Hidden Belgrade (41): Occult Belgrade

Given Belgrade’s long and bloody history it is almost a wonder that there is not a larger number of stories of hauntings and other occult occurrences. This is even more remarkable considering that Serbia has a long association with and interest in the occult – from being connected with vampire crazes since 18th century (we invented the word after all), to its prominent role in … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (41): Occult Belgrade

Hidden Belgrade (40): National Assembly’s Grand Interior

Built in 1936, on the spot of the former Batal mosque, and just across the road from the royal place complex, the National Assembly building, was built to impress the power and ambitions of the ill-fated Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The outdated, Belle Epoque grandeur of its exterior was based on a design by Konstantin Jovanović in 1892, (later modified by Jovan and Petar Ilkić in … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (40): National Assembly’s Grand Interior

Best of Belgrade June 2019: Ultimate Belgrade Eating and Drinking Guide

It’s been a while since I’ve done a list of Belgrade’s best spots for eating and drinking. Part of the reason is my laziness, and the other part is that in the past few years, there has been a boom in the offer. While before there were a few new places worth checking out every month, now there is enough to lose track (thankfully insta-fiends … Continue reading Best of Belgrade June 2019: Ultimate Belgrade Eating and Drinking Guide

Faces and Blossoms of Art Nouveau in Serbia

From the curvy floral beauty of the Subotica’s Synagogue to the Morava-style inspired rosettes on Belgrade’s telegraph building, Art Nouveau architecture takes various shapes in present-day Serbia. This diversity was in large part because this sensuous new style, originating in late 1800s France, was used as an artistic expression of national romanticism that gripped Europe those days. Back in early 1900s, north of the Sava … Continue reading Faces and Blossoms of Art Nouveau in Serbia

Smellscape of Belgrade

Faintness of wisteria in Krunska. Sweet roses on the Danube run. Endless evenings under the lindens in Palmotićeva. Chlorine and sunscreen at Taš. Damp asphalt and grass at Ušće. Muddiness of the last dip at Ada. Charred paprika skins, hinting ajvar. Crisp smog around Bajloni. Eau de Kafana and wool, tumbling through a December night. Smogless, snowy morning in an empty city. Dusty seats of … Continue reading Smellscape of Belgrade

Beyond Brutalism: Belgrade’s Magical Pre-WWII Architecture

Although best known for socialist modernism and brutalism, Belgrade’s architecture is (in)famously eclectic due to the various political twists and turns that shaped the city’s identity (as I’ve written here). Although through much of the 19th century, Belgrade’s foreign and foreign-educated architects were trying to find their feet by copying architecture of Serbia’s powerful neighbours, in early 20th century and arrival of art-nouveau, which embraced … Continue reading Beyond Brutalism: Belgrade’s Magical Pre-WWII Architecture

Hidden Belgrade (38): Great Men Behind National Museum’s Tiny Egyptology Collection

Ever since Napoleon invaded Egypt at the turn of 19th Century, having  an Egyptological collection was a status symbol in the West. These collections, stuffed with precious ,strange mummies, statuses of animal-headed gods and golden trinkets not only served to pique the curiosity of the local educated elites but were also a symbol of civilisational continuity: that its current rulers and citizens are physically connected … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (38): Great Men Behind National Museum’s Tiny Egyptology Collection

Hip Markets to Majestic Mosaics: Four Things to Look Forward to in Belgrade in 2019

Due to a culture of unrealistic promises and hectic decision-making, it is often impossible to know for certain when, and even if things will happen in Belgrade. Nevertheless, in order to keep the spirits up during these dark snowy days here are four things, with a reasonably high probability of happing, which I hope will make life in Belgrade a bit more fun this year. … Continue reading Hip Markets to Majestic Mosaics: Four Things to Look Forward to in Belgrade in 2019

Christmas in Belgrade

Like with many thing, I only became aware of the joys of Serbian Christmas (explainer of what that means, and why it is on Jan 7 here), when I could no longer enjoy them. The day when it happened was 6 Jan 2008, at Heathrow,  and during the train trip to the outskirts of Coventry, UK where I was going for my second term at … Continue reading Christmas in Belgrade

Hidden Belgrade (36): ‘German Bridge’ and its Hero

Belgrade’s relationship with this iconic green-arched bridge, the city’s shortest and oldest continuously standing, started off in the worst possible way during the darkest days of World War II. After Nazi Germany attacked the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941, the Royal Yugoslav Army blew up all of Belgrade’s bridges on the Sava and the Danube in order to slow down the enemy advance. … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (36): ‘German Bridge’ and its Hero

Hidden Belgrade (35): The Home of Serbian Expansionist Project

On August 10 1889, cannons announced the arrival of the teenage King Aleksandar Obrenovic to an empty plot in Dusanova street. Although cleared for years, the spot at which the young king was standing, held the remains of two empires between which the young Kingdom of Serbia was slowly growing. It used to be “Pirinc-han”: the palace of Eugene of Savoy during the Habsburg rule … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (35): The Home of Serbian Expansionist Project

Hidden Belgrade (34): Rabbi Alkalai, Zemun and Zionism

Although in the past few decades Zemun is best known for its tough guys (read: mafiosi), great lively restaurants a more chilled vibe than old Belgrade, this ancient town has for centuries been a vibrant melting pot of various cultures, drawing merchants and craftspeople to the border of Central Europe and the Orient, which, for centuries lay on the banks of the Danube. Despite many … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (34): Rabbi Alkalai, Zemun and Zionism

How to Bust Post-Holiday Blues in Belgrade

Although I love Summer (and especially late Summer) in Belgrade, coming back from holidays is always a shock, especially if you have to immediately go to the office. All the golden, calm feeling of chilling at the beach, hiking or just doing something  different can quickly disappear, to be replaced by the seeping anxiety of returning to the glum daily grind and all the problems you … Continue reading How to Bust Post-Holiday Blues in Belgrade

Best Three Places to Visit If You Are Planning a Staycation in Belgrade

Belgraders are often restless to escape the congested streets of the capital. Thankfully, they need not go far: there are plenty of hidden gems within reach to sate your wanderlust if strapped for time or money to venture further.   Grocka’s Archeological Treasures  A 40-minute drive east from central Belgrade, spread over hills above the Danube, Grocka has been a popular place for Belgraders to … Continue reading Best Three Places to Visit If You Are Planning a Staycation in Belgrade