So I had decided to limit the scope of this blog to the events and lives surrounding Barabrith. But having spent almost a month away in Belgrade and realising that many of you who are considering coming to visit us here may be interested in the capital city of the former Yugoslavia, I decided to make an exception! My recent visit to Belgrade was a little different due to the Covid 19 restrictions so we did a lot less visiting museums, theatre and such like. Still below are a bunch of photographs from Belgrade with my usual witty comments and inane insights…..
Here is a colourful maps of the Balkans for those of you like me wondering where the hell I am! (Barabrith is pretty much where the C of Croatia is on the map above)
A tourist friendly map of Belgrade. My “digs” in Belgrade are very close to the Ice Bar right in the centre. Note the big blue lines, they are the Sava and Danube rivers that “meet” in Belgrade under the watchful gaze of the city fortress.
Some of the Danube has a large promenade alongside it on the city side of the river.
Cycling around Belgrade is great as long as you stay off the roads, those are only for the hardened bike courier types. (Driving standards here are low). There are quite alot of bike paths in Novi Beograd – New Belgrade – and up and down the riverside. The pavements are quite wide and most cyclists use them all the time without upset from pedestrians. Just make sure your bike doesnt have two flat tyres like this one.
Here is Sanja riding across the Zemunski Put bridge with the new “Belgrade Waterfront” development in the background.
And here she is again this time riding past some “art” in Hajd Park and yes that is the Serby way of saying Hyde Park!
An empty plinth demands a statuesque pose! Yes I messed with the contrast on this one, call it art!
This is the entrance to Hajd Park
Adjacent to Hajd park is the Museum of Jugoslavija. This unfortuntely was closed and has been for sometime apparently. But the Garden of Flowers where Mt Tito is buried is always open so that respectful visitors can see the great mans tomb, statues, relay baton collection and funeral photographs.
Propping up the old folk! Here I do my bit to ensure these old geezers don’t catch corona virus or fall over entirely.
The Garden of Flowers that surrounds Titos “museoleum” is quite pretty and features a bunch of statues donated by the different states of Yugoslavia and its biggest Trade Unions.
When life feels like a pathway to nowhere and you want to just want to tear down the wall! Or maybe this is a rare bit of surrealist art snuck in to the Garden of Flowers?
Belgrade designers, politicians and the like sure do like a fountain or two. Unfortunatley they dont seem to have the resources to maintain them much of the time. This is the view towards town from the Museum of Jugoslavija.
This fountain is a whopper! and at night it lights up! Quite spectacular. It is part of a large round about that has been recently relandscaped.
The roundabout encompasses the site of an old commies grave. Quite what he would make of the new bank building behind is anybodys guess!
This “antiquarian” bookshop is a real gem and a probably also a health risk. Belgrade has a wonderful number of bookshops most of them serrving the local language only but the second hand and antiquarian ones have lots of English language titles.
Serbia is probably the only state of the former Yugoslavia that would proudly display an old Jugoslavijan sign on top of abuilding in the town center like this.
They local authorities are not averse to reminding us of where we are and that we should love it! Thankfully when they write things in difficult local languages they are easy to ignore! Unless you’re called Sanja and you live there and your “mate” is embarrassing the fuck out of you by taking such pictures. Te he he 🙂
There is a penchant, or was, for building big buildings in Belgrade. This is The Palace of Serbia!! There is a You tube video all about it here!
This is one of the biggest Orthodox churches anywhere!
This interesting brickwork church is just by the National Assembly Building .
Right next to Sanja (or in this case in between Sanjas!) is the National Assembly of Serbia building. It looks a bit bent because it is and because this is a panoramic photo!
The National asembly building is the place where all political and protest demonstrations seem to end up outside. The road is often closed despite being a main route and often quite a small crowd! It doesn’t seem to matter what the demo is about they always seem to have Serbian flags!!
This big phalic symbol is in fact the “eternal flame of Yugoslavia” which presumably went out back in the 1990s.
