A Travellerspoint blog

Serbia

Memories of Belgrade

Some of my memories of Belgrade don't have photos to go with them but I feel a need to record them in words, so I don't forget how special a place this is. First of all I am staying not too far from the Danube (it's just at the end of the street) where there are lots of large barges anchored to the shore. These are the splavovi or floating river clubs. During the day they are cafes and restaurants, but as night settles they turn into raving hotspots playing blingy europop or house music loud all through the night until the sunrises ( I know it is loud because a couple of times I have woken up at about 2am and heard a few boom booms and the strains of house music coming from the direction of the river) . This happens seven nights a week not just on the river but all over the city, and for a while Belgrade earned the title of Europe's party central. I am really too bloody old to even think about experiencing these places, however a couple of nights ago my host Dmitri asked if I would like to check out a beer garden with live music which was happening about 15 minutes away on the bus. We had a Belgrade burger for dinner ( It was a warm 12 inch long bun with a huge meat pattie and salad and spicy sauces to make it interesting ) With a coke that cost NZ$3 and was really good and filling. We got to the venue which was at a part of one bank of the river that has been turned into a big long lake that is filtered and the water is clear and has sandy beaches all along it. the beer garden was free to enter and had a central area with tables and bench seats in the shade of trees, while around the outside cabins sold a range of different beers and food snacks There was a stage with a sound and lighting system and a grassed area in front for dancing. This place is open seven nights a week in summer and was half full when we got there ( even on a Monday night). They feature all kinds of music from folk to heavy metal and the music for the night was jazz with a Louise Armstrong theme, and the female singer and band (with a trumpet, double bass, guitar, drums, and clarinet) were really good. We only stayed a couple of hours and had two pints of beer (NZ$3 a pint), but were joined at our table by a friendly bunch of young people. I tried a really nice light craft beer, and I swear it left an aftertaste of Turkish Delight after every sip. It was the first craft beer that I have really enjoyed. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed and families with kids were standing in front of the stage enjoying the music and the warm evening. Dmitri told me that all over Belgrade are clubs and cafe's with live music that play seven nights in summer and cost nothing or next to nothing to visit. He has booked me on a free 2 hour cruise on the river tonight with a bar and food onboard, which then turns into an all night music club ( that I probably need to pass on, since I am spending tomorrow on a train to Budapest. I will put in a few photos from two walking tours I went on yesterday..... The walking tours were really good. About 25 to 30 of us followed a young woman called Teya around the city for three hours while she entertained us with a non stop history lesson on Belgrade full of jokes and personal anecdotes. On the later ( communist ) tour she took a similar number of people to the House of Flowers ( Tito's final resting place ) and the adjacent Serbian History museum, which was showing artworks from the 50's and 60's relating to the brutal occupation by the Germans during the second world war. Her matter of fact talks on life in Socialist Yugoslavia under Tito's rule were really interesting and filled in a huge number of gaps in my knowledge about life as it was in Eastern Europe during my lifetime. The later tour ended outside what were the Ministry of Defense Buildings which Nato bombed in 1999. Her handling of the discussion on the various causes and points of view on the Serbian part in the Bosnian 'genocide', was as you can imagine full of the horror experienced by the majority of the Serbian people when the stories of what happened in Bosnia broke. She finished the walk with a visit to the National Assembly building and a talk about present day problems facing Serbia... The whole day was really thought provoking, to say the least. My evening cruise was a blast...I enjoyed it mainly because of the entertainment, the lovely views, the $3 beers, and not having to walk anywhere during the two hours.....

Every city needs art

Every city needs art


tour in bohemian part of Belgrade

tour in bohemian part of Belgrade


skadarlija bohemian street since 1870s

skadarlija bohemian street since 1870s


full of inns or kafana

full of inns or kafana


for eating, drinking, and live gypsy music

for eating, drinking, and live gypsy music


Teya, the best tour guide in town

Teya, the best tour guide in town


Victory statue on Fortress

Victory statue on Fortress


Closer look at the 'Naked Man'

Closer look at the 'Naked Man'


