Serbia is a multinational country with a rich and complicated history. The territory of the current state includes lands previously owned by Hungarians, Turks and other peoples. Its culture was affected by the influence of East and West. The capital city of Belgrade, unlike many European capitals, is quiet and calm. The houses of the cobbled streets of the old quarters are like doll houses. The new areas, with their dilapidated walls, remind of Yugoslavia and military aggression by NATO. The nature of plains and plateaus is rich in greenery and full-flowing rivers.
Belgrade Fortress is located in a picturesque place where the Sava River flows into the Danube. Strategically important location determined the fate of the citadel. Like the confluence of two water streams, the economic, political and cultural paths of the East and West converged here. Fierce battles were fought hundreds of times for fortification; tens of times its walls were partially or completely destroyed. Nowadays it is peaceful and calm, because now it is one of the most significant historical monuments for Belgrade. The Belgrade fortress was built 2 millennia ago from white stone, where the name of the city came from. High fortified walls are adjacent to the large cozy park Kalemegdan. The word is translated from Turkish as “battlefield”.
The Turks called the stone fortification a “hill of thoughts”, which corresponds to the atmosphere of peace reigning here. The name of the garden Kalemegdan was assigned to the citadel. Within the walls of the Belgrade fortress are 12 gates, the main of which are Istanbul. Walking along the pedestrian street of Prince Mikhail with its bright shop windows, you will find yourself in Kalemegdan. You can also get there by public transport.
Entrance to the territory is free. Of interest to tourists is not only the fortress, but also several museums, existing churches, towers, statues and the Roman well. For 10-15 euros you can join the tour and learn more about the centuries-old history of this place, its myths and legends. Capital residents have chosen Kalemegdan for relaxation.
A fascinating view of the city opens from the observation deck. On holidays, concerts and festivities are organized on the territory of the park, and on weekdays you can sit in a cafe or just eat ice cream.
The walls of the Belgrade fortress are conveniently located a spacious zoo with the saying “Park of good hope.” In its history, it was bombarded three times: twice during the Second World War and in 1999 during the armed conflict between NATO and Yugoslavia. In memory of those days, the zoo got its bright name, and its leadership seeks to keep pets in the most comfortable conditions. The zoo is home to more than 2 thousand individuals of 270 species of animals and birds. At the same time, they are looked after properly: the freedom of pets is almost unlimited, and their cleanliness pleasantly surprises. Feathered walk along the paths of the zoo. In a special pavilion you can play with lambs, kids and others.
The zoo of Belgrade distinguishes several of its attractions from the rest. Since 1986, special attention has been paid to albinos. Animals with a white color are collected around the world as a symbol of the “white city”. In the year of the last shelling, a baby elephant was born in the zoological garden. He was given the nickname Rambouillet by the name of the city in France, in which peace talks were held regarding the situation in Kosovo. Veteran of the zoo can be considered the world’s oldest alligator Muya, who appeared here in 1937. The menagerie meets its visitors from 8.00 to 19.30 in the summer, and until 17.00 – in the winter. Ticket sales end a little earlier. The cost of visiting: 400 Serbian dinars (about 4 euros) from 15 years, 300 dinars (3 euros) – from 3 to 15 years. To avoid confusion, carry cash in the national currency and do not give food to animals. After the death of a giraffe through the fault of visitors, the size of the fine for feeding animals was greatly increased.
Princess Lyubitsa Palace
How do you imagine the palace for the princess? In fairy tales it is described as a high castle surrounded by two-meter walls. But in life, everything is a little different. One of the most beautiful buildings of the old city is the palace of the princess (she is also called the princess) of Lyubitsa. The low-rise house, traditional for Belgrade, in white, was erected in 1830 by decree of Prince Milos Obrenovic in the place of their old dwelling. In the new building made 3 floors, one of them is a basement. On the second floor next to the princess’ chambers, a hammam was arranged. Over a two-century history, the palace has changed several destinations.
At different times, it housed a lyceum, a court, a boarding school for the deaf, various museums. At the end of the 20th century, the building was declared a cultural monument and restored. Now the former residence of the wife of Prince Milos is part of the Museum of the capital of Serbia. The palace is valuable in that its architecture, layout and interior decoration are an excellent example of the combination of eastern and European culture of the 19th century.
The museum’s collection consists of furniture and art, personal items of the princess. Here are excursions with the saying “Coffee with Princess Lubitz.” The museum keepers will not only tell the history of the palace and the life features of the ruling family, but also treat them with strong Turkish coffee with Turkish delight. In the basement periodically informative lectures of cultural and historical subjects and creative evenings are held. The cultural monument is located in the old part of the city near the Kalemegdan fortress. Ticket price will be 200 Serbian dinars. There are discounts for students. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Day off: Monday. The exhibition is allowed to photograph without the use of flash.
