Going “Down South”

Apart from expressions of admiration for the beauty we were almost constantly seeing, the most common conversation topic within my group touring Serbian heritage sites in Kosovo and Metohija was hushed and almost embarrassed question: „Why did you decide to come here?“.  It was closely followed by an admission, that seemed to unite all of us : “My friends and family thought  that I was … Continue reading Going “Down South”

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Morava Style: Medieval Serbia’s Majestic Swan Song

When I first laid my eyes on Ravanica’s Church of Ascension last spring, it became apparent why medieval Serbia’s first and last autochthonous architectural style inspired so many artists through the centuries, from the graceful architecture of Branko Tanazević to the subtle poetry Vasko Popa. That cold April morning, I could not peel my eyes from the intricate rosettes and writhing mythical animals, which enlivened … Continue reading Morava Style: Medieval Serbia’s Majestic Swan Song

Northern Italian Road Trip: Central Tuscany, a bit of Liguria and Turin

For me, there is no better country to travel around than Italy. It was the first foreign country I visited when I was 3, and the country I most often went back to (without ever living there), and the place that I could spend each holiday exploring. This time around, a friend and I decided to treat ourselves with an 8-day-long road trip around northern … Continue reading Northern Italian Road Trip: Central Tuscany, a bit of Liguria and Turin

The Many Charms of Yugohotels

Hotels and resorts of Socialist Yugoslavia got a lot of press in the past few years (two examples here), especially as every summer more and more foreign tourists are heading to its coasts and cities over the summer. This recent fascination with ‘Yugohotels’ is more than just due to the trendiness of the Eastern Adriatic coast in the past few years, or the hipsterish love … Continue reading The Many Charms of Yugohotels

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

Northern Macedonia: (Quint)essential Balkan Country

Stunning scenery, beautiful historic sites and friendly faces are what you can find almost anywhere in Northern Macedonia. During both of my recent trips to the country, I was in equal measures surprised by the how wonderful many of its sites are – from the ruins of Marko’s Fortress in the dramatic hills over Prilep to the bustling Bitpazar market in Skopje – and shocked … Continue reading Northern Macedonia: (Quint)essential Balkan Country

Interesting Times at the Venice Biennale

Through a set of lucky circumstances and generosity on part of a friend of mine, I found myself at an event which I wanted to visit for a long while: preview of the Venice Art Biennale. It was on my radar ever since I became interested in the fascinating workings of the world of contemporary art and I actively yearned to visit after reading Geoff … Continue reading Interesting Times at the Venice Biennale

Misunderstanding Japan

Although I had almost no knowledge of its history, culture and language, like many Europeans, I became intrigued by Japan when, as a student, I was exposed to a heightened, almost surreal image of the country.  This pastiche of curious places, objects and characters that drew my attention to this peculiar civilisation, did not come from the common vehicles of manga, anime and hentai– but … Continue reading Misunderstanding Japan

Brief Histories of Favourite Balkan Foods

While foreign rule and power struggles often brought havoc to the Balkan peoples, it also left behind a diverse cuisine in which various influences merge and make the best use of the region’s fertile lands. While some regional specialities do not cross borders, the limits between the national cuisines in the Balkans tend to be blurry, with many nations enjoying same foods, albeit claiming them … Continue reading Brief Histories of Favourite Balkan Foods

Four Places You Need to Visit in Serbia in 2019

In the past few years, tourism has been booming in Serbia thanks to the country’s better connectivity with the rest of the world. According to the Serbian Statistical Office, between January and September almost two million people visited the country, a growth of about 11 per cent compared to the same time period in 2017. While most of those visiting the country stay in its … Continue reading Four Places You Need to Visit in Serbia in 2019

To the Holy Mountain: A Pilgrimage to Hilandar

For anyone who has had any kind of brush with the Serbian education system or the Serbian Orthodox Church, Hilandar is etched in the memory as the place where the glory of medieval Serbia survived almost intact for more than eight centuries. Hilandar was founded in 1198 by Stefan Nemanja, the first ruler of the Serbian medieval Nemanjic dynasty, and his son, Archbishop Sava, who … Continue reading To the Holy Mountain: A Pilgrimage to Hilandar

SpomenikDatabase: How an American Helped Preserve Memories of Yugoslav WWII Memorials

About a decade ago, Yugoslav WWII monuments were almost forgotten at home but started capturing people’s imagination around the world when Jan Kempenaers, a Belgian photographer, created his ‘Spomeniks’ (‘Memorials’) series, which included images of striking monuments at Kosmaj in Serbia, Podgaric in Croatia and Tjentiste in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His eerie photos of oddly-shaped memorials in dramatic settings attracted the attention of design and … Continue reading SpomenikDatabase: How an American Helped Preserve Memories of Yugoslav WWII Memorials

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