The City – Belgrade Walking Tours

The City

Giardino Segreto
Rarely can you find a scene like this less than 100 m from the Cathedral. But in Belgrade you can. This is the atmosphere of Kosančićev Venac, like a standstill in time, intimistic.
Civilisation. Puzzles
Could you tell the three arches in the top right corner are the pieces of Roman thermae dating back to the end of the 3rd century? The monument to Njegoš, an iconic XIX century personality from Serbian and Montenegrin history, a monarch, a monk, a poet, a handsome philosopher. The piazzeta where we as students protested during the 90s, confident we knew best.
A Happy Prince and Other Tales
The monument to prince Mihailo Obrenović who saw through for the Ottoman presence in Serbia to end. Modernised the country along the European models. Assassinated for political and dynastic reasons. There is a certain cherchez la femme angle to the assassination.
Roaring lions, burnt paws
A luxurious building built for a bank in the 30ies, then the seat to a big socially-owned export company after the WWII, today stands still and unwanted, as it still cannot find a proper buyer.
Waiting for a happy end
A curious story of its construction spanned thirty years, to house several states of different names, territories and political systems successively.
Proverbial light at the end of the tunnel…
can sometimes be reached with a cup of coffee or a glass of spirit.
I like the colour, this is not just any blue. Today the seat of the President of Serbia, it was built as a court for Karadjordjević dynasty. After the court palace moved to Dedinje, it was a museum, that hosted even blockbuster exhibitions of the time, between the two world wars.
Putti. The birth of Yugoslavia
Putti in Belgrade are not that many. We wish there were more of those chubby feet around. The building is the physical birthplace of Yugoslavia.It is here that then king of Serbia, who was residing here as the nearby court was heavily damaged, proclaimed the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians at the end of the WWI.
Yugoslav Drama
The building is JDP - Yugoslav Drama Theatre. Our favourite in the recent production is Metamorphoses by Ovid, an ultimate love story.
Along the way
Little marvels behind the facades or just off the main streets.

This walk is a good-old-classic to see and read the landmarks and get the initial orientation in the city. And to find out about little marvels along the way! If the Fortress is the story of Belgrade built and destroyed by the empires, this is the story of Belgrade’s own past, 19th and 20th century, when it became the capital of Serbia and later Yugoslavia. It is a story and a map of cultural, urbanistic, political and economic transformation from a Balkan kassaba into the capital of Serbia free from the Ottomans, shaped after European models.

We start at the atmospheric Kosančićev Venac with its cobbled streets and sleepy feel, on the top of the reef above the right bank of Sava river. This is where the beginnings of modern Belgrade and Serbia were set in the 19th century: the Central European looking Cathedral, still oriental looking palace of the ruler’s wife Princess Ljubica and the oldest preserved tavern. (Remind me to tell you the story of Princess Ljubica and the later Serbian princesses and queens as we go).

We then stroll along elegant streets and squares, with the palaces of European historical and modern styles, built by wealthy merchants, prominent members of the society and financial institutions.

Here was the stage of important historical events and today this is where hundreds thousands people roam within their daily lives.

We will walk by the royal palaces of the two rival dynasties, today the City Hall and the seat of the President of Serbia. The near by Parliament tells a curious story of its construction and history.

While passing by you will find out about those not so obvious places to enrich your experience of Belgrade: where to turn left for a bohemian feel or right for a particular ambient, where you can visit a collection of icons or elegant in-apartment displays of a Nobel Laureate Ivo Andrić or painter Paja Jovanović, where you can see established and emerging artists on display, what to eat where, where the theme shops or cafes are.

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