In the town of Beočin, on the slopes of Fruška Gora mountain, rests a peculiar building, in ruins and long forgotten. Known as Spitzer Castle, the mansion was built in the late 19th century by Eduard Ede Spitzer, co-owner of the Beočin cement factory. The building is one of the rare examples of the eclectic architecture in Serbia’s northern province of Vojvodina.
Spitzer hired the famous architect Imre Steindl, best known for his work on the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, to design and engineer the mansion. The architectural styles of Spitzer Castle include elements of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Romanesque art. The interior is an example of a classical Hungarian Art Nouveau, including the interesting Zsolnay ceramics fireplace in the mansion’s main hall. At the time it was built, the castle was surrounded by a large park.
In 1889, the Spitzer family moved into the castle, and lived there until World War II. They left Beočin around 1941 and moved to Germany.
After the war, the castle was nationalized and ownership was given to the state. At various points in time it hosted a school, library, the first Beočin radio station, and a restaurant. All the while, the building was slowly deteriorating. It was used as film set for numerous movies, including the 1970 American war film Kelly’s Heroes, which starred Clint Eastwood. Today, the castle is deserted, surrounded by wires, without doors or windows and a crumbling rooftop. The castle was nicknamed the “ghost house” by locals.
Despite the state of the mansion today, many of its elements have been preserved, especially the façades, interior decorations, the bathroom on the floor, as well as the colorful stained glass on the windows. The castle also has one spacious terrace, with a view on the overgrown bushes and numerous decorations in shape of human figures and dragons in the park.
Know Before You Go
You can reach Beočin via city bus from Novi Sad (line 78, starting from the Novi Sad bus station). From the main street, take the Dunavska Street that continues into Fruškogorska Street. After about 30 minutes, you will reach the Spitzer Castle.