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 (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 (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

Hidden Belgrade (20): Zemun’s Memories and Memorials

From its time as Taurunum in the Roman empire, all through today, Zemun was a vibrant city, often on the border of empires and as such a place of constant change and diversity. In the 19th and early 20th century, it housed a mix of Serbs, Croats, Germans and Jews, but due to the turmoil of WWII, much of its multicultural character changed. Throughout its … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (20): Zemun’s Memories and Memorials

Hidden Belgrade (19): Doppelgängers

Cities like to show their friendship by sharing the same monuments. New York and Paris share the Statue of Liberty (although the one in Paris is considerably smaller), while copies of Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid are everywhere from Romania to Korea. Belgrade is no exception and there are (at least) four monuments which tie it to other places. Their stories feature old friendships, sunken ships and … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (19): Doppelgängers

Hidden Belgrade (18): Belgrade’s Amazon

There are few parts of Belgrade which receive as much mockery as the left bank of the Danube, that is Ovča, Borča and Krnjača (affectionately: “cha-cha-cha”). The general dislike, stems partly from to their unlovely names, and partly from their ramshackle urbanism and almost non-existent cultural life. So when I invited friends to join me for a walk in the nature there to spot birds … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (18): Belgrade’s Amazon

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