Rated as no.1 Belgrade attraction on virtually every list you will see, this place is a definite must-see on your list. Kalemegdan is both, a city park and archaeological monument with more than 2000 years of history built into its walls. Entrance to Kalemegdan is free and the place is accessible 24/7. Some of the highlights include: Victor monument and panoramic view over the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers, Ruzica and St. Petka’s church, a place called “Roman well” (which is neither Roman nor well), Stambol, Zindan and Sahat gates, Military museum, Gallery of the Natural History, Observatory, Planetarium and the Belgrade Zoo, which is also located here. There are also few galleries, restaurants, cafes and souvenir stands. For full, interactive map, as well as panoramas and other information, check out the official web page here.
Knez Mihailova street
The most important street of Belgrade. A pedestrian zone that connects Kalemegdan fortress to the city center. It is believed that the general direction of this street remained unchanged since the earliest days of Belgrade history – a claim supported by many Celtic and Roman artifacts discovered in its surroundings. A great place to feel the vibrant spirit of Belgrade, in the atmosphere of street musicians, shopaholics, tourists and locals. Grab a cup of coffee and relax in some of the numerous cafes, so nicely incorporated in late XIX century architecture. From Knez Mihailova you will have an easy access to many other points of interest, such as Republic square – a city’s most popular meeting point, National museum and Opera house as well as Oblicev and Kosancicev venac, popular for many hidden cafes and buildings of exceptional beauty.
This is Belgrade’s designated center, a shopping and business area located only a few minutes on foot from the beginning of Knez Mihailova street. From here you will have a nice view of two interesting buildings – Palace Albania, built in 1940. and known as “the first skyscraper built in Southeast Europe”, even though by modern standards it is not really high at all. The second building is Hotel Moscow, a beautiful building with lots of history during its more than 100 years of existence. It was constructed in 1908. and has been under the protection of the state since 1968. The hotel exhibits proudly in its halls the pictures of many famous people that had stayed there. The list is very long but some of the names are: Albert Einstein, Indira Ghandi, Rabindranath Tagore, Orson Welles, Maxim Gorky, Moamer Gadafi, Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Milos Forman, Roman Polanski, Alfred Hitchcock, Michael and Kirk Douglas, Mila Jovovich and Robert de Niro.
The original design of this beautiful building was drafted by architect Konstantin Jovanović in 1891. However, it has been enlarged and modified several times, to be brought to its current shape in 1938. Since 1938. the building hasn’t been changed much but the country has, so its purpose also changed, from the seat of the Parliament of Yugoslavia to the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro and finally to National Assembly of Serbia.
Tašmajdan Park is a large green area located very close to the city center. It’s name comes from Turkish words “stone” and “mine” as in the Ottoman period most of the walls of Belgrade have been constructed with stones extracted from here. However, the tradition of stone mining at this place goes all the way back to Roman times. During the Second World War, Germans used the abandoned mines to make underground shelters. On its surface, Tasmajdan is just a beautiful park with many benches, sports terrain and singing fountain. Also, do not miss to visit two beautiful churches – Church of St. Mark, which dominates the landscape and Temple of Holy Trinity – Russian Orthodox church located just behind it.
Skadarska (or Skadarlija) street is the central piece of the main bohemian quarter of Belgrade, that some like to compare to the streets of Paris’s Montmartre. This is the place where prominent Serbian artists had been gathering since the end of 19th century. Today this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, particularly during the warm months when its numerous taverns (locally known as kafana’s) bring their tables outside and live musicians revive the spirit of the old days. This is a great place to enjoy a nice traditional dinner and local wine, but high heels are not recommendable as it is almost impossible to walk on its old cobblestones.
One of the oldest parts of Belgrade, also the one of the most neglected parts and paradoxically, the most popular area lately. Savamala used to be the first settlement outside of the walls of Belgrade Fortress. In the early days of Belgrade this was the city center, but as the city grew the central area was shifted to Knez Mihailova and Savamala was transformed into an industrial zone. Today this is the urban design neighborhood and one of the hot spots of Belgrade nightlife. Savamala is known for its beautiful old architecture, with most popular buildings being Luka Ćelović’s merit, Geozavod building and Hotel Bristol. Three important cultural institutions are also located there: Magacin cultural center, Grad cultural center and Mikser house, as well as many bars and nightclubs.
Temple of Saint Sava
Saint Sava Temple is the largest Orthodox temple in the Balkans and one of the largest church buildings in the world. The dome is 70 m high, while the main gold-plated cross is another 12 m high, giving a total height of 82 m. It has a surface area of 3,500 m2 on the ground floor, with three galleries of 1,500 m2 on the first level, and a 120 m2 gallery on the second level. The Cathedral can accommodate 10,000 people while the choir gallery can seat 800 singers. The inner part of the temple is still under construction but it is open for visits and has regular service. Saint Sava Temple is known for its polyphonic bells which can be heard every full hour.
Saint Sava was a son of Serbian ruler Stefan Nemanja who renounced his crown in order to devote himself to Christianity. In 1219 he founded Serbian Orthodox Church and Hilandar Monastery on holy Athos Mountain in Greece. He is remembered as a Serbian educator, saint and patron of schools. In 1594, Serbs rose up against the Ottoman rule in Banat, during the Long War (1591–1606) and Saint Sava’s icon was a banner of their war flags. As a result, Ottoman Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha ordered for relics of Saint Sava at the time located in Mileševa monastery to be brought by military convoy to Belgrade. The relics were publicly incinerated on a pyre. This is why Saint Sava Temple is more than a religious building for Serbs, it is also a symbol of endurance of Serbian identity.
Ada used to be an island on Sava river, but it was turned into an artificial peninsula by connecting it to one river bank. Now on this side there is a lake known as “the sea of Belgrade” as this is the most popular area for suntanning and swimming in the summer. Circle around the lake is about 8km long, with bicycle lane going all the way, and there are few places there where you can rent a bicycle or roller-blades. The whole “island” is one huge green oasis with terrains for tennis, basketball, football, golf and paintball, as well as open-air gym’s, yoga, bungee jumping, rock climbing, adventure park, kayaking, fishing and many other sports areas. In short, this is a great place for active spirits and those who just want to relax in nature! There are also numerous cafes and restaurants on its beaches and few places that are popular nightlife spots, but make sure to have some cash on you, as most of them will not accept credit cards and it is notoriously difficult to find an ATM nearby!
Zemun used to be a separate town with its own history until 1934. Only with the development of New Belgrade in the late 20th century, Zemun became joined with Belgrade in a continuous urban area. The area of Zemun has been inhabited since Neolithic. The Zemun Fortress, located on the Gardoš hill, was mentioned as early as the 9th century. In the center of archaeological remains which date to the 15th century stands The Millenium Tower, also known as the tower of Sibinjanin Janko (John Hunyadi). This tower was erected by the Hungarian authorities in 1896 and renewed in 1962. From this place you can see the beautiful panorama of Belgrade, together with The Great war island, Kalemegdan fortress and the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers. Besides Gardoš hill, which is its most famous landmark, Zemun is known for the beautiful key with many restaurants, and old streets and houses which have interesting stories behind them. Zemun is also home to the first privately owned opera house in Serbia – Madlenianum, Pinokio Puppet Theater and Stara kapetanija, one of the most popular art galleries in this part of the city.
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