National Assembly building

National Assembly building


says it all

says it all


Symbol of Partisan movement

Symbol of Partisan movement


Mother carrying two children away from warfront

Mother carrying two children away from warfront


Wounded Partisans hiding in woods

Wounded Partisans hiding in woods


The Hanging

The Hanging


Civilian hangings a brutal reprisal in WW2 Serbia

Civilian hangings a brutal reprisal in WW2 Serbia


as depicted in art from the 50s

as depicted in art from the 50s


nice scene of old couple on bench

nice scene of old couple on bench


mother and child

mother and child


Partisans

Partisans


not sure where they go or why

not sure where they go or why


explanation

explanation


bronze deer in Tito's garden

bronze deer in Tito's garden


in Tito's garden

in Tito's garden


and another

and another


Marshal Tito

Marshal Tito


Benevolent socialist dictator

Benevolent socialist dictator


Tito's mausoleum

Tito's mausoleum


his final resting place

his final resting place


one of many buildings bombed by Nato in 1999

one of many buildings bombed by Nato in 1999


Smart bomb came right into the front door

Smart bomb came right into the front door


walking path along the Danube

walking path along the Danube


Roller bladers come out at night

Roller bladers come out at night


setting off

setting off


everyone still sober yet

everyone still sober yet


sunset on the Danube

sunset on the Danube


One of my beer goggles

One of my beer goggles


sunset on Danube 2

sunset on Danube 2


going under a bridge on the Danube

going under a bridge on the Danube


Raft club warming up

Raft club warming up


two party rafts side by side

two party rafts side by side


live music on cruise

live music on cruise


Belgrade at night

Belgrade at night


The green bridge (next to the blue bridge)

The green bridge (next to the blue bridge)

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Serbia Comments (0)

Belgrade...Tesla, Saint Sava, and my happy place..

I am so far behind with my blogging I have decided to just throw a few things together in an attempt to catch up. Today is my last day in Belgrade before taking a train to Budapest, and I'm trying to squeeze in a few last things to see and do. Yesterday I went on two 3 to 4 hour walking tours relating to the city's history (including one on the communist/socialist years under Tito) and tonight I'm booked on a 2 hour river cruise to finish off ( in a relaxed way) my visit to Belgrade. The first photos relate to last Saturday, when I took a visit to the Nikola Tesla museum. It was a small museum and the static displays were not very interesting, but the fun started when the English speaking tour began. After watching a short film about Tesla's life the young tour guide started to show us the different tricks involving electricity that Tesla was famous for doing in his talks on the powers and uses of electricity. During this part of the tour the kids (large and small) got a chance to have a hands on approach with the exhibits. The most exciting display was when the guide activated the huge transformer and lightening arced between two electrodes. This was loud and spectacular and all the kids were given a fluorescent tube to hold, which lit up like a light sabre in Star Wars. Other displays involved watching the first ever remote controlled model of a boat, and people putting their hands on an electrode through which several hundred thousand volts or amps or something were passing through. This resulted in sparks, buzzes and the occasional ouch, but proved to be harmless. At the end of the day I suppose it would be difficult to do more with Tesla's different inventions than the museum attempts to do ( unless of course you were Walt Disney) Walking from the Museum to the Saint Sava Cathedral I passed a flash restaurant, and noticed they had a menu on the sidewalk in Serbian and English for a NZ$9 meal. I usually manage to grab one major meal a day, either for lunch or dinner, so I thought I would give it a go, I don't know how the KFC's or Burger Kings survive in Belgrade because you can buy great meals in most cafe's or restaurants for the price of a Combo Burger Deal. As you can see my meal was substantial and delicious as well. The Cathedral of St Sava is not only a beautiful building, but also has an interesting story behind it. In 1595 the Turks wanted to punish Serbian rebels, who had attempted an uprising against them, so the decided to take the sarcophagus holding the remains of Serbia's patron Saint and publically burn them on a huge bonfire just outside of the city. Three hundred years later, in 1895, the Serbian Orthodox Church decide to build a Cathedral dedicated to Saint Sava on the spot where this happened. A public contest was held in 1905 to design a building for the site but all five entries were deemed to be not good enough, so no action was taken. During the following years two Balkan Wars, and the First World War stopped all action on the plans, but in 1926 submissions were sought to design a building and one was chosen. Construction began in 1935, but only a few walls were in place when Germany invaded Belgrade in 1941, when the site was used as a parking lot. After the war the Communist/Socialist government who had no use for a Cathedral continued to use the site for parking and general storage until the Patriarch of the Church began, in 1958, to revive the idea and make submissions to the Government for permission to finish the building. He made 88 requests over 26 years, and the 89th request was finally granted to begin rebuilding in 1984. Of course the country has gone through several upheavals since 1984, each one of which halted the construction, but eventually a Cathedral took shape. It is a story that seems more like a work of fiction than fact, but I suppose one of the things that you can take from it is that perseverance eventually pays off. The Cathedral is stunningly beautiful, and although the inside may take another 100 years to complete, it has a palpable spiritual calmness about it even as an empty space. On the way back to my bus stop in town I passed another major Belgrade Church, the Church of Saint Mark. This was built between 1931 and 1940, and for practical and political reasons only the exterior is completed. The interior has a small open space, which holds a wall full of icons, but the rest of the building is closed off while work continues on finishing the interior. The tombs of Serbian Princes, Kings and Queens are kept here, and it holds a special place in the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church for that reason. My final picture is of the Shopping Mall, just up the road, which is the biggest in Belgrade and as well as shops has a 12 theatre Cinema Complex. I don't often get the opportunity to go and see movies, but when the conditions are right, I take advantage of them. The conditions in the last week have been 35 to 40 degree days, and cheap cinema tickets. So when it has been too hot to go anywhere I have headed to my airconditioned shopping mall and taken in a movie or two.......

