All Roads Lead to the White City
Serbia’s capital city is a modern metropolis with a population of over two million. Belgrade’s position at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers have made it a strategic stopover at the crossroads of eastern and western civilizations since ancient times. Today, Belgrade is home to Serbia’s most important state, cultural and educational institutions. The city boasts a robust industry and good infrastructure. Moreover, Belgrade has become an increasingly popular tourist destination.
Kalemegdan Fortress and Surroundings
Any visit to Belgrade should start with Kalemegdan Fortress, the city’s most historic sight. The fortress, which rests on the white rocks at the confluence (Usće) of the Danube and Sava rivers, has been conquered 77 times, destroyed and rebuilt in its 7,000-year history. Today, Kalemegdan’s grounds feature a military museum, an observatory, the Cvijeta Zuzoric Art Pavilion, a zoo, a promenade, an excursion site and a sports and amusement park.
Just beyond Kalemegdan is Belgrade’s historic center, where you can visit the 1831 residence of Princess Ljubica (Konak kneginje Ljubice), the Gathering Church (Saborna crkva) and the Patriarchy (Patrijaršija). The Manak’s House (Manakova kuća), the only freestanding borough home (varoš) remaining in the city, features an impressive ethnological collection.
A few streets away you will find the Bajrakli Mosque (Bajrakli džamija), the oldest place of worship in the city (1660-1668). The neighborhood boasts some of best-preserved old-fashioned taverns in the city, including “?” which dates back to 1823. The tavern’s name has changed as often as its owners. Over the years, “?” has been called Toma’s Tavern, At the Sheppard and At the Gathering Church. When its most recent owner failed to come up with a new name, he temporarily erected a “?” plate on the building’s façade. Eventually, its clientele accepted the name and it remains so to this day.
Knez Mihajlova: Pedestrian Paradise
Knez Mihailova, Belgrade’s best-known street and pedestrian zone is located just a few steps from Kalemegdan. One of the most vibrant parts of the city, Knez Mihailova features shops, residences, and national institutions like the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and its Gallery (SANU Galerija) and the Palata Albanija, Belgrade’s first skyscraper. There you will also find the Belgrade City Library, which is housed in the 1869 Serbian Crown Hotel (Srpska Kruna), the first European style hotel in Belgrade. The 1906 Moscow Hotel (Hotel Moskva) and the 1869 Terazije Fountain are nearby.
Belgrade has erected numerous monuments to honor the heroes of its long and rich history. Located at Circle Number Two (Krug dvojke), the monuments include Nikola Tesla, Josif Pancic, Svetozar Markovic, Dositej Obradovic and Vuk Karadzic. The most famous, in honor of Prince Mihailo is located at Republic Square. The monument also marks the beginning of Prince Mihailo Street.
Republic Square is a favorite central meeting point for locals, and is just down the street from the National Museum (1903) and the National Theater (1869). You will find numerous restaurants and café gardens are nearby.
Skadarlija: Bohemian Wonderland
Skadarlia, Belgrade’s bohemian quarter lies close to the city center. The neighborhood flourished in the 19th century when its taverns became popular jaunts for the city’s artists and bohemians. Skadarlia bears a striking resemblance to Paris’s Montmartre neighborhood.
The jovial atmosphere of Skadarlia’s taverns, including Three Hats (Tri šešira), Days to come (Ima dana), Two deer (Dva jelena), Skadarlija, Golden carafe (Zlatni bokal) and Two White Pigeons (Dva bela goluba), conjure up spirits of Serbia’s past. Enjoy Serbia’s national dishes to the sound of traditional folk music in any of these historic locales.
The Heart of Belgrade: the Center, King Alexander Boulevard, The White Court and St. Sava Temple
Belgrade has two royal compounds; the Royal and the White Court are located in the Dedinje neighborhood, while Pioneer Park (Park Pionira) lies in the city center.
Built for Milan Obrenovic in 1882, Pioneer Park includes the Old Court, which is now Belgrade’s City Hall. Constructed between 1912 and 1920, the New Court is currently the residence of the Serbian presidency. The nearby National Assembly-Parliament (1907) compliments the royal architecture.
St. Mark’s Church (Crkva Sv. Marka) marks the entrance to Belgrade longest street – the famous King Alexander Boulevard (Bulevar kralja Aleksandra). Built in 1935, it overlooks the Tasmajdan (Tašmajdan) Park entrance. The church’s crypt contains the tombs of Tsar Stefan Dusan, King Aleksandar and Queen Draga.
There is a small Russian Orthodox Church just behind the church.
Nearby, the 23-floor, 100 meter Beogradjanka building is easily recognizable while standing on any city corner in Belgrade.
The St. Sava Temple, the largest Christian orthodox temple in the Balkans, lies on the Vracar (Vračar) Plateau. The temple includes the smaller St. Sava Church on its premises. A monument to Karadjordje is located in front of the edifice. The Serbian National Library lies on the right hand side.
Belgrade has a plethora of museums, all of which are opened up to the public every autumn and spring during Night of the Museums.
New Belgrade and Zemun
Cross over the Sava into New Belgrade (Novi Beograd) and you will find yourself in the city’s new business district. New Belgrade features the impressive Belgrade Arena and the Sava conference center, home to a multitude of events year round.
