Favorite thing: I love the Gypsy music of the Balkans. And while most Serbians seem to hate it, it has strong roots here too. Boban Markovic is the king of Belgradian gypsy music, having appeared with his band as the gypsy trumpeters that follow the two gangsters throughout Underground, a cult Serbian movie with great music orchestrated by Bosnian-Serb Goran Bregovic. Bregovic is also great, but he's more likely to be seen in the US than Serbia these days.
Gypsy bands play in some restaurants, at one or two clubs, or at the station when a young man is leaving to join the army. The best place to listen to it, however, is probably at the Guca festival, in a small village a few hours from Belgrade. This is held once a year and attracts the best gypsy bands from the entire region. It's a festival I intend to travel to one year very soon.
If you want to listen to Gypsy music of the region try:
Goran Bregovic (Bosnian Serb), especially the soundtracks to Underground and Black Cat/White Cat;
Boban Markovic (Serbian);
Kocani Orkestar (Macedonia);
Fanfare Ciocarlia (Romania);
Taraf de Haidouk (Romania).
Also check out anything by German DJ Shantel and the Bucovina Club. He creates amazing dance floor remixes of Balkan music, and became so popular that his small Frankfurt club got world recognition and started a perpetual world tour. Last time the show was on tour, they were supporting Borat of Ali G fame.
Walking around Old Belgrade
Favorite thing: Old Belgrade is wonderfully full of surprises..
I discovered very good walking Guide around Belgrade by Lj Chorovich.
It has 10 different walks, all lasting around 3 hrs, and its takes you around very interesting neighborhoods in the old part of town. Also one such a walk include Zemun and one is solely dedicated to Kalemegdan fortress.
Worth every effort to get out and spend morning or afternoon walking the streets.
Belgrade hides lots of history and interesting facts. Lots of famous ppl lived and worked in this city. So get the book and start exploring.
Make sure you have plenty of water, good walking boots and lots of camera batteries.
Book can be purchised at any good book shop in town, specially the numerous ones on Knez Mihajlova Stor you can try on Amazon.
Favorite thing: I have been assured that Republic Square is not the literal center of Belgrade but it is only about 100 yards from Terazije which is the official center of Belgrade. Nevertheless, every time that I have been asked to meet someone in Belgrade it has been either "at the horse statue,"(which is in Republic Square) or at the train/bus station. Many bus lines stop by Republic Square. It is also the site of some of Belgrade's most recognizable public buildings, including the National Museum and the National Theatre.
"The horse statue" is actually a bronze statue of Prince Michael (or Mihailo" on a horse, by the Italian sculptor Enrico Pazzi. It was erected in 1882 in honor of the Prince's most important political achievement, the complete expulsion of the Turks from Serbia and liberation of the remaining seven cities within what was then (in 1867) Serbian territory. The names of the cities are carved on plates on the monument, on the statue's pedestal, and the prince is allegedly sculpted with his hand pointing toward Constantinople, indicating where he wanted the Turks to go. However, his hand actually points to the north-east instead of the south-east, which is the cottect direction from Belgrade to Turkey. In recent years, the honor accorded to Prince Mihailo has declined significantly and the statue is often referred to simply as kod konja (Serbian for 'at the horse'). Even the nearby restaurant is named, Kod Konja.
- Arts and Culture
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Favorite thing: A sunday morning I woke up in Belgrade and, after breakfast started going for a walk. Being my hotel in a pedestrian area, at the beginning I did not notice what was happening but soon realised all the city centre was traffic free, no cars, no busses, no taxi, nothing. This is not the first time I see a walking town centre but it's the first time I see that in a big city and, the free space for people to walk, skate bike and play with ball was impresseive as the streets were huge.
Fondest memory: I really left Belgrade thinking of this sunday morning with citizens enjoying the streets usually full of cars, noise, smell. I don't think this happens all the sundays, but it was a nice chance to actually measure how much space transports need.
- Road Trip
The Cyrillic alphabet
Fondest memory: The cyrillic alphabet is hard to understand for foreigners. How to pronounce...
А = a
Б = b
В = v
Г = g
Д = d
Е = je
Ё = jø
Ж = zh
З = z
И = i
Й = j
К = k
Л = l
М = m
Н = n
О = o
П = p
Р = r
С = s
Т = t
У = u
Ф = f
Х = h
Ц = ts
Ч = tsj
Ш = sj
Щ = sjtsj
Ъ = _
Ы = y
Ь = '
Э = e
Ю = ju
Я = ja
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Bonio's good beer guide!
