The Palić water tower

Architecture inspired by folklore tradition.

By Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia

The Water Tower- main gate (6/15/1910) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia

The Water Tower was built within the large-scale project of construction and arrangement of Palić spa summer in the early 20th century, after the designs of Budapest-based architects Marcell Komor and Dezső Jakab. 

In addition to the Water Tower, this exceptional urban planning and architectural project included the construction of the Grand Terrace, the Music Pavilion, the Ladies’ Lido and the Memorial Fountain, restoration of the existing facilities, landscaping the park and the lake’s northern shore, public utility equipment of the territory, down to the smallest detail of urban equipment.   

Nowadays, these exceptional buildings of the Hungarian variety of Art Nouveau future as symbols marking the recognizable appearance of Palić. The Palić Art Nouveau complex is completely different from all Art Nouveau in Subotica, and also the entire opus of Komor and Jakab.

The spa function of rest and entertainment in park ambience required specific architecture, so that the authors, following the example of the young generation of Hungarian architects gathered around Károly Kós, found their inspiration in the essential values of vernacular architecture, not only in decoration, but also in function, construction and formation.  

Virtuosos in space shaping, Komor and Jakab conceived an exceptional spatial whole through a synthesis of buildings and landscape. The complex of buildings in Palić was solved very creatively in architectural terms; each building is different, according to its purpose, but in terms of the use of materials, construction, decoration and colour, they are unique. The moved forms are indented along horizontal and vertical axes, and shaped in harmony with the environment.

Detail of decorative woodwork. The Water Tower (6/15/1910) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia

The Water Tower is located on the perimeter of the spa park, next to the road and the tram tracks, constructed between Subotica and Palić.    

It was envisaged as a multi-purpose facility, consisting of three cubes – the water tower, the tram station and the spa gate.    

It was set at the beginning of the central alley, the backbone of the complex consisting of the Water Tower, the Grand Terrace, the Music Pavilion and the Memorial Fountain.  The voluminous arched passage led visitors into the park, with a view of the lake in the distance.    

The Water Tower. Detail of decorative woodwork. (6/15/1910) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia

The tall, massive, conical body of the Water Tower emerging from a square base, with an observation deck topped with a conically solved cap, and a smaller, open pavilion of the tram stop on wooden pillars, connected with a broad covered arch reminding of Transylvanian gates.

The combination of these cubes, where nature and masterfully crafted construction permeate mutually, endows this building with a special beauty. Engraved floral wreaths and tentacles are wrapped around the pillars, whereas the wooden panelling is perforated by motifs of tulips and hears. 

This harmonious form is complemented with the frisky roof covered with shingles, and the wrought-iron sun-like decoration on the tops of the towers. 

Detail of woodwork construction. The Water Tower (6/15/1910) by Željko VukelićMinistry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia

The colour scheme is typical of all the building of the complex, with “Palić dark red” embellished with green, blue and yellow floral motives. 

Mutual permeation of functions, closed, roofed and open spaces, vistas, applied materials and colour scheme produces airy buildings and a unique experience of the entire space.  

Credits: Story

The Intermunicipial Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments Subotica.
The narration was provided by Gordana Prčić Vujnović.
Photo credit: Željko Vukelić  


Republic Institute for the protection of cultural heritage of Serbia.   

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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