BELGRADE, Serbia – A giant new fountain in Belgrade, complete with light show and loud music, is drawing mixed reviews and online ridicule.
The huge 1.8-million-euro ($2 million) installation on the Serbian capital's busiest roundabout features 350 water jets, a colorful light show and sometimes loud music.
Many think the money could have been better spent on something more urgent, like patching up the numerous potholes on Belgrade's streets, renovating drab-looking facades all around the city or providing air conditioning to poorly equipped hospitals.
Dubbed "the biggest fountain in southeast Europe" by city authorities, it formally opened earlier this week to the tunes of Italian opera and hits by Michael Jackson, attracting thousands of curious onlookers.
Goran Babovic wasn't impressed, saying it reminded him of fountains he had seen in China.
"I would prefer if this was more original," he said. "It looks a bit cheap."
Dragan Kovacic, another onlooker, considered it "too glamorous" for its rundown neighborhood, and called the fountain "a bit kitsch."
But the fountain did have some fans.
"When I came here and saw this I was speechless. Fantastic colors," said Jelena Nikolic.
"I think that the music should be a few decibels down, but all in all it is pretty," said Desimir Stojkovic.
Social media was awash with jokes about the fountain and some anti-government groups announced protests at the site.
Another group announced a rave party at the square on July 1.
The satirical njuz.net site said that the drivers who crash at the busy roundabout after being distracted by the lights and loud music will have the right to request the next song to be played.
City Manager Goran Vesic defended the project, saying it will become a major tourist attraction.
He said that the fountain has heating that will enable it to work in the winter when temperatures drop to minus 20 degrees Celsius (-4 F.)
"This is the only such fountain in this part of Europe," he said.