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Belgrade Sights:

Belgrade, the capital city of Serbia since the year 1403AD, is situated in the southeastern part of Europe, on the confluence of two big rivers Danube and Sava. It has continental climate, and due to its remarkably good geographical position it is properly called "the gate" of the Balkans. When you find yourself in Belgrade, you will definitely be impressed by its soul and its history. The Serbs are very proud of that. In the age of the Roman Empire it was called Singidunum. Many years later, the name was changed into Belgrade, The White City. This stands for the beautiful, white stones from which the Belgrade was made of.

Kalemegdan

Maybe you will decide to start your tour by visiting Kalemegdan. Great choice! This Belgrade's greatest park is also one of the biggest and the oldest monuments. It has been created in the 19th century, around 1870, by the instruction of Prince Mihailo Obrenović.

But before it was transformed into such great park, Kalemegdan had been the place of many battles. You can still see some of the memories from the Turkish period. For example, the Belgrade Fortress, which once represented the main military bastion. Centuries of battles for the city, took place here throughout the history. One of the Belgrade symbols - The Victor, is situated here. It represents a Serbian knight and the ability of the Serbian people to rise and to defend themselves. The statue of the knight is faced to the city and this guardian holds a sword in one hand and a hawk in the other. These are the symbols of determination and strength, or in case of the Serbs one might say - the symbols of stubbornness.

The Belgrade ZOO is also situated here as well as many other interesting sights. For example The Military Museum, "Cvijeta Zuzorić" art pavilion or one of the defending towers built bellow the Belgrade Fortress- Nebojsa Tower. If you find yourself in Belgrade in summer period, you may take a look at the Kalemegdan from the other angle-from a little boat that cruises in the evening on the rivers and provides a perfect, not to mention romantic, atmosphere.

The old Belgrade

Not far from Kalemegdan you can find some of the most beautiful works of architecture in Belgrade. Today, several buildings and structures remain, preserving the spirit of the old Belgrade. One of them is surely Princess Ljubica's Mansion founded by Prince Miloš Obrenović in 1831. Today, this is a museum, and it keeps most of the furniture from that time.

In the place where once the Archangel Michael Church stood, now you can see the Orthodox cathedral (Saborna crkva). Around it, all the important institutions of Serbia were located, naturally including the political establishment of the period of Milos Obrenović.

The "?" (Question mark) restaurant is one of the most popular sights from this nest of Belgrade. It is very old, over 100 years, and during that time it changed its name several times. "Toma's kafana", "Shepherd's inn", "By the cathedral", are some of them. The legend says that during the reconstruction of the building, workers put up a board with a question mark where a name should stand, and since that day it has been called "?" by the guests.

Skadarlija

Bohemian night? This sounds interesting, doesn't it? There isn't a single tourist that came to Belgrade and didn't visit this old bohemian quart. With its old, little houses and plenty of cheerful restaurants as a meeting place for artists from the theatre, fine arts and literature, Skadarlija caries the ambiance of the old Belgrade. Little galleries, open-air exhibitions and street musicians, bring back a 150 years old spirit. Here you can try some of the national Serbian meal and enjoy the sounds of the music. In many restaurants called "Ima dana", "Tri šešira", "Šešir moj" and many others you can stay almost until dawn, drink traditional Serbian drinks (don forget "rakija") and tomorrow, when you sober up you can come here again. Don't miss this!

Culture

Belgrade is the center of culture and art of Serbia. The most important works of architecture, monuments and other immovable cultural properties of the Serbian people are mostly located in Belgrade. It is also the seat of the highest state and national institutions of culture and art: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, National Library of Serbia, National Museum, National Theatre and the University of Art.

Sports and fun

When you ask a typical Serb to define his/her nation, you will hear: "Basketball World Champions and the best fans in the world!" This is true, and if you don't believe me, ask anyone in the street. If you are looking for a recreation in a summer period, everything you need can be found in one place - Ada Ciganlija Lake. There you can swim, ride a bike, try bungee jumping, free climbing or try out some of the courts for basketball, football and volleyball. Ada is called the Sea of Belgrade, and many people like to spend their summer afternoons there.

Belgrade Marathon Race is held every year in April. It is one of the largest manifestations of this kind, not only in Belgrade, but also in the whole region. Belgrade also has many in and outdoor swimming pools where international competitions are held.

