“… When I came in Belgrade, I found the most beutiful place since the ancient times, the great city, which was ruined and deserted and I raised it up and dedicated to St. Mary.” Serbian Despot Stefan Lazarević
(during the declaration Belgrade as a Serbian capital in 1403)
Belgrade, that we know today, is dynamic city, and it is just impression that we gained while we are in a hurry through downtown from Terazije to Zeleni venac…
chaotic, while we are driving in roundabout Slavija, and modern as well while we are standing on the escalators in shopping centers „Ušće“ or „Delta City” …
We have just briefly described daily atmosphere in Belgrade but if you take only one hour or if you are tourists, who come here to met this beautiful city, you will get to know some other side: an unreal world with many cultural and historical heritage, the place, where happen so many historical events that changed Europe and world.
In Belgrade you will find beautiful facades of unusual buildings, the smiling faces of the local citizens, who are known for their kindness and courtesy. Welcome to the White City!
Belgrade is one of the oldest European cities. The first inhabitants in the area of Belgrade emerged in prehistoric Vinča in 4800 BC. Belgrade was declared capital of Serbia in 1405.
With an open heart and a cosmopolitan spirit, Belgrade citizens are making you feel welcome in every step today.
Every tourist tour in Belgrade starts with a visiting magnificent fortress Kalemegdan. Right here, at the foot of the Kalemegdan was established Belgrade, which was not its name from the beginning. Presence of Roman, Germanic, Hungary, Greek and Slavic through the history was seen mostly in the different names, which were given to him: Singidon,Singidunum, Alba, Alba Gracea, Wiessenburg, Castelbianco, Fehervar, Veligradon, Belgrados Poleos ….
Kalemegdan is cultural and historical complex, where is dominated a large park and fortress located on a high ridge above the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. On the highest fortress plateau is a statue “Pobednik” (Statue of the victor), representing a city symbol, which is the masterpiece of the great Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.
There are many beautiful and significant monuments in Kalemegdan but the most interesting are: a monument of gratitude to France as a sign of friendship of France and Serbia, representing a sculpture of moving Marianne in a movement holding a sword, which symbolizes France running to help Serbia. This monument is made by Ivan Meštrović too. Nearby there is a fountain “Borba” (more about read here).
In the Kalemegdan fortress, there is a Belgrade Zoo, which is certainly unique in the whole world by the environment where it is located. Belgrade Zoo is known as a home for some rare animals such as white lions etc.
In the Kalemegdan fortress there is a beautiful castle that is turn into a military museum. However, the beautiful impression you will get walking on the promenade over the Sava River coast from the French Embassy to the statue “Pobednik” with a panoramic view of New Belgrade and Zemun.
Along the stone walls of the Kalemegdan fortress are the old city quarters and the ambient parts but certainly the most beautiful and most romantic is the old cobbled street “Kosančićev venac”. Near Kosančićev venac is the Cathedral (church of the Holy Archangel Michael), Patriarchal Palace, Palace of Princess Ljubica, famous restaurants with a strange name “?” as well as the magnificent building of the Embassy of Austria.
From the main entrance of Kalemegdan park there is view right on the famous Knez Mihailova street. This street is the central city pedestrian zone to whom dominated many bookstores, boutiques of all the world’s leading brands as well as cultural and scientific institutions such as the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade City Library, Belgrade University of Philosophy, Nikola Spasić Foundation which was once larger than the Nobel.
At the end of Knez Mihailova street is the famous Republic Square where were dominated the building of the National Theater and the National Museum which preserves the cultural and artistic treasure of inestimable value and significance for the Serbian and world cultural heritage such as the original of the first Serbian book with Cyrillic letters, the Miroslavljevo Jevandjelje (Miroslav Gospel).
We honesty recommend you to go to a tourist information center known as a souvenir shop “Beoizlog” at the corner of the Republic Square and Knez Mihailova Street, where you can get the maps and brochures that will certainly help you in sightseeing of this beautiful city.
While you are walking further along the Knez Mihailova Street you will come to the Terazije Square, where is located magnificent old building Hotel “Moscow” and the famous fountain Terazijska česma. The plateau Terazije known as the Terrace Terazije too, is characterized by its position in the center of the old city part from where is an unforgettable view at the New Belgrade over the river Sava.
Walking further along Kralja Milana Street from Terazije Square to the Slavija Square you will enjoy in your view at the palace complex consists of two old royal palaces owned by Obrenović dynasty. In the Old Palace is situated city hall and in so-called New Palace is working residence of a president of the state, famous address „Andrićev venac br.1“.
Kralja Milana Street is just one of the six major streets that take you as well as a boulevard in Slavija Square that represents modern roundabout. From Slavija Square take you Svetosavska Street to the Cathedral of St. Sava, the second largest Orthodox Church in the world. It was built symbolic on the place where were destroyed the relics of this great national saints and educator. The plareau Vračar, where is the Cathedral located, is a green square with a large grassy areas and exotic flowers and plants. There is also the National library building, a large fountain and a monument dedicated to Karadjordje.
This is more than enough for one day walking tour but if you are not then go on with a “evening” tour after the break. Meet the Belgrade bohemian nightlife in Skadarlija or “fansy ” in the famous Strahinjića bana Street where are many restaurants and bars.
The next day, go on sightseeing with bus that has an open roof „Belgrade open tour“ or Belgrade sightseeing from the river, incredible experience with a ship “Sirona” that we honestly recommend.
If your time allows you don’t miss to visit royal complex of Dynasty Karadjordjević in Dedinje consists of the famous Beli dvor (White Palace) and Stari kraljevski dvor (the Old Royal Palace), which is less known but more grandiose than the White Palace.
With a “Belgrade open tour” bus, you can go up to the mountain Avala, on whose peak is a monument to the Unknown Soldier, grandiose masterpiece made by Ivan Meštrović, from where is fantastic panoramic view of Belgrade and Šumadija. You can enjoy in a more beautiful panoramic view as well from the rebuilt Avala tower, 200m high tower, that represents one of the symbols of Belgrade.
Let’s go back to the city and go across the river in the business city center Novi Beograd (New Belgrade), representing a modern city part with high business buildings and towers, where are offices of many international companies, banks and insurance companies. Here are the luxury hotels: Hyatt Regency, Holiday Inn, Continental, IN Hotel etc.
In Novi Beograd there are many very important buildings: a large convention center “Centar Sava” , after Prague the second largest sports arena in Europe “Belgrade Arena” and Exhibition Center “EXPO” as well as a shopping mall’s “Ušće” and “Delta City”.
On this side of the rivers there is a baroque city part Zemun which reflects the spirit of ancient times. In Zemun is more than evident Austria-Hungarian architectural style with elements of Baroque, Renaissance and even Gothic. Walking along the Glavna Street (Main Street) and Gospodska Street, you can feel that atmosphere of ancient times as well as you can experience the most beautiful Danube flow during your walk on the promenade along the Danube coast.
A special tourist attraction in Zemun certainly is Gardoš hill on whose peak is a tower dedicated to Sibinjanin Janko known as the Millennium Tower. This tower is one of five identical by Hungary monarchy built on the four borders of their empire one on the north, west, east and south (in Zemun) and central one in Pest.
Hill Gardoš is an unique ambient with a combination of steep narrow and twisty streets of interesting names (Tight, Steep, High, Old …)
If you think you’re finished with the Belgrade sightseeing in Zemun, you are wrong! You didn’t even walk along the famous Boulevard of King Alexander, you were not in Topčider or Ada Ciganlija … If nothing else, it could be a reason to come back again and we, Belgrade citizens, will gladly show you everything you will be interested in. You are welcome at the FEST, Bear Fest, Belgrade Boat Show, BITEF, BEMUS, BELEF, Guitar Art Festival and many other events, manifestation or competitions, maybe some sports derbies on the football stadiums JNA or Maracana …
Once A.G Matoš wrote “Of all the cities I know, this one has the most beautiful position, the greatest amount of light and sunshine. It is indeed a White City, particularly from a distance. It is the whitest, the airiest of all the cities known to me, a white and sunny place, as if it had been chosen to be an image of freedom and the light in our flame…”
Text: Miroslav Bronzic
Photo: Jordana Ficovic, Miroslav Bronzic
Published on: 11.09.2010