Formerly known as Taurunum, present day Zemun is located on the shores of the Danube. It is named after the dugouts (zemunice) which housed Zemun’s first settlers. Zemun’s most appealing sights include the Gardos (Gardoš), the Sundial House, the Karamata family house, the Icko House, the Spirta House museum, the house of Dimitrije Davidovic, the Nikolajevska church, the 18th century Church of the Holy Trinity, and on the river bank – the Old Port Authority Building. A splendid promenade dotted with seafood restaurants is nearby.
Festivals, Recreation and Nightlife
Belgrade has a wide spectrum of accommodation facilities, ranging from the most luxurious hotels to high quality hostels, all of which meet the needs of the city’s visitors. Belgrade also hosts some of the most intriguing events and festivals, including BELEF, BEMUS, FEST, and the Short Film Festival.
In the past few years, Belgrade has gained prominence for hosting the Boat Carnival in August, the Belgrade Marathon, Bicycle Race, Rollerblade Race (Rolerijada) and Beerfest.
Belgrade has some of the best nightlife in Europe, particularly on the floating restaurants and nightclubs along the Sava, Danube and Ada Cinganlija. A semi peninsula on the Sava River and four kilometers from the city center, Ada is one of Belgrade’s most popular spots. Ada boasts over 50 sports facilities, including a golf course and waterskiing rope tow.
The Belgrade Boat Company manages three large boats. The Yachting Club has two 70 and 100 seat capacity catamarans. There are also two luxurious boats – the Sirona and Danuvije.
You can experience Belgrade by drifting over the cityscape in a hot air balloon. You can also practice any number of sports in the city’s approximately thousand sport facilities.
Museum quality vintage trains will transport you to a number of destinations originating in Belgrade. Experience a steam engine ride to Sremski Karlovci, Novi Sad, Palic, Vrsac, Pozarevac, Smederevo or Vrnjacka Banja on the Romance (Romantika) train. Josip Tito’s Blue Train (Plavi voz) will take you Uzice (Užice), Subotica or Vrnjacka Banja (Vrnjačka banja).
Belgarde has an impressive 15 hunting grounds and approximately 65 public parks, including Kalemegdan, Tasmajdan, Studentski, Karadjodjev, Friendship Park (Park prijateljstva), Hajd park, Topcider and Kosutnjak.
Kosutnjak (Košutnjak) Park, known as the City’s Lungs, features two unique grounds: the Sports and Recreational Center Pioneer City (Pionirski grad) and Film City (Filmski grad), with various facilities for shooting movies.
When building his residence in 1831, Prince Milos also planted a garden. Today it is known as Topcider (Topčider) Park and it overlooks Kosutnjak. The trees originally planted to surround the residence are still thriving.
Just outside the city, Kovilovo is an exclusive rest and recreation facility, which features football, basketball, handball and tennis courts. The facility also boasts two superior shooting ranges.
When in Belgrade, we recommend:
– A tour of Kalemegdan Fortress
– Lunch near the Milos Residence (Milošev konak) in Topcider Park
– Swimming and sunbathing at Ada Lake
Beyond Belgrade: Exploring Vinča, Mladenovac and Mount Avala
The Belgrade Tourism Organization recommends a visit to Vinca (Vinča). Located near Smederevo, one of the epicenters of the world civilization, Vinca dates back to the Neolithic Age. Its ruins reveal a large settlement on the site that lasted thousands of years. Artifacts from the site are housed in the National Museum, the Belgrade City Museum and the Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy.
Approximately 13km from the Belgrade-Nis highway the municipality of Mladenovac is home to the Selters Spa. This modern oasis of peace and tranquility offers an anti-stress weekend program that is quite popular with Belgraders.
The protected area surrounding Mount Kosmaj overlooking Mladenovac comprises of springs, thick forests, meadows and splendid medieval monasteries, including Pavlovac, Tresije and Kastaljan.
Mladenovac’s Markovac Lake features a sports and recreational center on more than 20 hectares of land.
Mount Avala is Serbia’s first public park. In the first half of the 19th century, Prince Milos (Knez Miloš) arranged to have every type of Serbian tree planted on the site. Avala also features Ivan Mestrovic’s masterpiece, a monument to the Unknown Hero dedicated to World War I heroes. There, you will also find Belgrade’s emblem, Avala Tower. Though destroyed during the NATO bombing, the tower is currently being rebuilt.
THE ROMAN WELL
Located at Kalemegdan fortress behind the King’s Gate, the Roman Well dates back to1721, when the Austrians reconstructed it to its present day appearance.
Dug through the rock of the fortress, it is 62 meters deep and 10 meters below the water level of the Sava and Danube. The brick layered ground level is accessible via a spiral staircase.
INFORMATIONBelgrade Tourist Organization 5/IX Masarikova Street, 11000 Beograd Tel: +381 11 3061 410, 400, 401 e-mail: email@example.com www.belgradetourism.org.rs www.tob.co.rs
Mladenovac Municipality Tourist Organization 175 Kralja Petra I Street, 11400 Mladenovac Tel: +381 11 82 44 000, 82 44 001 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org