The impressive building of the Vojvodina Boehm and landowner hides destiny of many royal blood members, their ascents, falls, hate and love. The story begins with patron who never married but had three passions – women, horses and wine.
In the vast Pannonia plain, not far from the pastoral Becej on Tisza, stands the white castle Fantast, like emerged from fairy tales “Once upon a time …” pointing the infinite blue sky. Testimony that a family lived here – family Dunđerski, famous for its charity among other. Fantast, the building of Boehm and the landowner Count Bogdan Dundjerski is one of the old estates that hides the destiny of many royal blood members, their ascents, falls, hate and love. The story begins with the Count who never married but had three passions – women, horses and wine.
Once upon a time there was a gentleman, educated, powerful, noble, real and the most interesting representative of his family. That Bogdan Dundjerski, is a rare who managed to realize its dreams and to build the most beautiful castle of Vojvodina. Fanatst, named he this most beautiful castle in this part of Europe. He liked horses so much that his stable numbered 1,400 throats. Bogdan’s favorite was a three year old stallion Fantast that won a Triple Crown at Belgrade horserace-track in 1932. When the stallion died, the Count buried him in his estate and named the castle after it. The bones (skull and thigh bone) of the most beautiful and best horse of Bogdan Dunđerski are still displayed in one of the castle showcases. Now-days there are about 80 horses in six stables, and a galloper training lane. Here one can also see famous heads “Remedy for love”, Jalna and Best Vetprom. One could also visit the grave of the famous horse Inquisitor, the successor of the most trophy stallion Casanova, that died of sweet death leaping on a mare, as the story tells. For those who like these noble animals, a riding school is organized here.
Bogdan’s architectural inspiration has not disappeared by building the castle. As soon as this luxurious building was completed, he decided to build in immediate vicinity, a place for his eternal rest, the Chapel of St. George; but not only his eternal rest place, but also of our famous painter Uros Predic; the Will of the famous Dundjerski testifies of that:
“On my manor, I built a church decorated with artistic work of my good friend, the academic Serbian painter, Uros Predic. My wish, and according to it, I order to be buried on my manor, in my crypt set into the church wall. As my friend Uroš Predić expressed his desire, also to be buried in that church, I kindly ask Matica Srpska to fulfill my desire and the desire of Uros Predic …”
Bogdan was a devotee of God Bahus drops, and the red wine of exquisite varieties would be like a dry dogwood shrub if there is no love passion. Mara Dinjaski was Bogdan’s greatest love; he never married her, but loved her so much that the Virgin Mary painted by Uros Predic in Bogdan’s chapel has her face. There is a story that Bogdan filled the pool in front of the castle with milk, for beautiful Mara to bath. Her illness and dying was one of the most touching moments in Bogdan’s life. The premature death of the blond beauty, the favorite darling of the family, the daughter of his over-wealthy cousin Lazar, Lenka Dundjerski, who died in Vienna at age of 25, left an indelible mark to Bogdan’s life, but also the life of our poet Laza Kostic, unluckily in love with this girl. Lenka was admired by all, she spoke three languages, loved riding, reading, played piano. She was tall and pretty. And Laza? He didn’t dare to love her. He wrote poetry for her, shared and recommended books. He dreamed, woke up with her name on his lips, and after her death he wrote the great and famous poem: Santa Maria della Salute (“What should I do from the Grace and fiery Passion…”)
Before the Second World War, Bogdan decided to donate his entire property, the Fantast Castle, all land, and the villas in Becej, to the Matica Srpska as Endowment under his name. Unfortunately, after the Second World War, the new authorities accused Matica Srpska of accepting the property of a “Serbian traitor and Hungarian mercenary” and the whole property was taken away. Sheep settled the Fantast, and there was nothing left of the luxurious furniture, jewellery, art paintings (the portrait of Dundjerski family, besides Predic was also made by Paja Jovanovic). The biggest part of the property including the castle was given to company PIK Becej, which went bankrupt several decades after.
Art, love and civic spirit, overwhelmed by myths, legends and poems, have always touched Becej and its vicinity including the great people who lived here and who knew that the development of this area was the foundation and a signpost to future of Serbia. Now-days, the poles are slowly lifting up, reviving memories of the great people, through the theater play “From heaven to the nothingness “, which revives Lenka and Laza, and draws its value from Fantast and the stage of its history, which walls heard and saw all. The play, which begun the journey from Fantast heading towards other castles and aristocratic salons, is part of a wider project called “The Miraculous world of Dundjerski”, which aim is to present the significance of this family, their architectural, economic and commercial heritage to wider public, as well as to highlight those important persons who found reliable friends and benefactors in Dundjerski family, such as Laza Kostic, Zmaj Jova Jovanovic, Uros Predic, Mihajlo Pupin … A new impulse to the Fantast story and family was brought by TV series “Santa Maria della Salute” which reminds us of the great love of the Serbian poet and noble-lady Dundjerski, that will live forever through Laza’s beautiful poem which made the belle Lenka unfading.
Tradition and Future of Fantast and other estate of Bogdan Dundjerski emerge now-days with the new empire of the MK Group, which brings back the old glow to the old mansion, while every visitors step is reminiscent of a wonderful story of a true gentleman, great Bogdan, Becej’s benefactor and the secrets of his magnificent castle. All the more reason you ought to discover this place yourself and maybe even some other secret.
autor: Željko Ivanji