I am back. This time I have decided to write about the city that has special place in my heart. It is the city that I live in for the past ten years, and the city that I have difficult time moving on from.
Like myself this is the city that survived a lot . It has been destroyed over and over again, and each time it rose from the ashes stronger and more beautiful.
Belgrade keeps not so glory record of being the most destroyed city in the world, throughout the history. That would be more than 45 times and the biggest damage had in the Second World War when it was bombed by enemies and later by allies by mistake.
Good thing is that this days are long gone. Belgrade now stands as a stunning capital of Serbia, brighter than ever with cultural bloom, delicious food, best night life in Europe and friendly and open people who always try to welcome their guests in best way possible.
Here are the 6. reasons why you should put Belgrade on your travel list as soon as possible.
1.Belgrade is a historical jewel
The oldest settlement in this city is from 279 BC, today known as a Kalemegdan fortress.
The first mention of the city, then called Singidunum, was in the 3rd century, when Celtics defeated Thracian and Dacian tribe and took over this exact fortress. Later on this city fort was conquered by Romans. At that point Belgrade became border between Roman Empire and Central Europe. Interesting fact is that 17 Roman emperors were born in the area of today modern Serbia.
Later on this fort got destroyed several times by the Huns. Legend even says that the Atilla’s grave is under the fortress in the confluence of the rivers, Danube and Sava, but that’s a whole different story 🙂 …
In the 5th century this city becomes border again, now between Western and Eastern Roman Empire. In the 7th century Serbs settled in and that’s the first time of mentioning the name we all know today, “Beograd” which in Serbian and most slavic languages stands for “White city” … To cut to the chase, otherwise this will turn into history lessons.
Fortress changed rulers many times after Serbs settled as well.
Bulgarians, Austro-Hungarian, Ottomans with Serbians restoring it in between, until
1867. when Turks withdraw from Belgrade and Serbia.
Today Kalemegdan fortress has a stunning view from its highest point,on the confluence of two rivers, second biggest river in Europe Danube and Sava, Great War Island and New Belgrade (modern, business and residential area of the city).
Strolling around the fort there is a lot of things to explore such as Roman Well,Military Museum, Two beautiful Orthodox Churches, Zindan Gate, Jaksic’s Tower , Despot Stefan Tower, Stambol Gate, Gate of Charles VI, Statue of Victor, even a zoo and that is not all.
2. Bohemian vibe and great food
To experience proper Belgrade Bohemian vibe you will have to visit some of the local restaurants located in SKADARLIJA.
Coble-stoned, narrow, pedestrian area with great restaurants which offer unique experience you won’t find anywhere else. Very traditional night out with orchestras who are playing tambourines going from table to table and singing traditional songs with locals joining. If you see someone smashing a plate or a glass do not be scared. That probably means he has emotional connections to one of te songs. 😀
It is very bohemian night out, and difference is huge plates and reasonable prices.
Trust me you will not find this sized portions anywhere else. When in this type of night out you have to try Rakija, traditional drink made out of plumb with 60% of alcohol. Usually this drink is home-made wich is much better version than industrial.
You can find different tastes as well such as honey, cherry, peach, apricot etc.
For those who like well-known beverages Kafanas have huge offers of local vines.
When speaking about food Serbian cuisine is characterized by a mixture of Mediterranean, Central European, Ottoman Turkish, as well as ancient Slavic influences.
With Serbia being located at the crossroads between East and West, its cuisine has gathered elements from different cooking styles across the Middle East and Europe to develop its own hearty gastronomy with an intricate balance of rich meats, vegetables, cheese, fresh pastries and desserts. It has much in common with the cuisines of neighboring Balkan countries, as well as, to a smaller extent, with cuisines of countries as far north as Germany and as far east as Iran and Pakistan. Its flavours are mild, fresh and natural. Seasonings are light, while ingredients are fresh and of good quality.
Some of the dishes you should try when in Serbia are Ćevapi, Karađorđeva snicla, Pljeskavica, Sarma, Prebranac, Musaka … etc …
Some of the restaurant from this streets had an opportunity to welcome famous people from all over the world.
