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

#94 Vladimir Bajagić o pokretanju Majstora i Margarite, fantastične, pun-tastične picerije…

Vladimir Bajagić je pokrenuo Majstora i Margaritu 2017. sa prijateljima u maloj radnji u Balkanskoj ulici u Beogradu. Ove godine ova prelepa picerija je uvrštena na listu 50. najboljih u Evropi (van Italije) i skoro se preselila u veći prostor u Vuka Karadžića, sve tokom jedne od najvećih kriza u ugostiteljstvu. Sa Vladimirom sam pričao o putu do Majstora i Margarite, izazovima koje je donela … Continue reading #94 Vladimir Bajagić o pokretanju Majstora i Margarite, fantastične, pun-tastične picerije…

Pokretači #92 Bojana Brkić o Boya porcelanu, zanatu i ženskom preduzetništvu

Bojana Brkić je pokretačka sila iza jedinstvene beogradske manufakture porcelana: Boya porcelain. Pričali smo o tome kako izgleda proširivanje i uozbiljavanje porodičnog zanatskog posla, o bavljenju zanatom i predrasudama i drugim poteškoćama sa kojima se suočavaju žene u preduzetntištvu. Beleške Boya online shop i sajt, Facebook stranica i Instagram Lista svih epizoda Pokretača sa pokretačicama Bojana u Sofri Sredom Moj (stari) članak o zanimljivim mestima … Continue reading Pokretači #92 Bojana Brkić o Boya porcelanu, zanatu i ženskom preduzetništvu

Hidden Belgrade (58): Boosting Belgrade’s Economy, Ottoman Style

Although the idea of building malls and hotels to boost Belgrade’s economy seems very contemporary, however it has a long pre-history. A bit more than fifty years after Belgrade was conquered by Suleiman the Magnificent, between 1572 and 1578, the Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha (known in Serbia as Mehmed-paša Sokolović), who was immortalised in Ivo Andrić’s “the Bridge over Drina” decided to boost Belgrade’s … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (58): Boosting Belgrade’s Economy, Ottoman Style

Treats and Tricks: A Brief History of Serbia’s Favourite Sweets

Sweets are not the first thing you would associate with Serbia and, traditionally, they did not have a prominent place in the country’s cuisine.  In Serbia, the need for sugary treats was traditionally sated by plentiful fruit and preserves. Indeed, in one part of Njegoš’s epic Mountain Wreath (Gorski Vijenac), in describing his trip to Venice, duke Draško complains that the Venetians only subsisted on … Continue reading Treats and Tricks: A Brief History of Serbia’s Favourite Sweets

Hidden Belgrade (57): Friends in need… or how Czechs and Slovaks shaped Belgrade

In the past few years much is made about Serbia’s alliances, whether old (albeit tumultuous) ones like those with Russia and France and or relatively recent ones with China and the UAE. Despite many memorial events in the past few years related to 80th anniversary of the start and 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, it is remarkable that no one decided to mark … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (57): Friends in need… or how Czechs and Slovaks shaped Belgrade

Hidden Belgrade (56): Prehistoric Belgrade

As the world seems to be teetering on the edge of a catastrophe in the past few years, many are looking back to pre-history for answers, whether it is in terms of diet (paleo!) or socio-political hot takes, from evolutionary psychology-based recommendations to (the very controversial) Bronze Age Mindset. No stranger to political controversies in more recent times, Belgrade (and Serbia) is the for pre-history … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (56): Prehistoric Belgrade

All The Belgrade Olympics That Didn’t Happen

Ever since their modern re-incarnation, the Olympics are an opportunity for countries to show off their wealth, might and cultural sophistication, all under a pleasant guise of global unity, fair play and athletic achievement. They are certainly the most enduring and spectacular pinnacle of Belle Époque intellectual trends from increased importance of sports in individual and social development (e.g. the Sokol movement), globalism, international competition, … Continue reading All The Belgrade Olympics That Didn’t Happen

Belgrade’s Lost Monuments

As a city which went through significant turmoils in its modern, post-Ottoman history – from brutal occupations in WWI and WWII to major political changes in 1903, after WWII and in 2000 – Belgrade has had its fair share of monument destructions, however mostly at the hands of its occupiers. Unsurprisingly, removal of monuments to the recent past happened most immediately after the Partizans took … Continue reading Belgrade’s Lost Monuments

Hidden Belgrade (55): Easy Urban Hikes

Given that this summer it will be more difficult and stressful for Belgraders to leave the city for their preferred coastlines of Greece, Croatia and Montenegro, we will be forced to be creative during our staycations. Thankfully, thanks to its geography, in Belgrade you are never too far away from places to escape the heat, have a nice hike and even see some of its … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (55): Easy Urban Hikes

An African-American Star in 1920s Yugoslavia

In April 1929, Josephine Baker was the first African-American star to visit Belgrade, while she was on her tour around Central Europe on the Orient Express. The visit came during her peak popularity in Paris, just before she made her hit „J’ai deux Amours”, and while she was still shunned in her native US, despite entrancing everyone with her dance and skimpy exotic outfits. She … Continue reading An African-American Star in 1920s Yugoslavia

Hidden Belgrade (54): A death and a riot which changed Belgrade’s history

Back in 1862, Zerek, was a warren of streets and gardens in still very much Ottoman Belgrade. Hugging the fortress which still held an Ottoman garrison lorded over an Ottoman Pasha, it was the home of the remnants of the Muslim Ottoman population, nestled within the crumbling city walls above one of the main cross roads at Dorćol and the Jewish quarter of Jalija and … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (54): A death and a riot which changed Belgrade’s history

Hidden Belgrade (53): Belgrade’s Most Storied Church

Church of the Ascension (Vaznesenjska crkva) lacks the glitz of Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel (Saborna crkva), the grandeur of St. Mark’s and St. Sava’s, or romance of Ružica and Topčider church, but there are few churches, in the city who witnessed as many dramatic and glorious events in the city’s history. That was maybe its fate from the beginning given that it … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (53): Belgrade’s Most Storied Church

Hidden Belgrade (52): Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Belgrade Zoo

Belgrade Zoo was opened in July 1936, by its modernising mayor and wealthy industrialist Vladmiri Ilić, who donated the animals. Nestled in Belgrade fortress, it brought a whiff of exoticism to the city and attracted its elite, as well as the Royal Family, then officially headed by teenage King Peter II. It was part of the grand plans of beautification of Belgrade Fortress and Kalemegdan … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (52): Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Belgrade Zoo