Meeting points & more

Belgrade is great for meeting people. At the beginning of Knez Mihajlova Street, you can see beautiful square, the meeting point of all the people in Belgrade. It is decorated with the monument to "Knez Mihailo Obrenović" sculptured by Florentine Enrico Pazzi in 1882. The street connects Kalemegdan and Terazije Square. The square is surrounded by The National Theatre and The National museum, both great buildings. Belgrade has many beautiful churches. One of them is St. Sava's Temple, one of the biggest Christian Orthodox temples in Europe, located in Karađorđe's Park (Black George's Park) next to his monument. Then, St. Marko's Church - erected on the site where Serbian State independence was declared, located in Tašmajdan Park.

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History:

Belgrade, a city of very tumultuous history, is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Its history lasts full 7,000 years. The area around two great rivers, the Sava and the Danube has been inhabited as early as in palaeolithic period. Remains of human bones and skulls of Neanderthals, found in the stone-pit near Leštane, in a cave in Cukarica and near the Bajloni market, date back to the early Stone Age.

After that, in Bronze Age the Celtic tribe of Scordics came to the region today known as Belgrade and built settlement they called Sindidun ("Round fort"). Of course,the Balkans, being one of the most tumultuous regions in Europe, Celtic tribes and peoples living in the Sindidun changed all the time. Ultimately, they all were conquered by Romans. They changed name Sindidun into roman version Singidunum. Today there is a location in the old forte called "Roman well" that testify of Roman presence in town. Singidunum was, due to its strategic position, very important spot. It was, also border fort of Roman Empire, so-called "limes". After the Roman Empire had divided, Singidunum became a part of Byzantine Empire.

During the great movement of the people that followed fall of Western Roman Empire, Singidunum was burned, conquered and destroyed, then settled again several times. That was very frequent during the Huns Kaganate and their khan Attila the Great. After that heavy period Singidunum again becomes part of Byzantine Empire. Finally, somewhere during the seventh century, it's being settled by incoming Slavic tribes. It were them who called it 'Beograd' (beo=white; grad=city) and that name stayed until today. From that period, Slavs remained majority in town. During entire early Middle-age Belgrade was part of Byzantine Empire.

The constitution of the independent Serbian state in early ages of thirteen century, somewhat changed the stakes in the Balkans. Serbian dukes, firstly mere vassals to Byzantine Emperor, then became independent kings. First of them was Stevan Prvovenčani (prvovenčani=first-crowned).

His grandson, king Dragutin, as Hungarian king's son-in-law, in 1284 got Belgrade to govern, as a part of dowry. For a brief time Belgrade remained in Serbian hands, until 1319 when was burnt to ground by Hungarians. It stayed that way until new force from the east emerged: the Turks of Ottoman Empire. So, Belgrade is being fortified once more during the reign of despot Stefan Lazarevich to be border fortress for Hungarian kingdom. For the first time it becomes capital city of Serbian state. The highest tower in the old fort still stands and it had been built during that period. After despot's death, city once more goes to Hungarian hands and stays there until the year 1521 and its final downfall to Turks sultan Suleiman the Great. Hungary fell five years later. For some 150 years, Belgrade lived peaceful and prosperous life of merchant's city in the crossroads of The Balkans.

In the early years of 18th century, Austrians drove Turks out of Belgrade for some 20 years. During that time, city gets new, more western look. Also, on the opposite side of the Sava river, Austrians re-populated city of Zemun, as a border trading outpost. But again, Turks, in 1739, are reclaiming Belgrade. They continued building of big fortress, called Kalemegdan, whose construction was started by Austrians. So, once more Belgrade becomes border fort, this time for the Turks. But in 1804, revolution, called First Serbian uprising, takes place. In 1806 Belgrade fell into rebels hands. For a brief time Belgrade becomes Serbian capital again. In 1808 the first faculty has been founded. But after the Turks had crushed uprising, Belgrade went to Turks hands again. But in 1815 Second Serbian uprising takes place. Capital is transferred into the city of Kragujevac. Nonetheless, Serbian people begin massive settlement of the Belgrade, and the Turks are forced to withdraw from the fort, leaving downtown in Serbian hands. In the 1867 the Turks are finally driven out of the town, and Belgrade is the capital of Serbian again, which stays until today.

