Hidden Belgrade (3): Pre-hipster artisan shops

I have always claimed that Serbs (and Balkan folk in general) have been the original hipsters. Long before “Kinfolk” and “Monocle”, my grandmother, who was born and lived her whole life in Belgrade, roasted and ground her own coffee, ate only organic food from the farmers’ market and shopped at the local artisan stores, from seamstresses to small pastry-makers.

Old artisan shops, the remnants of this ur-hipsterdom, are still around Belgarde but are disappearing fast. Even though some of them, like the perfume maker “Sava” in Kralja Petra (Belgrade’s original shopping street), have received great publicity and that everything seems to be “artisanal” these days, their fortunes do not seem to be improving. Some of this is because their products (top hats, typewiters), like their interiors seem to be stuck in a different era. This, of course, is great for charm, but bad for business.

That is why you should try to see them while they are still running for real, and their Wes Anderson-esque interiors are not turned into the drab concrete/exposed lightbulb hipster haunts.

The best place to start is Balkanska street, more specifically, pastry shop “Orijent” (since 1950s) where you can get Belgrade’s best rice pudding and halva. Consdier getting your hat at “Rade” or a belt at “Sava” . You can then get the haircut at the hair salon from 1932 in Kralja Petra next to Societe Generale building. You can then go down to Sava’s perfume shop and get “Belgrade night” his signature scent. If you are still hungry you can also stop by at “Bosiljčić” turkish delight shop in Gavrila Principa.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Like any city that has been around for about two millennia, Belgrade is filled with fantastic stories of people and places that have made it what it is . Unfortunately, due to its turbulent past,  frequent destructions and mass migrations, many of these stories are precariously close to perishing. In the time when even the most beautiful old house can fall prey to a sledgehammer or a “modernisation” and when politics can change histories of our predecessors, it is especially important to try to remember and appreciate.
That is why, though this series I want to tell stories about lesser known people and places, some of which are disappearing in front of our eyes. The focus will be more on the tangible and (relatively) easily accessible: buildings, ornaments and objects, less on simple history. The only criteria for inclusion is that it managed to astonish me. 
I decided to write in English so that even visitors to our fair city can learn from it, however to make the text flow, I will assume prior knowledge of Serbian history, but will try to link with additional explanatory material. I am also very grateful for any pointers and corrections, as I mostly work with easily available information.
If you find this interesting, please do like the blog, share the posts or notify me if you would like to use the material. 

3 thoughts on “Hidden Belgrade (3): Pre-hipster artisan shops

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.