This scarily big advert for the Serbian military adorns a building next to one that was bombed by NATO forces and never repaired or replaced.
This memorial statue and garden commemorates the children killed by the NATO bombing in Belgrade 1999.
Keeping on theme, Serbian cemmetries are an interesting mixture of Serbian Orthodox Chuch, muslim, and communist graves. This rather showy one is for a local football hero.
Still on theme, Belgrade has many murals painted by Belgrade Patizan football team supporters of their famous supporters. Here I discover that Joe is dead! Below are two others of local celebrity supporters.
This an amusing piece of street art is apparenting very old and has been refreshed. It is just off the main pedestrian road – Kneza Mihaila – in the centre of town.
At one end of this road is one of these bakeries with impossible cyrillic names but very helpful big vegan stickers in their windows! This is rare in Serbia. They do salads and wonderful mushroom and also potato pita or burek as others call them!
At the other end of the road is the Kalemegdan Park which houses the fortress, a load of busts, statues and tourist nick nack stalls. To get to the park one must cross a main road and tram track. This tram is a new looking one, some look seriously ancient.
Every tourist guide of BG has the fortress as its number one place to visit. It’s a big complex and remarkably much of it has not yet been excavated. Here Sanja lurks in an archway of the outer wall. Much of the walls are lit up at night but inside some area remain amusingly dark!
Dotted all over central Belgrade are pop corn vendors. Not strategically placed outside cinemas, they are everywhere and they are popular! I have seen queues of locals waiting to get fresh popocorn! Different eh! This one is by the sports centre on the banks of the Danube.
Dotted along much of the river banks are floating nightclubs and restaurants.
The banks of the rivers also have quite a lot of park facilities some new some old. This one on the Danube heading towards Zemun features fancy new science and musical parks, this big kid -sorry I mean musical genius- couldn’t resist.
The Milennium Tower overlooks the district of Zemun and in the distance you can see Belgrade and the confluence of the two great rivers.
The view over Zemun from the tower above.
Many of the citys parks and paths no matter how small have statues, busts and even better works of art in them! What is this one about I wonder?
This giant watermelon doesn’t look too fresh but I had to try it anyway. Like much of Belgrade it has seen better days! This one is in the Park Suma Zvezdara.
This is a pretty bit of the Topčider Park close to the “diplomatic quarter” where the big embassy buildings are mostly situated.
The Jevremovac Botanical Garden is very central and though quite small it does offer a lovely respite from the city. Here one can see some outdoor cacti growing.
These plants are in the greenhouse of the Botanical gardens. These ones look like they are on the bottom of the sea floor!
These orchids are also in the Botanical greenhouse.
The Botanical gardens cost about £4 to enter so they are relatively quiet, or at least they were when we were there! We spent a couple of pleasant hours playing chess and eating a picnic.
The most famous Serbian, other than war criminals and tennis players, is NikolaTesla, you know, the scientist! This terrible photograph is of the museum dedicated to his work and discoveries.
Belgrade has quite a few interesting buildings dotted around the place. This one is the SKC, Student Cultural Centre where I’m told in the old Yugo days Western punk bands used to play.
“Western City Gate, also known as the Genex Tower, is a 36-storey skyscraper in Belgrade, Serbia, which was designed in 1977 by Mihajlo Mitrović in the brutalist style” says Wikipedia. It used to have acafe on the top but like the BT tower one in London it is no more.
Every now and then a bit of architecture suprises and pleases the passerby.
Every now and then a bit of architecture suprises and pleases the passerby. *2
In the “bohemian” area of town its not difficult to come across buildings side by side that are in very different states of repair.
If thats not enough for you to do in Belgrade – or indeed too much – one can always stay at home and make your own Scrabble board.
or indeed just watch your funny looking cats do funny things….
Thank you Sanja without whom most of that would not have been possible, up next my guide to vegan Belgrade!