The Nikola Tesla Museum

The Nikola Tesla Museum


Bust of the man

Bust of the man


only four rooms in museum

only four rooms in museum


many displays of written articles

many displays of written articles


articles in magazines

articles in magazines


like this

like this


another room where small experiments demonstrated

another room where small experiments demonstrated


Then lightening created

Then lightening created


and hand held fluoro tubes lit up

and hand held fluoro tubes lit up


his remote control mechanism

his remote control mechanism


a model of his long island lab

a model of his long island lab


saw an $9 menu at the door

saw an $9 menu at the door


was ushered into an empty dining room

was ushered into an empty dining room


and sat down to a starter of beef noodle soup

and sat down to a starter of beef noodle soup


followed by roast pork, chips and coleslaw salad

followed by roast pork, chips and coleslaw salad


with apple cream cake to finish

with apple cream cake to finish


My next stop the Church of St. Sava

My next stop the Church of St. Sava


another view

another view


inside view towards nave

inside view towards nave


inside view towards entrance

inside view towards entrance


inside decoration incomplete

inside decoration incomplete


frontal view

frontal view


Statue of Saint Sava

Statue of Saint Sava


in front of church

in front of church


Church of St Mark

Church of St Mark


detail

detail


display of icons inside

display of icons inside


main post office

main post office


National Assembly

National Assembly


hotel Moscow

hotel Moscow


Russian art deco design

Russian art deco design


Telecom Serbia building

Telecom Serbia building


closer look

closer look


another art deco building

another art deco building


hjk,

hjk,


tyuyguhn

tyuyguhn


one way to sell old books

one way to sell old books


view from my terrace

view from my terrace


over New Belgrade

over New Belgrade


and more

and more


eighth floor looking down

eighth floor looking down


my aircon happy place for movies & shops

my aircon happy place for movies & shops

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Serbia Comments (0)

