State Residence Villa Stanković, which hosts the main programme of Shakespeare Festival, is located on Fruška Gora in the village of Čortanovci (the Municipality of Indjija).
In 1930, it was built by Dr. Radenko Stanković (1880, Leskovica, Banat - Belgrade, 1956), the founder and professor of the Medical Faculty in Serbia, the Minister of Education during the reign of King Aleksandar I Karađorđević and then, after the killing of King Alexander in 1934, the Royal Regent of Peter II Karađorđević.
Built in a beautiful setting with a magnificent view of the Danube, Banat and Bačka, Villa Stankovic is today one of the most beautiful summer residences in Serbia.
It was built according to the project of the famous Serbian architect Dragiša Brašovan, and according to the wishes of Dr. Radenko Stanković, in the style of Serbian medieval castles and modelled on castles in Lombardy. Villa Stanković was built at a place that had been called “The Golden Hill” since the Roman times. During the building of the foundations, the remains of a house that had been built in the ancient era were found, which testifies that this place had served as a holiday place for the members of higher classes during the Roman period. One fragment of the ancient relief, according to Dr. Stankovic's wish, was built in the wall of his villa. This fragment depicts a female figure with a child holding a stick with a vine and a grape cluster in her right hand. It is assumed that this relief in white stone originates from the 3rd century, when a defense castle for the defense of the Danube was built at the foot of the Golden Hill.
The villa was surrounded by a beautiful garden and a spacious estate, where Dr. Stanković cultivated vineyards and various kinds of fruits. From a carefully cultivated grape, he made wine served at the court of Karađorđević.
After the capitulation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941 and the occupation, the new German government arrested Dr. Stankovic and took him to Austria, trying to persuade him to form the Serbian government, which he refused. He stayed in Austria for a year. Upon his return to Belgrade, he was retired and he remained in that capacity until the end of the war.
After the Second World War, the District Court in Belgrade in 1949 condemned Dr. Radenko Stankovic to 12 years in prison, loss of honor, civil rights and freedom, with all of his property confiscated. In 1952, the highest officials of the new state of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, Aleksandar Rankovic, Slobodan Penezic Krcun, started residing in Villa Stankovic.
Dr. Radenko Stankovic spent his prison sentence in Sremska Mitrovica. He was released in 1956, gravely ill. He died in December of the same year. He was rehabilitated on December 18, 2006 by a decision of the District Court in Belgrade.
Today Vila Stanković is under the jurisdiction of the Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.