St. Sava Cathedral
In Belgrade, white is an unofficial symbol of the city. On the hill Vračar in the center of the Serbian capital rises the majestic church of St. Sava of Serbia, built of white marble. According to Christian canons, the sanctuary is not a cathedral, but thanks to its impressive size, this name was entrenched in the people. It is one of the largest Orthodox buildings in the world. Its height is 82 meters, 18 crosses crown the bathing, 49 bells fit in the bell tower. Indoors, at the same time, 10 thousand believers can be present, the choir is designed for 800 singers.
The landmark has no centuries-old history, but a monument was erected on the site of the burning of the relics of St. Sava according to the prototype of St. Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople. Planning for construction began in 1894, and the “first brick” was laid only 40 years later. Since 2004, the temple is considered open to parishioners; it still has not completed the interior decoration. It is worth a glimpse for the sake of the huge and amazing mosaic of Jesus Christ, located under the central dome. Finding the Cathedral of St. Sava is not difficult. It is located in the center of Belgrade on a hill and majestically rises above the city. Around the temple is a cozy park, nearby is the National Library of Serbia.
Museum of Nikola Tesla
Each nation has its own heroes. The Serbs are proud of their great compatriot scientist, whose work has had a tremendous significance on the development of science. The only official museum of Nikola Tesla is located in a small mansion in Belgrade. Even if you have no idea who this man was and why he is considered a great physicist, be sure to visit the museum. Here, an excursion takes place every hour, the first part of which consists of a short video and a short guide story, the second part is much more interested in demonstrating the experiments once conducted by the inventor.
During the experiments, everyone can feel like a Jedi and an illusionist. The glowing “sword” and lightning from touching the Tesla coil are real phenomena that were subsequently shown in films and computer games. In addition to the exposition of various equipment for experiments, the exhibition has a collection of personal items and original documents owned by Nicola Tesla. Among other exhibits is a urn with the ashes of a scientist. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. For those who understand the Serbian language, the tour will cost 250 Serbian dinars. For English-speaking tourists, the cost will be 500 Serbian dinars, and for groups of 10 people – 300. For children under 7 years, admission is free. The mansion is located in the central part of Belgrade at the address: ul. Krunska 51.
House of flowers
The flower house in Belgrade has an indirect relation to floristry, in fact it is a mausoleum in which the bodies of former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito and his last wife rest. The memorial complex was originally a greenhouse in the residence of the Marshal. In his free time, Tito liked to plant flowers and take care of the garden. Now silence and tranquility reign in the pavilions, trees grow, bizarre statues stand. You will not find an open coffin with an embalmed body, only a memorial plate. In the tomb is a small museum of Josip Tito. His collection includes some personal items and numerous gifts received by the former president from officials. The mausoleum is often not crowded. On the birthday of the father of the people on May 25 and on the day of his death on May 4, the memorial complex is visited by the family, friends and comrades of Josip Broz Tito. The flower house is located on the outskirts of the city. Nearby is the Museum of the History of Yugoslavia. You can get to them by trolleybuses that run along routes No. 40 and 41. Mausoleum opening hours: from 10.00 to 18.00. Day off: Monday.
Ticket price: 300 dinars (approximately 3 euros).
Being in museums, having seen enough of various sights of the capital of Serbia, it is pleasant to walk along a quiet street, to sit in a cozy restaurant. In Belgrade, its old part, there is a small region of Skardalia, which is considered to be Bohemian, and travelers compare it with Parisian Montmartre, Odessa Deribasovskaya, and Moscow Old Arbat. On a street with a stone pavement, it is deserted during the day. Toward evening, street artists and musicians appear here, selling souvenirs and trinkets from the stalls. There are antique shops in Scardalia, where you can plunge deeper into the culture of the Serbs. The oldest restaurants in the city are also located here. To live music in a cozy atmosphere you will get acquainted with the national cuisine, hearty and varied.
Initially, the area was inhabited by people with creative professions, they were attracted to inexpensive apartments and delicious food in neighboring cafes. Writers, poets, actors and dancers created an atmosphere of constant celebration in the quarter. This light mood is still in the air. The brick walls of low houses are painted like canvases and decorated with fresh flowers. The Skardalia quarter is easy to find in the Stari Grad community nearby the Republic Square. Tourists are advised to carry Serbian dinars in case you should decide to buy some souvenirs or have dinner. Girls should not shoe high-heeled shoes and thin stilettos.
