The name of this city Belgrade translates to White City. It is the capital and largest city of Serbia located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers at the place where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkan Mountains.
It is interesting that Belgrade has gotten a reputation of being one of Europe’s foremost party capitals. There is lots of nightlife choices here and you can be sure that during the spring and summer the party goers, party from night till dawn. If there is one word you should learn in Serbian it is “splavovi” which refers to the party boats that are moored along the river banks in Belgrade. The boats come in all shapes and sizes and are in use for a night on the town as these are floating river clubs or barges.
On a hill that overlooks the confluence of the Sava River into the Danube you’ll find the Belgrade Fortress. This fortress has seen many wars and over the centuries has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. The way it looks now dates back to the end of the 18th century. Belgrade Fortress includes Upper Town, Lower Town and Kalemegdan Park.
Most of the preserved fortress ramparts and gates are found in the Upper Town where you can also see the Military Museum, St. Petka and Ruzica Churches, Of interest is the Roman Well, an unusual building whose eerie waters once claimed many lives and the symbol of Belgrade – Pobednik- The Victor, a monument that was built to commemorate Serbia’s victory over Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the Balkan Wars and WW I. It was built in 1928 and is 14 meters high. It is one of Ivan Mestrovic most famous art works and the city’s most recognizable landmark.
The Lower Town on the banks of the Danube was the main city center in the Middle Ages, surrounded by walls and a port. A few buildings still remain today – Kula Nebojsa or Daredevil Tower dating from 1460, Turkish Bath from the 18th century, today you can find a planetarium here and the Gate of Carl VI dating from 1736.
Kalemegdan Park was created in the 19th century on a plateau in the front of this fortress. This plateau had been cleared so that when the fortress was in use approaching enemies could be seen. The park is a popular place for people to walk and relax. It offers lots of shady benches from which you can watch squirrels at play, some sculptures, an art pavilion, a zoo, an amusement park and souvenir vendors. It has become a favorite place for chess players and loving couples.
A representative building that dates from the first half of the 19th century was built for the family of Prince Miloz Obrenovic. At the Princess Ljubica Residence visitors can see a permanent exhibit that includes the original furniture in the different styles of the 19th century. In the basement in the Vaults Hall themed exhibitions are held.
For the unknown and unusual take a look at the authentic Serbian tavern simply known as “?”. It was built in 1823 and opened its doors as a tavern in 1826. This tavern was the first one to set up a billiard table in 1834. There is a quaint wooden stove for cooking beans and roasting potatoes. This is the place where you can get delicious national dishes and draught beer. There is a summer terrace.
A path from Groblianska Street leads to the Millennium Tower located in Gardos. The tower was built by Hungarians in 1896 in order to celebrate their presence on the Pannonian Plain. It was built on the ruins of a 15th century fortress and even though it is closed to the public it is well worth taking a look at as the plateau in front of the tower offers spectacular views of Belgrade. Gardos is a quaint romantic place to explore. Here you’ll find quiet, narrow cobblestone streets and rows of low houses. There are lovely and quaint cafes and fish restaurants.
The main church of Belgrade is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. The present church dating from 1845 was built on the site of a former Cathedral Church from the 16th century. Within the present Cathedral Church are the holy remains of Serbian saint Emperor Uros and it is also the burial site of some of the most important figures in Serbian history such as Vuk Karadžić, Dositej Obradović, and Serbian rulers of the Obrenović dynasty – Miloš, Mihailo and Milan. The interior of the church is decorated with a gold-plated carved iconostasis, created by the sculptor Dimitrije Petrovic. The icons on the iconstasis, thornes, choirs and pulpits as well as those on the walls and arches were painted by Dimitrije Avramovic, who was one of the most distinguished Serbian painters of the 19th century. Across the way from the church you’ll see the seat of the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, in a building dating from 1935.
Housed in three separate buildings is the Museum of Yugoslav History. The museum has more than 200,000 items and represents a most comprehensive picture of the country from WW II up to the 1990s. There is a special emphasis placed on the life and work of Josip Broz Tito. This museum also includes the House of Flowers which is the final resting place of Tito. In the 25th of May Museum visitors can find temporary exhibitions and special events are held. The Old Museum houses various gifts that were given to Tito by different foreign dignitaries, statesmen and visiting delegations over the years.
No matter if you are traveling with children or not visitors enjoy the Belgrade Zoo which is one of the oldest in all of Europe and is located in the famous Kalemegdan Fortress. The zoo stretches for 7 hectares and has more than 2,000 animals and almost 300 different species. Here visitors can see rare white lions and tigers and Muja, who is thought to be the world’s oldest alligator. There is a lovely series of mosaics that cover the zoo’s outer wall and depict various animals. It was created in cooperation with the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade.
So put Belgrade on your travel list as it offers a lot more of interest to visitors and for those of you who love to party this is the place to be.
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