The Dynamic City of Belgrade

Typically, from Budapest, the tourist trail leads to Belgrade. We, however, decided to head to Slovenia and the Adriatic Coast first, and loop back later. The downside of this approach is that the leg from Bucharest is over eight hours by car, so we decided to take a short flight instead, and arrived in the capital of Serbia well rested, and ready to explore.

Despite arriving at the airport in the early hours, we were ready to discover the city. After a short 15-minute taxi ride into Belgrade, we gathered at the Republic Square awaiting the start of our walking tour. Around the square, you can find many notable buildings, like the National Theatre of Belgrade.

• National Theatre.

On the other side of Republic Square, you can find the Prince Mihailo Monument, with the National Museum of Serbia behind it. During his rule, in the mid-19th century, Prince Mihailo united all of the Balkans, leading to a relatively peaceful period. Tragically and ironically, the prince was assassinated in 1868.

• Prince Mihailo Monument and National Museum.

We left the square behind us, and walked a few minutes north, to the urban neighborhood of Skadarlija. This area is characterized by artsy streets, local pubs, and markets. Its main street, also named Skadarlija, is one of the most famous streets in Belgrade.

• Skadarlija.

A little bit further you can find the most important museum in Belgrade: Museum of Vuk and Dositej. It showcases the life and work of Vuk Karadžić, the reformer of the Serbian language. The building itself held, before being turned into a museum, the first school in Serbia.

• Museum of Vuk and Dositej.

As with almost any city in the Balkans, Belgrade has a castle too. The castle grounds are quite large, and here you can find the Belgrade Zoo, a few museums, and more monuments.

• Northern entrance into the castle.

The castle is situated on the banks of both the Danube and Sava rivers. The Danube, Europe’s second-largest river, flows from Germany all the way to Romania, while the Sava starts in Slovenia and ends in Serbia.

• The Danube and Sava rivers joining together.

We walked south parallel to the Sava River, enjoying the greenery inside the castle grounds. Along the way, you can find odd monuments like the Pobednik. It was built to commemorate Serbia’s victory over the Ottoman and Austro–Hungarian Empires. Located 29 meters above the castle grounds, the landmark can be seen from all over the city.

• Pobednik.

From the castle, looking over the city, you can see the various bridges spanning the Sava River. The most prominent one is Branko’s Bridge, with the Old Sava Bridge behind it. The latter was built during the Second World War, as all the other bridges were destroyed, and the German occupation needed a way to cross the river.

• Bridges over the Sava River.

Nowadays, Belgrade is a dynamic city, offering a wealth of culture, museums, and nightlife. However, the country had a dark period in its recent past. Back in 1993, Serbia (or Yugoslavia) suffered from hyperinflation; with a daily inflation rate of around 100 percent. The bank tried to resolve it by printing large amounts of money, before finally reforming its currency.

• 500 billion dinars, worth less then 1$.

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We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.

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