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News 06 Jun 17

Serbs Mock New Musical Fountain in Belgrade

As Belgrade officials proudly showed off a new 1.8-million-euro musical fountain in the Serbian capital, locals responded by sharing jokes about the grandiose installation on social media.

Maja Zivanovic

A test-run of the new fountain on May 5. Photo: BeoInfo.

The installation of the new musical fountain at the Slavija roundabout, one of the busiest traffic intersections in Belgrade, has attracted mockery on social networks and sparked the announcement of protests and even rave parties.

Tested out on Monday by the Belgrade authorities, the city’s latest attraction is described on the city’s website as “the biggest fountain in south-east Europe”, spanning 32 metres in diameter and boasting 350 water jets. 

“Big towns and cities that live from tourism have their attractions, and this will be one of the attractions of Belgrade. This is something for which people will come to our city, as we are a city that lives from tourists who need to have such interesting things,” said city manager Goran Vesic at Monday’s rehearsal.

The fountain has already become an attraction on social media, where people criticised its cost and shared jokes comparing it to a UFO.

“I think the fountain was made to communicate with aliens,” one Twitter user wrote.

According to Vesic, the cost of the fountain was 1.8 million euros and a commission made up of “music experts” is deciding on the songs it will play. They will include songs about Belgrade and the works of Luciano Pavarotti, Alo newspaper reported on Monday.

“Fountain [to be] the [Serbian] representative at Eurovision,” another Twitter user quipped. 

As well as cracking jokes, Facebook users have also scheduled a rave party at the Slavija fountain on July 1, and a protest has been announced at the site by the anti-government Against the Dictatorship group on Jun 10. 

During the rehearsal of the fountain, while Belgrade officials watched the event from a cocktail party on the roof of a hotel near Slavija, supporters of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party gathered for a ceremony to welcome the project.

Onlookers watch the fountain being tested on May 5. Photo: BeoInfo.

Supporters of the new fountain meanwhile defended it from online critics with claims that it will improve the city’s climate by spurting water into the air. 

Some Twitter users expressed annoyance at the price of the new attraction, saying that Serbia is a country in which ordinary people have to appeal to the public for money to fund their children’s medical treatment.

Others mocked the grand claims made for the new installation.

“Belgraders felt a sharp improvement since the fountain was opened. [They are] announcing fountains in all Serbia’s cities,” one of them wrote, while another quipped that city buses, which are mostly not air-conditioned, will in future make stops in front of the fountain so people can freshen up.

A widely shared GIF of the fountain with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's face.

City officials have not been discouraged by the online humour, however, and have spoken enthusiastically about other new projects such as the construction of cable cars which will connect different parts of the city.

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