GENERAL INFORMATION: THE CITY OF BELGRADE

Belgrade is the largest city in Serbia, and it’s one of the most important cities in Southeast Europe. Belgrade is located at the confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube in central Serbia, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkan Peninsula. In the past, precisely because of its position, Belgrade was referred to as the Gateway to the Balkans and the Door to Central Europe. The city of Belgrade has the status of a separate territorial unit in Serbia with its own autonomous city authority.

HISTORY OF BELGRADE

Legend has it that the Argonauts, the Greek sailors [sailors of the Argo] sailed into the Danube between 5200 and 3000 BCE, thus reaching the confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube, where they settled and established the first settlement in the historic period known as the Vinca culture.

In c. 298 BCE, the settlement located in the territory of the present-day Belgrade was known as Singidunum. The Celts inhabited this area in that period, and named the city after the tribe of Singi that occupied the area of Kalemegdan, and Celtic word for town – dunum.
Due to its geographical location, Singidunum was considered a highly desirable territory traversed by the many people throughout history. The Roman Emperors passed through it, the Huns - and later on the Goths - conquered and destroyed it. The city was later rebuilt by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, only to be destroyed once again by the Avars. The Slavs changed its name, but that did not change its fate. In the 7th century, seeing the white wall that surrounded it, the Slavs named the city Beligrad [The White City].

Belgrade first became part of the Serbian state under the rule of the Nemanjic dynasty. It became the capital of the medieval Serbian state in the 15th century, and it was devastated two centuries later in the battle of Turkish and Austrian troops for domination over Belgrade.

While ruled by the Turks, Belgrade was a mahala. However, Serbian language remained preserved. The city was liberated on two occasions (The First Serbian Uprising and the Second Serbian Uprising), after which it started to develop modelled after the modern European capitals.

In the 19th century, Belgrade developed in social, economic, political and cultural direction, and soon became a prominent European city. In the 20th century, the city saw several wars that destroyed and damaged it, but the white capital managed to rise from the ashes and rebuild itself.

Because of its strategic position, the city was battled over in 115 wars, and razed to the ground 44 times.  Belgrade was the capital of Yugoslavia (in all forms of existence thereof) from its establishment in 1918, to the final dissolution in 2006.

Today, Belgrade is the capital of Serbia and one of the most visited cities in Europe at any time of the year.

ECONOMY

With over 1.6 million inhabitants (23 percent of the population of Serbia) and more than 670 thousand employed persons, Belgrade represents not only the headquarters of state bodies and institutions, but also a tourist, trade, industrial, traffic, financial, cultural, scientific and educational center.
As per the key economic indicators, economy is dominated by industry, trade, services, transport, telecommunications and construction sectors.

CLIMATE

Belgrade is a city with moderate continental climate, and four distinct seasons – one can feel the magic of spring, summer, winter and autumn. Our capital is characterized by the Indian summer with sunny and warm weather that continues into autumn.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

There are some places in Belgrade everyone has to see and feel. Streets, squares, monuments, parks, fountains, archaeological sites, and other recommendation worthy sites. Many of them have been declared cultural property.

SKADARLIJA

This part of the city was built in late 19th and early 20th century, when its taverns were the places that gathered some of the biggest names of the Belgrade cultural scene. It is most often compared with Paris's Montmartre neighborhood, both in appearance and in cheerful, ebullient artistic vibe. In today's Skadarlija, which is a remarkable Belgrade tourist attraction famous for its restaurants and urban traditional folk music, one can find galleries, antique and souvenir shops.

KNEZ MIHAILOVA STREET

The most beautiful pedestrian and shopping area which extends from Terazije to Kalemegdan, and is protected by law as one of the oldest and most valuable city monumental ambiences. It is believed that, even at the time of the Romans, this was the center of the Singidunum settlement. It was officially named after Mihailo Obrenovic, Prince of Serbia in 1870.
Today, the most beautiful buildings in the street host the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, City Library, Cultural Center of France, Spanish Cultural Center (the Cervantes Institute), and German Cultural Center (Goethe-Institute), together with many galleries, hotels and restaurants.


CHURCH OF SAINT SAVA

The Church of Saint Sava [Hram Svetog Save] is the largest Orthodox Church in the Balkans. It is located in the eastern part of the Square of Saint Sava [Svetosavski trg], in the municipality of Vracar, Belgrade. It is built on the location where it is believed that the Ottoman Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha burned the remains of Saint Sava, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church, in 1594.

KALEMEGDAN - BELGRADE FORTRESS

The Belgrade Fortress is an outdoor museum that showcases Serbia's past. It was built in stages, during the lengthy period between the 1st and 18th century, from a Roman castrum, through a Byzantine castle and the remains of the medieval Serbian capital, to Austrian-Ottoman artillery fortification.

THE OLD PALACE

The Old Palace, the Royal Palace of the Serbian Obrenovic dynasty, presently housing the City Assembly of Belgrade, is located on the corner of Kralja Milana and Dragoslava Jovanovica. It was built between 1882 and 1884 as per the design of Aleksandar Bugarski, in the style of academism of the 19th century, with the intention to surpass all existing residences of the Serbian rulers.


THE ROYAL PALACE

The Royal Palace in Dedinje was built between 1924 and 1929 with the private funds, and by order of HM King Alexander I (the grandfather of HRH Crown Prince Alexander II).
The Royal Palace was the home of King Alexander I and King Peter II. Today, the Royal Palace is the home of Crown Prince Alexander II and his family. It is a white stone spacious representative villa built in the Serbian-Byzantine style. There is a Royal Chapel dedicated to Saint Apostle Andrew The First-Called, the Patron Saint of The Royal Family attached to the Royal Palace. The chapel was built reflecting the King Vukasin’s endowment, the monastery Church of Saint Andrew on the River Treska.


ADA CIGANLIJA

Ada Ciganlija is a peninsula covered by forests, located several kilometers away from the city center. It encompasses a lake with a 7 km long beach. This green oasis is rightfully called the Belgrade Sea. In addition to enjoying the beach and swimming in the lake, Ada offers many other activities on hot summer days: paddle boats, kayaking and canoeing, windsurfing and water skiing. It has well maintained walking, running, cycling and roller trails, together with football, basketball, volleyball, handball, tennis, baseball, golf, rugby and hockey fields.

NIKOLA TESLA MUSEUM

The museum preserving the complete heritage of the greatest Serbian scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla is located in the heart of Belgrade, in a beautiful residential villa built in 1929, designed by the notable Serbian architect Dragisa Brasovan. In accordance with Tesla’s last will and testament, his heritage was moved to Belgrade in 1951. The permanent exhibit consists of the original documents, books, magazines, plans and drawings of the greatest Serbian inventor.

SAVAMALA

Savamala was formed in the 1830s as a settlement on the Sava slope, covering the area from Karadjordjeva Street to Ada Ciganlija. The vicinity of the railway and steamboat stations had a major impact on the development of trade and crafts, directing the development of this part of the city. Among the old façades with features of Baroque architecture and Art Nouveau, along the wide streets near the banks of the Sava river, people can see the building of the former Belgrade Cooperative, which is one of the anthological examples of contemporary Serbian architecture built in the spirit of classicism, and Manak's House, an example of old Balkan urban architecture, which is an integral part of the Ethnographic Museum.