Vojvodina makes almost a quarter of the Serbian territory or 21,506 square kilometers. Novi Sad is the administrative, economic and cultural seat of the province.
Vojvodina consists of 45 municipalities and 7 districts where seats are Subotica, Zrenjanin, Kikinda, Pancevo, Sombor, Novi Sad and Sremska Mitrovica Vojvodina is intersected by three big navigable rivers: the Danube, Tisa and Sava. They divide its territory into three clearly visible units: Banat in the East, Backa in the North-West and Srem in the South-West. All three regions are characterized by fertile arable land, overall economic and cultural development, high population density and demographic variety.
The relief of Vojvodina is primarily flat except for Srem which is dominated by the Fruska Gora mountain and the South-east of Banat with its Vrsacki breg. The river Danube with its tributaries has nowadays the biggest hydrographic potential. It is also the most important water way and the most significant strategic direction in Europe.
The Danube flows 588 km through Serbia, primarily through Vojvodina and is navigable along the whole length. Its tributaries Tisa (168 km), Sava (206 km) and Begej (75 km) are navigable too. They are connected with a water irrigation system of canals used for irrigation of land and water transportation as well. The whole length of canals is 939 km out of which 673 km are navigable.
Other important traffic routes also pass through Vojvodina. First the highway from Central Europe and Horgos at the Hungarian border that goes through Novi Sad and Belgrade further to Nis, where it takes two directions: one to the East towards the Bulgarian border and another to the South towards Skopje and Thessaloniki. There is also the third highway in Srem which takes the direction to the West towards the Republic of Croatia and further on towards Western Europe. On both sides of the highway there is a network of local roads and railway lines.
The Morava-Vardar valley which begins at the South of Vojvodina, is the most important connection between the North and South of the Balkan peninsula. Near Belgrade, it intersects the Danube East-West direction, thus creating the geo-strategic knot. This makes the geographic-strategic position of this province significant and advantageous for Serbia.
According to the last census from 1991, Vojvodina has 2,013,889 inhabitants, which is slightly more than 20% of the total population of Serbia. With a population of 1,143,723, the Serbs make the absolute majority in the province. Then come the Hungarians - 339,491, Croats - 74,808, Slovaks - 63,545, Montenegrins - 44,838, Rumanians - 38,809, Romanies - 24,366, Ruthenians - 17,652, Macedonians - 17,472 and other smaller ethnic groups like the Ukrainians, Albanians, Slovenians and others (a total of 26 nations and national and ethnic groups) while 174,225 inhabitants declare themselves as Yugoslavs.
The Statute of Vojvodina which is the basic legal act of the province, permits, besides the Serbian language, the official use of four other languages of the largest national minorities: Hungarian, Slovak, Rumanian and Ruthenian. Except for the language, the population differs in religion so that the Serbs, Montenegrins, Rumanians, Romanies, Macedonians and Ukrainians are Orthodox, Hungarians, Croats and Ruthenians Catholic while Slovaks are Protestant. There is also a number of Muslims and other smaller religious communities.
The educational system in Vojvodina is well developed and consists of the following:
- 1.Pre-school institutions;
- 2.Primary schools (539), where lectures are also held in the languages of the minorities;
- 3.Secondary schools (110), where lectures are also held in the languages of the minorities;
- 4.Novi Sad University consisting of 13 faculties where lectures are held in the languages of minorities as well.
Science and culture
The oldest institutions in Vojvodina which traditionally have been the cultural and scientific bastions of the Serbian people, are: Matica Srpska, founded in 1826 and the Serbian National Theatre, founded in 1861, which performs plays in the languages of the minorities too. In Novi Sad, there is a branch of the Serbian Academy of Science and Art and two Scientific Institutes with some 3000 experts in various fields who are active in these institutes and faculties.
The economy in Vojvodina is based on the abundant wealth of fertile arable land which covers 84% of its area. Its natural fertility is improved by an irrigation network so that out of 1.78 million hectares of arable land, around 0.5 million is watered. About 70% of the yield are cereals, 20% industrial herbs and 10% other crops. Part of the produce is exported but most of it is processed by the domestic food industry, stationed mainly in Vojvodina (plants for processing of meat, fruit and vegetables, oil plants, sugar refineries, dairies, etc.).
There is strong basic industry that produces metal processing machines, electric machines and cables, construction material, oil derivatives, chemical products, electric motors, newsprint paper. There is also a high technology industry like production of dentists' equipment, cars, pharmaceutical products, porcelain, etc.
Part of the income of the economy comes from tourism which is particularly developed on rivers and lakes, thermal springs and on Fruska Gora mountain which abounds with numerous orthodox monasteries of the Serbian-Byzantine style, built between the 15th and 17th century.