With the brand new government, Belgrade flourishes and becomes modern European city, the capital of the newly-created Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. It gets merchant stores, public transportation system, and multitude of cultural institutions. In the early years of 20th century, when the First World War started, Austro-Hungarian army conquered Belgrade, and held it until the war ended. The population of Belgrade suffered dearly during that period. Between two wars Belgrade was still struggling to reject its old-fashioned look and become modern European capital. However, after the assassination of King Aleksandar I Karadjordjevic, the political groups which showed more and more sympathies for the leaders of the new world order - Hitler and Mussolini, grew stronger. This resulted in joining the country to the Axis on March 25, 1941, but it only caused a coup d'etat, bringing the Government down and mass protests of the people.

Only a few days later, Belgrade became the target of a terrible bombing and destruction. In the attack of German air force on April 6 and 7, 1941, thousands of buildings were lightly or heavily damaged, and the National Library was completely burned down. It was the introduction to four years of life under occupation. Belgrade was liberated by the units of the National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia and the Red Army on October 20, 1944.

Belgrade became important European political, cultural, economic and sport center. It was the place where important international meetings took place: the First Conference of the Heads and Governments of the Non-aligned Countries in 1961, then the Conference of Security and Cooperation of Europe (CSCE), the UNESCO Conference, annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the 6th UNCTAD, as well as a number of cultural, sport, and other events. Since 1992 Belgrade has been the capital of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, consisting of the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Montenegro.

During the NATO bombing of Belgrade in 1999 even the targets in the very center of the city were hit. During almost three months of bombing, only a few days and nights passed without air-raid alarm.

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Night life:

There are many ways one can amuse him/her self in Belgrade. Here are some tips about making your visit to Belgrade more interesting.

Cinemas and theatres

There are many theatres working in Belgrade. Apart from the National Theatre (in which opera and ballet plays are given as well) there are also: Yugoslavian theatre of drama, Belgrade theatre of drama, the Zvezdara theatre, the Atelier 212, and many more. All of them provide wide selection of theatre pieces, from classic (Shakespeare, Chekhov, Moliere) to avant guard and modern plays.

The cinemas are in fact most popular way of off-house entertainment in Belgrade. They are far more visited than theatres, operas or concerts. In recent years, Belgrade has got few cinemas whose level is equal to any Western-European cinema. Some of those theaters are Tuckwood and Millennium.

Clubs & pubs

Let's start our tour to Belgrade clubs. The typical days for going out are Thursday, Friday and Saturday but some of the clubs have programs during the whole week. This doesn't mean you can't have a great time during the working days, of course. Prices of drinks are not too high (if your standards are higher than Serbian) but you have to pay entrance to most of the clubs. Most of the clubs are situated in the city center and it's not hard to find them. The price of one beer is about 1-1.5 euro.

If you are looking for a good time with live jazz or rock music you should definitely try some of these clubs: BEGGARS' BANQUET, ŠTAMPARIJA or TRAMVAJ, since they have great and friendly atmosphere.

If you are fond of house or progressive music you should take the time to visit these clubs: ANDERGRAUND, CVIJETA, HAVANA, MONDO (PLASTIC), SARGON or just stop for a moment, listen, and you will definitely hear dum-dum, tuc-tuc rhythm coming from somewhere. So, follow it! The places with dance music are XL, BUS, BONA FIDES.

If you really want to have an unforgettable time with Serbian folk music (and spend a lot of money) visit some of the clubs on the river water like CCANU KLUB, FREE STYLER, SOUND, PRESTIŽ...There are many of them, on both rivers, the Sava and the Danube.

It is very popular to go out in some of the Belgrade cafés like GRINET (great coffee!), LIBRE!, IDIOT, THREE CARROTS (IRISH PUB), TVRĐAVA, WONDERBAR. If you are in the "just hanging out" mood, stretch your legs to the "Obilićev venac" street (in the city center) and pop in any of those cafés.

Casinos & Cabarets

Yes, we have those too! Here are some of the casinos: ALEKSANDAR, FAIR PLAY, METROPOL, LONDON, PARTIZAN, but I don't advise you to go there unless you feel very lucky. The most famous cabaret is CABARET ROSE. Enjoy!

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More Info:

If you want to read more about Belgrade, download our short guide, Belgrade for everyone (.pdf ~767KB).

In case that is not enough, visit the Official presentation of Belgrade or the site of Tourist Organization of Belgrade.

You can also download MS PowerPoint presentation with pictures from Belgrade (.pps ~3.84MB).