Favorite thing: Here's a few of the local beers we found,
Jelen was the usual offering and probably our favourite, also the wonderfully named "Lav" was common also tried a dark beer made by Nikšiæko which was pretty tasty too.
As ever local beers far cheaper than imported ones.
For info (in Serbian) try http://www.jelenpivo.com/
Friendliest bar visited "CYTP" corner is the Cyrillic spelling and my translation is Sutr corner.
It's close to the Red Star stadium on Bulevar JNA, stadium side of the roundabout. Lovely friendly place for a beer.
Relaxing day by the river
Favorite thing: Well Belgrade has lots to offer. Great out door caffes, shopping, parks, arhitecture, rocking nitelife, great restaurants....
Recently voted for one of the Party towns in Europe. As is emerging from the isolation, Belgarde is relativly cheap and funky.
What I like out the City, is that have lots to offer, from backpaking, budget hotels, to refined dinning, also it is great for familys. So if you have your young ones with you, and you are questioning do you go there , do not think , just go.
Online map of Belgrade
Favorite thing: This online map might be usefull for those who plan to visit Belgrade.
CLICK HERE for online map of Belgrade
There is an option for english and a solid tips for search by name and category, or by street name.
On planplus you can find also other cities in Serbia like Novi Sad, Nis, Kraljevo...
Favorite thing: This ugly forest of concrete buildings without trees or anything great but absurdly enough, near the riverside is called Blokovi (the blocks). Somehow it has some secret spirit and charm, and those who live there say would never leave, it's some sort of a symbol or a big small family, I don't know, it's hard to describe... Many even find it beautiful, although i always fail in that constatation. I took this photo from the plane, and only from the up above you can realize how truly gigantic and scary this settlement is, and I always wonder how does it manage to capture so many hearts...
It was built in the last 30-40 years, before that, there were only fields and cattle... Now it is a city within a city as well!
Favorite thing: Bilo je uzbudljivo ponovo biti u Beogradu, pa makar to bilo i tako kratko, naime, odavdje sam imao let za Nairobi. Teško da mogu valjano procijeniti što se u medjuvremenu promijenilo, od 1990. kada sam zadnji puta posjetio Beograd jer zbog kratkoce boravka zadržao sam se na potezu Željeznicka stanica - Kalemegdan, a to je puno premalo za temeljitu procijenu. Sa sigurnošcu mogu reci samo jedno, vrelina beogradskog asfalta u ljetnom periodu ostala je nepromijenjena, dapace, cini se da je cak i porasla.
Fondest memory: Knez Mihajlova djeluje uredjenije, napose fasade na representativnim zgradama, dok su terase ispred kafica dodale svoj kolorit u ambijent koji je, prije svega ostalog, raj za pješake i shopere. Izlozi su sada puno atraktivniji, s daleko bogatijom ponudom roba, medjutim, jednako kao i u Zagrebu, i ovdje su se naselili neki brendovi koji nude, blago receno, samo smece.
Grad, u dijelu koji sam vidio, sada je puno cišci i primjetno je ljudi vode brigu oko toga.
Favorite thing: You might well know something about the recent history of Serbia and its capital. How that past still lingers is evident in the still visible destruction that was the result of US/NATO bombs towards the end of the 90s. You might spot the odd memorial around the city, like those below in Tasmajdan park, remembering the loss of life...There is a necessity to remember such things, but also to move on. I found that this sentiment is strong in Belgrade. "The past is past... Lets look at the future."
Fondest memory: Belgradians are tough enough to take care of themselves. (See my Intro page) There is what is in the past, but the city has its young people and a cultural vibrancy to pull out of the dark. Through the sanctions and bombs.
- Historical Travel
The New and Shiny Map of Belgrade
Favorite thing: A truly great guide through Belgrade and its contents!
Unlike typical maps, the Belgrade Witty Map brings a unique combination of Belgrade city map and a guide to the best places in town and events not to be missed. It is this mixture of elements that gives a completely new touch to the map, providing quick and easy access to all relevant information for both visitors and locals.
Precise locations of restaurants, galleries, movie theaters, bars, clubs, caffes,...+comments.
