When the Orthodox Bishop’s Palace was first built in the mid-18th century, Serbia was under the rule of the Habsburgs, a centuries-old imperial monarchy that would later form the country of Austria. Originally built in 1741, the Palace was constructed seven years before its home city of Novi Sad was proclaimed a “free royal city” by the monarchy.
When the Habsburgs arrived in the region in the 17th century, they brought with them strict adherence to the Roman Catholic doctrine, and prohibited the people of Orthodox faith from residing in the city of Petrovaradin. In response, many Orthodox Serbs founded a new settlement on the other side of the Danube River, later known as Novi Sad. Nearly half a century later, the settlement city was recognized as a city.
The Palace, located near the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral Church, was first built by Bishop Visarion Pavlovic and later destroyed by bombing during the 1849 revolution. Fifty years later, new construction on the Palace began. Led by architect Vladimir Nikolic, the new Palace employs a mixture of Romanticism and Secession design and is distinguished by its decorative facade.
In 1919, Serbia’s prince regent Aleksander Karadjordjevic, known as Alexander the Unifier, visited Novi Sad and addressed the people from the balcony of the Bishop’s Palace. Alexander was later assassinated on a state visit to France in 1934. His assassin, who had shot from the crowd, was quickly apprehended by a mounted French police officer and struck down with a saber.