Serbia’s capital has an ancient Roman and Celtic history dating back to the 4th century, and has grown to a modern city of more than two million people, glistening with attractive ancient relics. Only ten years ago, Belgrade was at the heart of a violent conflict, the scars of which still mark some corners of the city. These days, though, stability has taken root in Serbia, and Belgrade is a great stop off on any tour round Europe.
Perhaps it’s the mixed history, or maybe the damage of war, but few would argue Belgrade’s a particularly attractive city; much of the centre is still heavily influenced by its communist roots, with a blocky style of architecture that’s practical rather than pretty. That doesn’t mean the city doesn’t hide some true gems, though, such as the towering Kalamegdan Castle, which guards the city at the meeting of the Danube and Sava Rivers. A host of museums are well worth checking out, too, giving visitors an insight into the manic history of the area, and incorporating everything from military background to the inventions of local hero Tesla (computer games enthusiasts might recognize his name from electronic towers designed to guard military areas), or the stunning selection of art at the National Museum.
Arguably Belgrade’s most attractive draw, though, is its party hard outlook on life. Having escaped repression from both communists and the domination of Yugoslavia following the break down of communism, freedom has taken local residents into full on party mode, something that’s not receded even after a decade. Affordable restaurants and plentiful, lively nightlife make Belgrade one of the top spots in Europe to drink the potent local spirits through the night, and spend your days fattening up on the local cuisine, which is heavy on grilled meat and served with a smile.
Whether you’re into history, or just like the party, Serbia’s capital will impress. Even architecture lovers will find the odd gem and a certain amount of intrigue in the dull, blocky dimension of the city, which – whilst a little off the beaten track of European tourism – is well worth the aside.
Zemun (Земун) used to be a separate town on the banks of Danube, but now is a municipality that is part of the City of Belgrade.
It was established in the 3rd century by a Celtic tribe…