The year was supposed to be a one of normalcy and return to glory.
Belgrade started celebrating early in 2020 as the restored Victor returned to Kalemegdan in February. Tourism, already on the up for the past half decade, was supposed to continue booming and things were supposed to go as usual.
Then, of course, everything was turned upside-down with the arrival of COVID.
State of emergency, March-May curfew, empty streets and then protests in July made Belgrade unrecognisable. Although we had FEST, all other cultural staples of Belgrade life almost completely disappeared including its much hyped Oktobarski salon. Tourists vanished from the streets, and city’s famed restaurants, kafanas and clubs lay mostly deserted for long stretches of time.
But the city also physically morphed with building works in Cara Dušana, Sava promenade, construction of the Stefan Nemanja monument and progress on Belgrade Waterfront, as well as construction of the city’s new tallest building in Blok 63. St Sava church mosaics are now almost fully completed, unfortunately just shortly before the monumental church started its role as the resting place for Serbian patriarchs with the passing of Patriarch Irinej. .
Belgrade felt like a strange new city for most of the year. We needed to find new ways of living in it, without much travel, nightlife or each other, and also train our eyes on the new and old sights.