Hidden Belgrade (10): Grand Hotels of Belgrade

Given its place on the major East-West trade routes, hotels and inns played an important role in the development of Belgrade. Although none of the great hans/caravan serais from the Ottoman era remain in the city, there are several major hotels from 19th and 20th centuries which still remain open. These hotels not only offered the first glimpse of Serbia to weary travellers, but they … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (10): Grand Hotels of Belgrade

Hidden Belgrade (9): The forgotten golden age of Belgrade

In 16th century Belgrade was considered the only city that lay between Ottomans and Western Europe. Located at the very edge of the Hungarian kingdom, the city’s fortress protected the Pannonian plains from the Turkish assault and was often attacked by the Ottoman armies from the nearby Turkish-held fortifications that were as close to the city as Avala, where the Ottomans held the town of … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (9): The forgotten golden age of Belgrade

Hidden Belgrade (8): The mysterious green heart of Belgrade

The beauty of the Great War Island is hiding in plain sight. Although bang in the middle of the confluence of the Sava into the Danube, its thick forest, inaccessible for most of the year, make it seem like an enchanted kingdom, choked by the grey concrete of New Belgrade and watched over by the Belgrade fortress. This uninhabited heart-shaped refuge for birds survived due … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (8): The mysterious green heart of Belgrade

Hidden Belgrade (7): The fall of Ikarus

Tragically named airplane factory that found its way to the hearts of New Belgraders Ikarus was the first Yugoslav airplane factory, founded in 1923, in Novi Sad.  As expected for an aircraft factory named after the first known air accident with a human fatality, Ikarus had suitably a bumpy start as it almost went bankrupt before it started producing planes. Neverthelss, after a bit of … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (7): The fall of Ikarus

Hidden Belgrade (6): Hristifor Crnilović’s extraordinary passion project

Hristifor Crnilović’s life was an exciting one, certainly more than his slightly pompous old-school name and passion for national costumes, would let on. Born in a middling family in Vlasotice in 1886, Crnilović decided to pursue a painterly career and moved to Munich to learn his trade. In Munich, according to one source, he was in class with Adolf Hitler to prepare them for the … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (6): Hristifor Crnilović’s extraordinary passion project

Hidden Belgrade (5): Museum Macura

Due to the low public and private investment in art in Serbia in the past three decades, there have been only a few remarkable additions to the cultural map of Belgrade, and quite a few remarkable subtractions, like the National Museum and Museum of Contemporary art. Probably the most exciting new(ish) spot in greater Belgrade’s museum scene is a temple to 20th century avant-garde perched … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (5): Museum Macura

Hidden Belgrade (4): Unusual churches

Although Belgrade’s oldest existing religious building is in fact Bajrakli mosque (built in 1575), it is the Orthodox Cathedral,  Temple of St Sava and St Mark’s church that came to define iconic city views. In the recent boom in church building there are few new interesting places of worship, as most of the new temples are built according to conservative tastes of churchgoers.  Nevertheless, there are three fantastic … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (4): Unusual churches

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 … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (3): Pre-hipster artisan shops

Hidden Belgrade (2): Legacy of Petar Lubarda in Dedinje

This year marks 110 years since the birth of Petar Lubarda, one of the most accomplished Yugoslav artists. Lubarda’s colourful, raw works, reminiscent of the barren and dramatic landscapes of his native Montenegro, achieved international recognition during the 1950s and 60s. His career peaked when he beat Picasso and Dali for a Grand Prix at Sao Paolo Art Biennial in 1953. A stone’s throw away … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (2): Legacy of Petar Lubarda in Dedinje

Hidden Belgrade (1): Works of Dragutin Inkiostri Medenjak

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 … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (1): Works of Dragutin Inkiostri Medenjak