Belgrade, Serbia (Capital)

Traditional Serbian Meal Belgrade,Serbia
Traditional Serbian Meal - Belgrade, Serbia
Bohemian Skadarska Restaurant Belgrade Serbia
Dancer at Bohemian Skadarska Restaurant 
- Belgrade, Serbia
Knez Mihailova Pedestrian Street Belgrade Serbia
Knez Mihailova Pedestrian Street 
- Belgrade, Serbia

Vendors Park Kalemegdan Citadel Belgrade Serbia
Vendors in Park Around Kalemegdan Citadel
- Belgrade, Serbia
Old Tanks Kalemegdan Citadel Belgrade serbia
Old Tanks at Kalemegdan Citadel 
- Belgrade, Serbia
Belgrade, Serbia (Capital) (4/24-25/2011)

Even though ruled by the Turks for 500 years, today Belgade is very much a western European city.

Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia with a population of 1.7 million of Serbia’s 7.5 million. The people here are friendly, proud of their heritage, and most speak English.

Unfortunate recent historical events cast Serbians as villains in a civil war marred by ethnic cleaning - more about that later. 

We stayed in Belgrade's old town (Stari Grad) near Belgrade’s main pedestrian-only street (Knez Mihailova)

The first night we had dinner at Sladarska, the cobblestoned old bohemian part of town where some of Belgrade’s most famous writers, poets, and actors spent their time writing and debating at the turn of the 20th century. Today Sladarska is filled with atmospheric restaurants serving Serbian cuisine with roving Roma bands playing old Belgrade music that provide an unique ambiance.

Serbs are proud of their food, which is heavy on grilled meats and sausages, local cheeses, and bread. Salads are primarily tomato, cucumber, and onion or cabbage. The food is pretty much the same at most the restaurants and like most the countries in this area, it is our belief that we are not visiting here for the food.

Map of Belgrade Serbia
Map of Belgrade, Serbia
We also visited Sveti Sava (the largest Eastern Orthodox church in the world), the Kalemegdan Citadel where 115 battles have been fought during the many past centuries, and the Palace of Princess Ljubica.

Map of Serbia
Map of Serbia
OK history bluffs, at lot of history I have always been curious about the recent civil war and split up of Yugoslavia into 7 countries that started 20 years ago. Here is an edited excerpt from Wikitravel about what happened before the civil war:

Serbia’s long history dates back to the 4th century BC with many clashes between east and west occurring here. Ottoman Turks ruled for 500 years until 1815. The 1914 Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by an ethnic Serb high school student precipitated WWI. In its aftermath in 1918, victorious Serbia gathered all south Slav lands (Croatia, Slovenia, Slavonia, Dalmatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro) into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The country's name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929.

Belgrade Serbia
Belgrade, Serbia
Invasion and occupation by Germany and Italy in 1941 was resisted by the Yugoslav Army, commanded by Lt. General Dragoljub Mihajlović and communist led guerilla (partisans) who eventually started fighting each other as well as the invaders. The partisans, commanded by Field-Marshal Josip Broz Tito emerged victorious and formed a provisional government that abolished the monarchy and proclaimed a republic in 1946 after a dubious referendum. At the end of the war, nearly all ethnic Germans left the country. Although pro-Communist, Tito's new government successfully steered its own delicate path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for the next four and a half decades.

Flag of Serbia
Flag of Serbia
Because Serbia put Yugoslavia together and controlled the army, they attempted to keep Yugoslavia together when the different countries started declaring independence - hence the civil wars and the unfortunate ethnic cleansing directed by an increasingly unpopular president. The wars against Croatia and Bosnia were the worst because they had significant Serbian populations and Serbia had a popular opinion to create a “greater Serbia” that included areas around Serbia with large populations of Serbs. 

Now two decades later, most of the Serbs we spoke to in Belgrade want to put all this in the past and join whole heartedly their place as a peaceful cooperative European nation. We left Serbia with a feeling that they will be successful.

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1 comment:

  1. You should have visited Ada and Zemun. I hope you will next time, because you've missed a lot. Also, write about accommodation in Belgrade, Serbia. Currently, the cheapest accommodation are apartments for short term rent. I had the best experience with Feel free to check them out next time you visit.


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