Gardosh Hill and Millennium Tower
In order to look at Belgrade from above, you don’t need to parachute or fly by helicopter, just climb to the observation deck of the Millennium Tower (also called the Yanko Tower), towering on Gardosh Hill in the ancient Zemun district. The building, 36 meters high, was built in the 19th century, when this land was part of Austria-Hungary. The government erected a monument as a symbol of the millennium of the settlement of Hungarians on the banks of the Danube. Hence the name of the tower. It makes sense to climb Gardosh Hill not only for the panorama of the city. Walking to the hill on Zemun will be a pleasant pastime both in the morning and in the evening. The tower is open around the clock and admission is free. For 15-20 euros, you can join the tour with a Russian-speaking guide.
The old quarters can be reached by buses coming from the city center. Routes Nos. 704, 706 and 707 lead here. The closest Zemun Pochta stop is to the tower, but you can get off earlier and take a walk along the narrow, winding bridge past the toy houses to the stairs on Stara Visoka Street. You will be taken to the Millennium Tower. On the way to the hill you will find several small churches that add color to the bedroom area, which has preserved the best traditions of Europe. A road leads to the hill from the picturesque wide riverbed of the Danube, along which the city promenade stretches with an alley, benches and stunning views. Not far from it there are several small restaurants and cafes in which they cook deliciously at home. On the menu, pay attention to dishes of fresh fish caught in local rivers.
Avalan TV Tower
The Millennium Tower in the old quarter of Gardosh is an authentic monument of Slavic culture. A more modern high-rise building in Belgrade, which majestically rushes into the sky of the capital, is the Aval TV Tower. The attraction is of interest to tourists for several reasons. Firstly, there are no buildings above it on the Balkan Peninsula. Secondly, all over the world there are only a few buildings for which the basis is an equilateral triangle. Thirdly, the tower was completely destroyed during the military conflict with NATO in 1999. It was completely restored and in 2010 is open to the public.
Aval TV Tower is located outside the city on Mount Avala. Near it, 3 monuments of different times were erected. You can get to the place from the capital by regular buses No. 401, 403 and 405. In the summer, on the weekend, an additional route No. 400 is launched. The cost of visiting the observation deck is 200 dinars. For 400 dinars, you can buy a ticket that includes a drink in the restaurant located above. The height of the TV tower reaches 205 meters, and the exit to the site is at a distance of 119 meters from the ground. Here the wind blows and is cool enough, so sitting at the cafe with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate will be more pleasant to watch the panorama that opens. Aval TV Tower greets its visitors daily from 9.00 to 20.00.
The second tallest building in the Serbian capital is the Genex skyscraper, also known as the “West Gate of Belgrade”. Its highest point is 140 meters. The bizarre, futuristic structure was designed and erected in 1977, when Art Nouveau and brutalism dominated the architecture. The skyscraper consists of 2 buildings of 35 floors, connected from above by a two-story bridge with a rotating turret.
Inside this design is a restaurant. Be sure to dine in it if you are not afraid of heights. From the windows of the institution offers a bewitching view of the western part of Belgrade. Due to its originality, the complex is perhaps the most memorable in all of Eastern Europe. Some publications include him in dozens of the most unusual skyscrapers in the world. The house received its unofficial name because of the Genex company, which occupies one half of the skyscraper. To get to the sights, use buses number 65, 74.
One of the oldest military fortifications in Serbia is considered a fortress with the unusual name of Vrsac. It is located at the foot of the Carpathians to the west of the border with Romania. The citadel was built in the 15th century during the Turkish wars from granite and mica, therefore, after reconstruction on sunny days, its walls seem to glow. The fortress rises high above the city that grew next to it. The heroic history of the Serbian army is reflected in the coat of arms of Vrsac. The distance from Belgrade to the fortress is about 90 km. Going here just for the sake of the fortress is not worth it, only the castle and several fortress walls remained intact. Set aside a day to explore the ancient city of Vrsac and its attractions.
The historical part of the city is attracted by such architectural monuments as St. Nicholas Cathedral, “Vladichansky Dvor”, St. Gerhard Cathedral and the City Hall. In the vicinity of Vrsac there is the Monastery of Mesic and the town of Bela Crkva. A tour of the historical sites can be diluted with a visit to the winery and a tasting of local wines. Public transport runs from the capital of Serbia to the city of Vrsac. In order to have time in one day to see all the important historical monuments of this part of the country and visit the vineyards, it is better to use the services of guides. The price of the tour depends on the duration of the trip, the route and the number of people in the group.