List and locations of HOSTELS (and Hotels, ofcourse)
Short texts about Kalemegdan, Taverns, Floats, Skadarlija...and more.
Many, great illustrations + comments.
It covers City Center, Kalemegdan, Zemun Center, Ada Ciganlija Peninsula.
Perfect for making your sightseeing route but also as a souvenir.
Cultural and Natural Values
Favorite thing: There are almost 300 cultural monuments within the territory of Belgrade. Three spatial cultural-historical ensembles (Knez Mihajlova Street, Topčider and area around Dositej’s Boarding School and the archaeological finds Belo Brdo in Vinča have been proclaimed the values of extraordinary importance, and three spatial ensembles (Gročanski bazaar - Bulevar Oslobođenja, Kosančićev Venac, old nucleus of Zemun) and two remarkable locations (Bojčin’s Forest and Commemorative Cemetery of Belgrade Liberators 1806) of great importance for the culture. As for the facilities proclaimed natural treasures, the ones of major importance are: Belgrade Fortress, Saint Archangel Michael Cathedral Church, Thumb of the Unknown Soldier on Avala, Monument at the death spot of despot Stefan Lazarević, Cemetery of Belgrade Liberators, late Roman Tomb in Brestovik, Birth Home of Voivode Stepa Stepanović, Palace of the Duchess Ljubica, Captain Miša’s Edifice. The beauty of Belgrade squares and public gardens in ten town municipalities is supplemented by 192 monuments and 237 sculptures. About 70 monuments and works of sculpture are located in the outlaying municipalities.
Among the protected natural values there also are Banjica’s Forest, the nestling spot of over 70 species of birds, "Maša’s Mine" near Summer Stage in Topčider (geological set layer from the upper Cretaous Age), "Myocene’s sand-shelf" at Tašmajdan and "Sea Neogene’s sandbank" underneath the “Liberator” Monument on Kalemegdan, representing the remnants of the Mediterranean basin of Pannonian Sea.
Memorial natural monuments are: Bojčin’s forest within the area of Zemun and the Arched Ash Tree in the Šopići village near Lazarevac (Šopići’s Grove). Veliko ratno ostrvo (Big War Island) on the Danube, the habitat of rare and endangered birds of marsh and the representative morphological and geological formation, is under the protection of the government.
Fondest memory: Calemegdan is the most beautiful and biggest park in Belgrade, which is also the most important cultural and historical complex, in which the Belgrade Fortress stands high above the Sava and Danube confluence.
- Castles and Palaces
The Capital of Serbia and Yugoslavia
Favorite thing: There are spots in Belgrade you must definitely see and feel. Streets, squares, monuments, parks, drinking fountains, archeological sites... and other sights that deserve recommendation. Many of them have been given the status of cultural assets.
Fondest memory: Terazije is the most famous square in Belgrade. It started to take shape as an urban feature in the first half of the XIX century. Ilija Čarapić who for a certain period was the president of the Belgrade Municipality, had a special task to assigning lots of land at Terazije to these craftsmen; whoever accepted to fence the lot, would have it for free.
Up to about 1865, the buildings at Terazije were mainly single and double-storied ones. The water tower was removed in 1860 and replaced by the drinking-fountain, Terazijska česma, which was erected in memory of Prince Miloš. During the first reconstruction of the square in 1911, the fountain was moved to Topčider and moved back again in 1976. This square went under significant changes in 1911-1912, when it was completely re-arranged. Along the central part of the square regular flower beds were placed, and they were surrounded by a low iron fence, while on the side towards today's Nušićeva Street a large fountain was built.
At the end of the XIX and beginning of the XX century, Terazije was the center of social life of Belgrade. The most important hotels, restaurants and shops were located here.
In 1936, on the foundations of the old hotel, the new "Balkan" Hotel was built. On the site of a small "Albania" cafe, a palace of the same name was constructed in 1938. Terazije acquired its definitive form during its last reconstruction in 1947, when its flower beds, fountain and tram-lines were all removed. In the memory of the five patriots hanged by German fascists at Terazije on August 17, 1941, a monument was erected in 1983 at the corner of Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra and Terazije.
Favorite thing: The main street in Belgrade, Knez Mihailova. It leeds from Kalemegdan park to Terazije, and there you can find EVERYTHING you'll ever need, all kinds of shops (especially branded ones, for the fans of brands), tourist info, cafes, libraries, cultural centres, etc...
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