When fans first react to the draw for the Europa League group stages, they often look to see where some lesser-known teams are based. It usually will involve a Google search, a visit to Google Maps, or even a search on Wikipedia. One thing is kind of for sure, though – West Ham fans never expected to go to a town in Northern Serbia.
Bačka Topola is not somewhere you’d ever think to spend a few days, but West Ham supporters will see this place when their team faces TSC this week. This guide will tell them about what to do during the trip and how to get around this seldom-visited part of Europe.
QUICK FACTS – SERBIA
Name in Official Language Република Србија (Republika Srbija)
Dialling Code +381
Currency Serbian Dinar/дин (дин 1 = £0.0074)
WHERE IS BAČKA TOPOLA?
Bačka Topola (Serbian: Бачка Топола/Hungarian: Topolya) is located in the North Bačka District in the autonomous province of Vojvodina. The provinces borders Hungary, and it is common to hear both Serbian and Hungarian being spoken.
The town’s first major settlement was established in 1750, with many Slovaks and Hungarians emigrating to the area. It formerly became a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918; this kingdom was renamed Yugoslavia in 1929. After Yugoslavia disbanded in 1991, the town became under Serbian control.
WHAT CAN I DO THERE?
It is worth noting that Bačka Topola is not really a big tourist hotspot. However, if you do wish to do some sightseeing, the city of Subotica is a 30-minute drive away.
Livkoni Subotica (Ливкони Суботица)
Constructed in 1904, the gallery was formerly known as the Raichle Palace. Translyvanian architecture influenced the building’s design, and it was built with ceramic tiles from the era. It is now home to many local paintings and taxidermy.
Palić Zoo (Зоолошки врт Палић/Zooloshki Vrt Palić)
Palić Zoo is located in a suburb of Subotica. The zoo was opened to the public in 1949 in an effort to increase tourism in the aftermath of the Second World War. The zoo hosts 150 species of animals, as well as 270 species of trees. Approximately 160,000 tourists visit the zoo every year.
Blue Fountain (Плава фонтана/Plava Fontana)
The Blue Fountain is next to Subotica’s town hall. Its bright blue colours reflect in the Summer sun, and there are benches around the fountain for people to sit and relax.
WHAT IS THE STADIUM LIKE?
TSC Arena (Serbian: ТСЦ Арена/Hungarian: TSC Aréna)
TSC Arena was opened in 2021. It has a capacity of 4.500.
HOW TO GET THERE
The stadium is a nine-minute taxi ride from the town’s main train station. If you wish to walk, it will take 31 minutes to get there.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW BEFORE I GO?
Write It All Down
The vast majority of Serbian taxi drivers do not speak English or have very little grasp of the language. It is advised that you write the name of your hotel or accommodation in Serbian Cyrillic and that you give this to the driver. Ask your hotel receptionist or host to help you with this.
Stamp Of Approval
If you are travelling via Budapest or entering Serbia directly via air travel, you must get your passport stamped upon arrival. Failure to do so could cause legal issues if you try to leave the country, and you can be detained until the issue is solved.
You will need to register with the Serbian police within 24 hours of arriving in Serbia. Your hotel or accommodation host can help you with this, or you can go to a local police station. Take your passport and travel itinerary with you.
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