Belgrade Post-Modern: Ruins at the End of History

“The only way for us to become great, or even inimitable if possible, is to imitate the ancients.” Johann Joachim Winckelmann  “As is the case with the weather: rain and storms from the West reached us and so did Postmodernism. At the very beginning of Postmodernism, a great conference was held in Zagreb on that topic, which identified vectors and positive values ​​of the movement … Continue reading Belgrade Post-Modern: Ruins at the End of History

Sticky post

Karafindl: The Nutshell Times Good Kafana Guide

Given that the culinary scene in Serbia not only expanded, but changed sufficiently to attract the interest of Michelin guides, a few friends and I lamented the receding prominence of good Serbian kafanas on the culinary landscape. Yes, this is probably overly nostalgic and curmudgeonly, however once one hits a certain age, has had the chance to taste enough varied dishes and has been overcharged … Continue reading Karafindl: The Nutshell Times Good Kafana Guide

Occupation in 2-6 Pictures (2): Strahinja Janjić – a traitor’s traitor

On July 28th  1942, 36 year old Strahinja Janjić was taken to the infamous Banjica camp, on the charge of planning to assassinate Milan Nedić, the head of the puppet government that was helping the Germans control “German occupied territory of Serbia”. Banjica, ran in tandem by the Gestapo and Nedić’s government, claimed more than 3,800 lives and was the place where anti-fascist Serbs, Jews … Continue reading Occupation in 2-6 Pictures (2): Strahinja Janjić – a traitor’s traitor

Enjoying the sweat of your brow: Belgrade’s top spas

Ever since I came back to Belgrade in 2016, I put myself through countless arduous tasks in order to bring you the knowledge, dear Reader, of the best ways to spend time in my beloved hometown. This promethean striving led me to run, eat and listen to music, but no task was harder than trying to figure out what the best places are to spend … Continue reading Enjoying the sweat of your brow: Belgrade’s top spas

Hidden Belgrade (64): The Cursed Ghost Ship

Having been in a bit of a wedding frenzy over the past few days, I thought about the history of what I thought was one of the most beautiful and doomed wedding presents in Serbia: the “Dragor” river yacht, which I once read was a belated gift of the Romanian royal family to their daughter Marija on the occasion of her marriage to King Aleksandar … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (64): The Cursed Ghost Ship

Coffee in Belgrade: the first 500 years

During the first year of his reign, in 1521, Suleiman the Magnifient decided to out-do his great predecessor, Mehmed the Conqueror by trying to take two major bastions standing in the way of Ottoman expansion. The first was the island of Rhodes, then held by the Knights of St John, and the other one was Belgrade, a major fortress protecting Central Europe, held by the … Continue reading Coffee in Belgrade: the first 500 years

Hidden Belgrade (64): Community spaces

I only noticed Romansa, a Dorćol institution, when a friend of mine casually said it is where her mum likes hanging out with her neighbours. I probably ran and cycled past it hundreds of times – my wannabe yuppie fitness fervour very much at odds with the languor of its patrons, who, no matter the time of day, hung out in its pleasant tiny overgrown … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (64): Community spaces

Homosexuality in Serbia through the Ages

One of my first encounters with the concept of other sexualities was when, as kid visiting my grandmother`s tiny summer house in Montenegro I was walking around the yard and pointed to a far-away house on a land neighbouring ours and asked who lived there. „That was cousin M.`s house…“ she said, somewhat darkly, unlike her eager explanations of who else lived in the 20km … Continue reading Homosexuality in Serbia through the Ages

Hidden Belgrade (63): Finding Vračar and Belgrade’s holiest mound

On May 10 1594, the Ottoman rulers of Belgrade decided to make sure to make the point to their Serbian subjects that any resistance to their rule is futile. The reason was the first massive uprising against the Ottoman rule in Banat, which erupted in the spring of that year, motivated by the victories of Habsburg forces against the Ottoman army, which 73 years before … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (63): Finding Vračar and Belgrade’s holiest mound

