Nikola Tanurdzic

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Nikola Tanurdzic
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Born4 April 1887
Stari Bečej
Novi Sad, Serbia, Yugoslavia
  • Merchant
  • Endowment holder
  • Philanthropist

Nikola Tanurdžić (Serbian Cyrillic: Никола Танурџић; Stari Bečej, 4 April 1887 - Novi Sad, Serbia, Yugoslavia, 1969) was a Serbian merchant, endowment holder and philanthropist.


He was born in a moving car near Stari Bečej, when his parents moved from Stanišić to Srbobran. He grew up in Srbobran, pressed by scarcity, until he studied fashionable manufacturing, apprenticed with the Novi Sad merchant Miloš Prodanović. After that, he went to Budapest, where he worked for four years, first as a coastal worker, and then as a sales assistant. Then, in 1908, he went to Vienna, where he also worked as a coastal worker, until he got a job with Anton Hibl, a well-known Viennese cloth and fur trader, where he served as the main merchant traveler for the Balkans. He learned business skills by working hard in different parts of the vast empire. Thus, until 1914, as a trade assistant, except in Vienna and Budapest, he worked in Subotica and Prague. [1]

When he returned to Srbobran from Vienna, he married Rakila Popić, who came from a solid trading family, and from the money saved, he started his own trade in fabrics and furs. Shortly afterwards, he moved to Novi Sad, where in 1922 he founded the Silesia Fabric Warehouse. The business developed rapidly, so shortly after its founding, apprentices took out a hundred packages a day from both bars of his house with sets, buttons, fabrics and all other necessities necessary for the work of Novi Sad tailors.[2]

Ever since he became wealthy, he was happy to make donations for good and noble purposes, according to the praiseworthy customs of the time.[3]He was a benefactor of the Matica Srpska, and he also helped the Sokol youth, as well as the Novi Sad trade youth. In addition to all these charities, along with his friend Miloš Raletić, Tanurdžić is the most deserving for the construction of the palace of the Novi Sad trade youth, across the Banovina. His endowment was at the disposal of the Serbian company Privrednik. [4]


Nikola Tanurdžić's life's work was undoubtedly crowned with the construction of a spacious palace[5]that occupied Jovan Jovanović Zmaj, Modena and Ilija Ognjanović streets. At the auction, in 1932, for four million dinars, he bought the plot where the modest building of the "Munich" brewery was. After he demolished the brewery, he started planning to build a titanium business-residential building. In July 1931, Tanurdžić announced a competition for the design of a residential building with a cinema, hotel and shops. Nikola Tanurdžić paid the authors of all awarded works, and he entrusted the construction of the palace to his friend George Tabaković, an experienced creator of residential buildings.

The grandiose endeavor to build Tanurdžić's palace began in 1933, and people began to move into it as early as 1934. The ground on which it was built was sandy, so a reinforced concrete slab thicker than 100 cm had to be poured under the building as a foundation. The features of the modern shopping center were expressed in the glazed ground floor, with 14 spacious shops, while 35 residential units were built on the other five floors, which could be reached by corridors on the courtyard facade. The fifth floor with a terrace was intended for janitors, laundries and auxiliary rooms. The building contained three separate heating systems and special installations for hot water supply, as well as two elevators for tenants and hotel guests. Of course, there was an unusually spacious apartment of about 300 m2 in the palace, intended for Tanurdžić.

The first purpose-built cinema in Novi Sad - "Rex" was located in the middle of the palace, 105 metres long. The spacious hall with indirect lighting could accommodate as many as 680 people. Hotel "Rex" was built in 1939,[6]after Tanurdžić's and Tabaković's trip to Germany, where they got acquainted with the technical solutions of modern hotels. On the floors and in the attic there were 45 hotel rooms with bathrooms, telephones, radios and signaling devices. The ground floor hall was lined with marble, while the entrance to the restaurant was made with a particularly sumptuous Swedish marble lining. The hotel was finally built at the beginning of the war in 1941, so Nikola Tanurdžić never returned the invested funds.

Bad sign

As the royal court supplier, Tanurdžić supplied Alexander I of Yugoslavia court with fabrics and fur, while he was on friendly terms with King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. He is one of the most deserving for the king's arrival in Novi Sad, at the opening and consecration ceremony of the building of the Novi Sad Trade Youth. The glass from which King Alexander drank on that occasion was preserved, according to the old folk custom, so that it could be thrown from the newly built Tanurdžić Palace during the opening ceremony. Although thrown from a great height, defying the laws of physics, the glass did not break, which was interpreted in the then Novi Sad as a very bad sign. Unfortunately, those gloomy predictions came true after the tragic assassination of King Alexander.

Post-war years

After the World War II, the times of revolutionary justice came, so in 1946, with a single act, the entire palace was nationalized as an economic entity. Movable property was taken away by trucks. Three Communist party members were moved into his apartment, where Tanurdžić lived with his wife and four children.

Dspite the misfortunes came his way, he was always of an indomitable spirit. He hid spare parts for the elevator, locks and other items from the Palace necessary for the normal functioning of the building, and sold them to the totaliterian authorities at a high price.

He passed away quietly in 1969.


  1. name=autogenerated1>Грађански лист, 16. јун 2008.
  2. name=autogenerated1>Грађански лист, 16. јун 2008.
  4. Никола Гаћеша, Српско привредно друштво Привредник (1814—1997), Матица српска, Нови Сад, 2004
  5. name=autogenerated1

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