There is no story of Syrmia without a story of grammar school in Sremski Karlovci. At that time the emperors from the Austrian court were very much against founding folk schools. The then archbishops continuously sent requests to Austrian court, but without success, all until Leopold II came to the throne
The third son of Maria Theresia and the emperor Franz Stephen of Lorraine, the great duke of Tuscany, Roman-German king, Hungarian-Croatian emperor and the Czech king from the Habsburg-Lothringen dynasty changed the policy of previous emperors and decided to allow the archbishop Stefan Stratimirović the founding of grammar school in Sremski Karlovci. Thanks to the engagement of the archbishop and a reputable merchant Dimitrije Anastasijević Sabov, which gave a contribution of 20 thousand forints, the first grammar school in Serbia opened its door on November 1, 1791.
Pupils as tour guides
In first year, there were six grades – four of junior and two of senior grades – and major language, as in all other schools at that time, was Latin. But, the pupils also learned other subjects: history, geography, physics, logic, Greek, anthropology… Since 1852 the tuition in Karlovci started in Serbian language, and up until 1907 it was exclusively male school. A lot has changed in the last 220 years, and today there are more female pupils then males. Not only that, they take you around one of the most famous school institutions in the south-eastern Europe in whichever language you choose, just like the real professional tour guides.
Saved by books in German
The most impressive part of the school is most certainly the oldest school library with almost 18 thousand titles. Among valuable books one should point out the phototype edition of “Gospel of Miroslav”, the first and complete facsimile of the oldest Serbian book in Cyrillic written in 12th century, then “Službenik” of Vićenco Vuković from 1554, as well as the first editions of numerous poets, among which the one of Branko Radićević, who was also a pupil of this school. The library has been preserved until today, despite attempts of destruction. The closest to destruction were German soldiers after the World War II, when during the occupation of Sremski Karlovci they brought out all the books from the library with the intention to burn them. But, one of the soldiers randomly chose a book and was surprised to see that they were all in German, so they gave up on that crazy plan.
Hit on social media
Today, the grammar school in Karlovci is of a special national significance, talented pupils attend it and they have the opportunity to learn just as much as nine world languages – since recently even Japanese and Norwegian. The image is everything, in this institution they are aware of it. Maybe because of that they were unhappy that someone (allegedly someone knows who!) allowed the singer Jelena Karleuša to record a video for her song “Silent killer” in a ceremony hall of the oldest Serbian educational institution. Social media went crazy, both teachers and parents were heated, the headmaster explained in public that he did not approve that and that Jelena Karleuša entered the school in secret. Nevertheless, after that video, a lot of people who are not so keen on history heard of the grammar school in Sremski Karlovci.