reflects on their living standard.

"I welcome the production at the steelworks... People earn more, their employment is secure and this made the city feel more alive. Consequently, there are more public works and the city looks better with reconstructed streets," said Zorica Sentic.

Dimitrijevic and Arsenijevic agree, saying that the city should draw as much investments as possible to keep youth employed, while higher salaries in steel sector contribute to better living standard.

With a classical concert, the festival was officially opened at the fortress on Friday evening. Until Sunday, the visitors will have the chance to enjoy a cultural and sport program including performances of medieval knights, poetry readings, children theater plays, traditional dancing and exhibitions.

Even if it is one of the oldest agricultural expos in Serbia, the Smederevo Autumn festival continues to serve its function today, promoting city's achievements and traditions and celebrating its successes. Enditem

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter