Attractions in Belgrade
Belgrade is a vibrant city, surprising in its diversity and rich in its history and culture, that’s why there are so many attractions and it is quite difficult to make a selection.
Knez Mihailova Street
Knez Mihailova is the main pedestrian zone of Belgrade downtown. It is one of the oldest and most valuable architectural monuments since walking down the this street is possible to see several emblematic buildings and private houses built in the late 1880’s: Knez Mihailova leads to the Fortress Park (Kalemegdan), along the Republic Square (Trg Republike), the National Theater (Narodno pozoriste) and other historical buildings.
Republic Square is today a popular meeting place for the young Belgrade’s and also a useful orientation point for those who do not know Belgrade very well.
Kosancicev Venac was once the very heart of the city, around which Belgrade was built and spread. Walking around the lovely cobble-stoned street it is possible to admire historic houses and an amazing view of the river.
Vracar is another interesting part of Belgrade beyond the Slavija square: its narrow, crooked streets are lined with houses and smaller buildings that are older than most other parts of town. Near by the Saint Sava temple (Harm Svetog Save) and lots of interesting restaurants and cafes.
Dorcol covers the area between Knez Mihailova street and the Danube with some of the city’s most popular cafes, bars and restaurants today. Alike Vracar, this part of Belgrade is older and mainly residential (with primarily service businesses), and its buildings and houses are smaller and nicer than elsewhere in the city.
Zemun lies across the river from downtown Beograd. While this border shifted innumerable times in the past, Zemun still has a distinctly less Oriental feel and its architecture is more Central European, resembling towns like Novi Sad in Vojvodina more than Belgrade. The center around Glavna street makes for a very nice walk and the long riverside is also amazing.
The Old Bohemian Quarter of Belgrade
Skadarlija is the old bohemian quarter of Belgrade and it dates back to late 19th century, it has an history of more of 130 years but it looks exactly as used to look at the beginning. It was a meeting point for lots of the greatest figures of the cultural scene of the period. It is often compared with the Montmartre in Paris, both for its appearance and the cheerful, vigorous artists’ atmosphere. This neighbourhood was made popular and attractive because it was in the immediate vicinity of the National Theatre and former operetta, as well as musical halls housed in today’s Balkan Cinema. By tearing down the café Dardaneli in 1901, which was on the site of today’s National Museum, artists, writers, poets and ordinary visitors moved to the small cafe-restaurants of Skadarlija, bringing along the bohemian lifestyle and spirit. Because of evening entertainment, loud music and occasional fights, the residents of the surrounding streets often criticised it to the police.
The National Assembly
The National Assembly of Serbia is located in the city center of Belgrade, in front of Pioneer’s Park, on the Nikola Pašić Square. It was built in the Classical style with Renaissance elements, with rich interior decoration, made by famous artists and craftsmen. This impressive building is one of the most important achievements of recent Serbian architecture.
The oldest parts of Belgrade Fortress Kalemegdan date back to the first century AD, when it served as permanent Roman military camp. It is a fortress park in the urban zone of Belgrade. Its exclusive position make it a beautiful spot where admire the beautiful panorama of Danube flowing in the river Sava, and the zone of New Belgrade.
In Kalemegdan lie rests of a lot of cultures such as Celts, Huns, Romans, Greeks, Turkish and Slaves. Because of this, Kalemegdan today bears witness to the many centuries of various conquering cultures and arts.
Belgrade has three main palaces: the old one (Stari dvor), the new one (Novi dvor) and the White Palace (Beli dvor).
Stari dvor, the Old Palace (Royal Palace), is located in the corner of Kralja Milana and Dragoslava Jovanovića streets. It was originally the home of King Alexander I and King Peter II and nowadays it is the centre of the City Assembly of Belgrade . It was built between 1882 and 1884 with the typical Century XIX style. This Building had the goal of overpass all the others castles and become the new base of the Serbian Kingdom. The Castle today is quite different than years ago due to First and Second World Wars.
Kraljevski dvor was built between 1924 and 1929. It’s a monumental villa made of white stone with a Serbian-Byzantine style, surrounded by parks and ponds. Due to its elevated position it is possible to admire one of the best views of Belgrade. Inside of the castle merge Medievalist, Baroque and renaissance style.
The White Palace (Beli dvor) was built between 1934 and 1937 in a classic style from Louis XV and Louis XVI. It has been Royal Summer Palace, becoming the home of the communist Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito when the royal family was expelled following World War II. It has been returned to the heir of the Serbian throne, prince Alexander the 2nd Karadjordjevic only after democratic changes in 2000. The renovated Palace was recently open to the public and it is both a historic site and an art gallery, with works of world-famous painters adorning its walls, and a porcelain set made for Louis the 14th on display.
The House of Flowers
The House of Flowers (Kuca Cveca) is the mausoleum and memorial of Yugoslavia’s communist ruler, marshal Tito. A great site for getting a grasp of the personality cult that reigned Yugoslavia for so many decades.
Parks and Fontains
Due to its large oasis of nature both in the center and in the surrounding areas, Belgrade is one of the greenest capitals in Europe. In the forests at the periphery of Belgrade live dozens of species of rare birds and 182 individual trees have been listed and protected in Belgrade. The green assets of Belgrade cover an area of over 4,000 hectares. The Belgrade parks are considered as young – around 80-90 of trees are younger than 60 years.
The parks of Belgrade become places for rest and relaxation during the spring, they are refuges from the heat and city bustle during summers. Even in wintertime the parks serve as refuge from the city rush for many citizens of Belgrade.
The oldest park is Topčider, formed in the valley of Topčider river. In the first half of 19th century this landscape was full of vineyards and weekend houses of wealthy people. In 1831 Knez Miloš Obrenović started arranging the park, along with building the house, church, restaurant and casern. Belgrade currently has 65 public parks with the most famous being Kalemegdan Park, Tašmajdan Park, Park of Friendship, Hyde Park and the Pioneer Park.
Belgrade was never lacking for water because of its rivers. Several new and ancient drinking fountains can be found in numerous places in the city centre since they served as important meeting places for the citizens of Belgrade in the past. Belgrade has 39 public drinking fountains with potable water piped from the Belgrade waterworks. The city has also 18 ornamental fountains, the first of them built in 1927 on Terazije but removed in 1947 during the reconstruction of the square.
The first public fountains were built along the lines of the Roman waterworks in the distant past and became sculptural works of art during the 15th century, such as the Vizier’s Fountain built by Mehmed-Pasha Sokolović on Kalemegdan in 1576.
Fountains were also built along the line of the Bulbulder waterworks, constructed in parallel with the stream bearing the same name. There were 18 fountains along this line alone during the 19th century, with the best known being: Čukur, Saka and the Fountain of Skadar.
One of the oldest fountains in Belgrade is the Delijska Fountain (17th century), another one was built in its place at the beginning of what was already Knez Mihailova Street in 1843, but the name remained. It was demolished in 1889. A fountain reminiscent of the old one was built during the reconstruction of Knez Mihailova Street in 1987