Hidden Belgrade (62): The End

My first memory of cemeteries were incessant visits to my grandad’s grave at Belgrade’s New Cemetery what I was a little boy. My grandad passed away at the age of 65 in the middle of the greatest economic crisis in Serbia in 1993 and, even though I was five, I remember my grandma trying to honour his memory by making sure we properly arranged a … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (62): The End

Fast food: Indulging during Lent in Belgrade

Serbia enjoys a bit of a reputation for heavy feasting, especially involving copious amounts of grilled mince meat, and piglets and lambs roasting on spits. There, however, is another, deeply traditional side to our food, which, although somewhat unfashionable for a few generations, is coming back with the global rise of veganism and fasting and rediscovery of religious fervour in the country. Traditional Orthodox fasts … Continue reading Fast food: Indulging during Lent in Belgrade

Occupation in 2-6 Pictures: Beginning

On this day 80 years ago, 6 April 1941, my great-grandparents’s flat in Vuka Karadžića street in Belgrade was torn in two by the Nazi bombs. On the same day, their relative, who was a child at the time was almost killed in the debris the Stukas made of an air-raid shelter by the Ascension church. A few days later, as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia … Continue reading Occupation in 2-6 Pictures: Beginning

Belgrade Erotic Epic

Given it is Spring and the birds and bees and slowly appearing, here are a few (in)famous places in Belgrade, which shaped the sex life of the city. Oriental allure One of the best books about the life of sex workers in early to mid 19th century Belgrade is undoubtedly “Kata Nesiba i komentari” by Ivan Janković. Janković, a famous Belgrade activist and legal scholar … Continue reading Belgrade Erotic Epic

Hidden Belgrade (61): Old School Belgarde

Ever since the First Serbian uprising in 1804, education was a major component in building the nation, as well as its identity, in large thanks to the two major personages of Serbian Enlightenment: Dositej Obradović and Vuk Karadžić. The first major educational institution was the Great School, which was operational between 1809 and 1813. It was devised by Obradović and attended by Karadžić and was … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (61): Old School Belgarde

Hidden Belgrade (60): The sacred tree of Bulbulder

Ever since the ancient times, some trees and plants were regarded as holy by the Serbs and all other Slavs. Although Serbs were mostly Christianised in the 9th century, many of the old customs remained and were incorporated into Christian holiday rituals – such as burning of an oak tree branch on Christmas eve – especially after St Sava secured autocephaly (autonomy) of the Serbian … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (60): The sacred tree of Bulbulder

Belgrade, Peasantville

As Kingdom of Serbia was late to industrialise, modern Belgrade was a city built in large part with the money of proud peasants and cattle (esp. pig) merchants, more than happy to celebrate their rural heritage and especially the ornate dresses of Serbian villagers – this was especially popular as Orientalist and Romantic art, as well as Art Nouveau started looking for something to break … Continue reading Belgrade, Peasantville

Hindsight, 2020

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 … Continue reading Hindsight, 2020

Hidden Zemun

A vibrant city for itself for much of its history, Zemun is chock-full of history and quirky places, from its underground tunnels to a rather eerie stairway made of gravestones. Although settled since pre-history, it first entered recorded history as Taurunum when it was founded by the same Celtic tribe which founded Belgrade, Scordisci in 2nd BC. It was settled due to its great strategic … Continue reading Hidden Zemun

Hidden Belgrade (59): Yugoslavia’s Crib

Due to many destructions brought upon Serbia, there are a few houses that have been standing long enough and have been important enough to tell the story of the country’s history (and various incarnations). Thankfully however, one of them is located bang in the heart of Belgrade, at Terazije. One of the first works by one of Serbia’s first starchitects, Jovan Ilkić, this Neo-baroque house … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (59): Yugoslavia’s Crib

Making an entrance, Belgrade style

Entrances to buildings in Belgrade used to be stages where architects showed their utmost creativity in the interwar period. They were designed to woo potential tentants to buy or rent by making a block of flats look like a private castle, or to impose the serious nature of a company or official building. Some of my favourites were built while Belgrade modernism (local variant of … Continue reading Making an entrance, Belgrade style