Restaurant called “Dva Jelena” had honor to welcome former USA president Jimmy Carter, famous actors Pierce Brosnan and Gérard Depardieu, even the world no.1 cheff Jamie Oliver.
While restaurant “Tri Šešira” had chance of welcoming another USA president, George W. Bush.
I am vegetarian myself and past few years this type of diet started expanding in Serbia as well, so you can find many vegan and vegetarian restaurants such as “Radost Fina Kuhinjica”, while many others offer vegan and vegeterian options.
Art scene is blooming in Belgrade and it always has been an important part of life, of people living in Belgrade.
-National museum which has over 400 000 artifacts including the cyrillic writing “Miroslavljevo Jevandjelje” from 12th century, protected by UNESCO. National museum owns paintings of some of the biggest artists of all time such as Van Gogh, Picasso,Rubens, Renoir, while the most valuable painting of El Greko was unfortunately stolen from the Museum in Second World War.
And if you thought that is all, National Museum even has its own Mummy of Egyptian Prist Nesmin, arrived in Belgrade over 130 years ago.
– Museum of Contemporary Art with 35 000 work of arts. and by its self it is an architectural masterpiece.
– Museum of Yugoslav history that displays period of one country from Second World War until it fell apart. Former President Josip Broz Tito is berried behind this museum in his mausoleum with his wife.
-Beli Dvor is Royal House of Serbian Royal dynasty Karadjorjdevic. Inside of this stunning building you can actually see Picasso’s drawings, paintings by Nicolas Poussin and Paolo Caliari.
Beside this huge institutions, young artists organize small independent art exhibitions to represent their work very often.
One of the events that are organized each year is Mikser House which helps young artist to show their work for free.
National Theatre, Yugoslav Drama Theatre, Belgrade Drama Theatre, Atelje 212 offer huge diversity of dramas, ballets and operas.
Belgrade has really diverse and interesting architecture because of its history.
Neoclassicism,Romanticism, Renaissance, Brutalist architecture and Religious buildings.
Almost every era has its representative. Sometimes even one next to another.
Maybe most interesting fact is that Belgrade has his gates. Eastern and Western gates are proper examples of Brutalist architecture.
Serbians are mostly of Orthodox religion. Religion has always played big part in Serbia, and that’s why religious buildings are very beautiful. If you’re architecture fan or interested in religion you should check some of the churches and cathedrals.
Most beautiful are St Marks Church , St Sava Temple which is one of the biggest Orthodox churches in the world, Church of Aleksandar Nevski which was project of First Serbian female architecture called Jelisaveta Načić, small hidden church in Kalemegdan fortress, Church Ruzica and many more.
Since Belgrade has two rivers, it also has many bridges two connect Old city with the new one. Recent one and for sure breathtaking is Adas Bridge.
5.Nature within the city
There is just few cities out there that can provide you shelter from city noise and modern stressed life …
Well Belgrade is one of them.
Ada Lake or Avala mountain. You choose.
Ada lake is a place where you can go for a swim, bike ride, walk or just a place where you can enjoy beautiful sunset in one of the many bars.
Avala Mountai is a perfect place for a picnic with your family. And not just that but you can actually visit Avala Tower and enjoy the view from the top either from the top or from the cafe one floor down. While there you can visit the Monument of the Unknown Soldier.
6. Party, Party, Party!
So basically Belgrade is all about parting, and not just on the weekends. You can party any day and at any time of the day.
What Belgrade is most famous for are floating boats ( clubs on the river).
Most of them are working from April until October, but there are some working during the whole year. There are also regular bars and clubs all over the city.
There is something for everyone. Pop, House, Rnb, 90s parties and if you want something really local there are turbo-folk parties or bohemian nights.
During the summer Belgrade has Beer Festival and many more.
Compared to other parts of Europe, parting in Belgrade is much more affordable. 🙂
This was short list of reasons why you should come to my city.
I really hope some of you decide to come very soon, and if so please contact me so that I can help you explore Belgrade in best way possible. 🙂
Talk to you soon,