Zemun and Belgrade....Two Forts on the Danube

Since before Roman times there have been fortresses on high ground above the towns of Zemun and Belgrade. These were military outposts which protected the peoples of the area and more importantly the trade and travel routes that the Danube and Sava rivers offered. In the 12th century the town was conquered by the Kingdom of Hungary, and changed hands many times eventually falling to the Ottoman army which also conquered Belgrade in 1521. It was taken back by the Austrian Habsborgs in 1721 and was the center of continued border wars between the Habsberg and Ottoman empires. In 1918 Zemun become a part of Serbia, and when the river marshes that separated it from Belgrade were filled in after the WW2 to become the suburbs of New Belgrade, the town was assimilated into Greater Belgrade. The majority of it's population was for centuries German and Hungarian settlers and the present town of 150,000, which is now an industrial centre for the area, did not assimilate without a struggle. The Fortress of Belgrade shares a similar history, although the city of Belgrade was occupied and emptied of Serbians by the Turkish Ottoman empire from when it was conquered in 1521 until the year 1867 when the Turks withdrew from Belgrade and Serbia. However for 2000 years or more the fortress was subject to continuous sieges, battles, and conquests, and developed a series of walls and fortifications in an attempt to become impregnable. The morning I visited Zemun was cool and cloudy. (this was very welcome after the temperature rose to 40 degrees the previous day). It was only a 15 minute bus ride from where I'm staying in New Belgrade, and after I got off the bus I saw many mothers and children. together with people walking their dogs out enjoying the parks and playgrounds along the banks of the Danube river which skirts around the town. I have struggled with climbing steep hills to get to lookout towers in the past, but the slight slopes of the old streets leading to the top of the Gardos hill didn't cause me too much trouble. Before I knew it I was standing in front of the steps leading to the Tower of Janos Hunyadi ( a Serbian military hero, who won many battles against the Turks. He eventually died of the plague and was buried on Gardos Hill in 1456) I paid about NZ$3 and climbed up a winding stairwell to get to a point where I could walk around and see and take photos of the river and the town. The tower was built in 1896 to celebrate 1000 years of Hungarian settlement in the area and it has been well looked after. I took another way, down several flights of stairs into the town, and had a nice lunch in the large town markets, which I spent some time looking around before heading back to my home base in New Belgrade. I have visited the Belgrade Fortress twice. It is a very large and special place of which I have only seen about a third, and only shown about a quarter of the photos I took on my visits. It has a zoo (which I haven;t seen ), several small military museums and monuments, playing fields and miles of woodland paths. It even has underground caverns, in which people sheltered during the different wars, and finally it is situated at the end of the main pedestrian shopping precinct of Belgrade, which makes it easily accessible to visitors and locals. While I was there I was really impressed by the small but beautiful Rose Church.There was a church with the same name on this site from the 13th century but it was demolished by the Turks and used later as a gunpowder magazine. The gunpowder magazine was converted back into a military church in 1867, when the Turks left Belgrade. The inside, where no photos were allowed, has a peaceful spiritual presence with a few chairs on a marble floor under chandeliers made from shell casings from the first World War. The decorations are simple but gold and cream prevail and the walls are painted with one wall covered in many gold framed religious icons, in the way of Serbian Orthodox churches. It is a simple yet beautiful place of worship......In what I am beginning to discover is the beautiful city of Belgrade,

Restaurants line the Danube at Zemun

Restaurants line the Danube at Zemun


steep cobbled streets to reach tower

steep cobbled streets to reach tower


Tower on Gardos Hill

Tower on Gardos Hill


rear view of Gardos tower

rear view of Gardos tower


stairwell inside side towers

stairwell inside side towers


narrow stairwell

narrow stairwell


view of barge on the Danube

view of barge on the Danube


Where Danube and Sava rivers meet

Where Danube and Sava rivers meet


looking across town of Zemun

looking across town of Zemun


spire of Church of St Nicholas 1731

spire of Church of St Nicholas 1731


Patron saint of fishermen

Patron saint of fishermen


from tower looking down towards Zemun

from tower looking down towards Zemun


Church of St Demetrius

Church of St Demetrius


steps leading down into the town of Zemun

steps leading down into the town of Zemun


Main street of Belgrade leads to Kalemegdan park

Main street of Belgrade leads to Kalemegdan park


which has a shady wooded area

which has a shady wooded area


and paths that lead to the fortress

and paths that lead to the fortress


on path to the fortress ( taken with dad's o.k.)

on path to the fortress ( taken with dad's o.k.)


soon high enough to see this

soon high enough to see this


and across to New Belgrade

and across to New Belgrade


Telling it like it is

Telling it like it is


showing old 'lower town'

showing old 'lower town'


and Danube and Sava rivers kiss

and Danube and Sava rivers kiss


my favourite sculpture in park

my favourite sculpture in park


with a hidden bronze

with a hidden bronze


Ruzica (Rose) Church

Ruzica (Rose) Church


attached to fortress walls

attached to fortress walls


guarded by medieval and WW1 Serbian soldiers

guarded by medieval and WW1 Serbian soldiers


medieval knight

medieval knight


WW1 Serbian soldier

WW1 Serbian soldier


Holy Mother with Christ Bronze

Holy Mother with Christ Bronze


Zindan gate

Zindan gate


built in 1450

built in 1450


be hard to climb these walls

be hard to climb these walls


17th century clock gate

17th century clock gate


closer view

closer view


thickness of fortress walls

thickness of fortress walls


Monument of gratitude to France

Monument of gratitude to France


symbolic figure of woman with a sword

symbolic figure of woman with a sword


Set in a formal french style garden

Set in a formal french style garden

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Serbia Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]