Tuesday, February 20, 2018, at 6:00 PM

matica srpska

Matica Srpska is the oldest cultural and scientific institution of the Serbian people that has been active for almost two centuries. It was founded in Pest (Budapest) in 1826. Main activities of Matica since its foundation have been directed towards the education of the Serbian people as well as presenting the Serbian culture to the rest of Europe. For that purpose, intense publishing activity has been developed. The milestone of that activity was the famous Letopis (Chronicle), first published in 1824, which is considered to be the oldest active literary journal in the world. Later on, numerous other editions were published, and among them was one with a prominently educational role, appropriately named Books for the People. During the 1840s, necessary conditions required for scientific work were created in Matica Srpska as well. It was then that a library with miscellaneous literary and manuscript collections from various scientific fields was formed. Since then, this library has represented a remarkable testimony on the history of the Serbian people. At the same time, the collection of portraits, The Serbian Pantheon, was created. It contained portraits of writers, most notable people’s representatives, distinguished scientists, but also portraits of less known benefactors who supported the educational mission of Matica with their contributions. The Matica Srpska was one of the richest foundations in the Hungarian Empire thanks to the wide support of people. Matica funded many capital projects that were very significant for the standardization of the Serbian language and the development of various scientific disciplines. At the same time, Matica financially supported the education of talented pupils and students who were to become the future intellectual elite. In 1864, Matica Srpska relocated its headquarters from the Tekelijanum palace in Pest (Budapest) to the Platoneum palace in Novi Sad. It was then that the city of Novi Sad became known as the ʽAthens of Serbia’. The city was given this nickname because Matica Srpska was considered the meeting point of the wisest and most educated people. That connection became even more emphasized later on. Matica Srpska became a symbol of civil society, culture, education, Enlightenment, and charity.

Today, the Matica Srpska has around 2,000 associates. They are included in several dozen projects within seven scientific departments; they prepare contributions for nine periodicals published by Matica and work on the preparation of publications that are of fundamental importance for the Serbian culture and science, such as the Serbian Encyclopedia, the Serbian Biographic Dictionary, the Dictionary of Serbian Language, Orthography, etc. The Matica Srpska Library has over 3,500,000 books, and the Matica Srpska Gallery houses a rich collection of Serbian paintings from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The Publishing Center continues the tradition of the former Matica Srpska Publishing Company, whose editions have been recognizable for decades throughout Southeastern Europe by the emblem MS, which signified high-quality and carefully selected literature from various fields. The Matica Srpska annually awards worthy accomplishments in various fields of culture and science.

The President of Matica Srpska is Prof. Dr. Dragan Stanić.



The headquarters of the Matica Srpska are located in the representative building designed by the renowned Serbian architect Momčilo Tapavica. It was erected using the endowment fund of the benefactor Marija Trandafil (1816-1883). In 1903, the Matica Srpska bought a lot, at what was then known as Žitni Trg, from the city administration. The construction started on July 3, 1910 and it was completed in 1912. In the following decades, the interior of the building was changed in order to meet functional needs of scientific departments, offices and institutions of the Matica Srpska. After the World War II, an extensive reconstruction works were done in the building to host the Library of Matica Srpska, which was additionally expanded in the last decades according to a successful design solution by architect Milan Marić. Reconstruction of the roof, floors and exterior of the building was done in 2009. Apart from the Matica Srpska, the Library of the Matica Srpska and the Publishing Centre of Matica Srpska are also located in the Endownment Building of Marija Trandafil in the Matice Srpske Street no. 1. Together with its scientific departments, associates, readers and researchers, the Matica Srpska and its institutions kept the status of “spiritual lifter of Serbian people”. This is greatly due to the benefaction of Marija Trandafil.