Beograd.......fortress, crafts, panoranic views, and murals, what a day!
Belgrade Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
My flight from Sarajevo arrived very early in the morning. Finding the bus into town was very easy. It's just outside the front door. It was overcast and spitting rain, now and then. The trip into town took about 30 minutes and took us through areas that had many tall dense housing projects. Many were dirty and looked in need of repair. As I pass different parts of the city on my way to the center, dirty, was the overwhelming theme. We crossed the Sava River and into the downtown area. There it was a bit non-descript big city, atleast the outer shell. I knew I would have to look for the beauty.
Arriving at the central roundabout (Slavija Square) where all busses route through. I get out but, quicklly ask the driver which direction was the street that I needed.
I rang the bell due to the door being locked but, it was only 8:30am. It just seemed much later to me due to my early start. A girl, who I had obvously awakened, opened the door. I told her who I was, she smiled and welcomed me inside. She did a quick check in, showed me my room and the bathrooms and then a quick tour of the common area in the basement. She then went back to sleep. I was impressed with my room and both baths (see review - Manga Hostel). I put my bag in the locker, locked it up, and proceed to review the guidebook and make my plan.
I left the hostel and headed towards the old othodox church that I had seen at this end of the street (St. Marko Church). I gave it the once over. It's design although similar to other orthodox churches that I've seen, was still quite unique.
From there my walk took me to the Serbian Parliament and a nice park across the street. Continuing on I walked across a major street or two to get to the Hotel Moakva at Terazje Square. It's one of the oldest hotels in Serbia. It was opened by the king of Serbia in 1908. It was built with Russian funding, hence the name.
Trg(Square) Republic was the next stop. The National Theatre and the National Musuem are here. The staue is of Prince Michael. This is a very busy square and a great place to people watch. People will certainly be watching you.
I took a side street from there because I saw baroque spires.
I walked across to the lower park area to the side of the fortress grounds. I walked around them and into Beograd Fortress. The Romans first built a fortress here in the first centruy. The fortress has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. There is still ruins, however from the first fortress built by the fortress. It has some of the thickest ramparts that I have ever seen. The ones that comprise the fortress that is Valletta, Malta may be the only thicker ones that I've seen. I walked the inner courtyard area and through many ruins of different constructions. As you are walking, you begin to see Beograd in the background.
I descended the stairs at the outer wall to see more of the ruins below. I went, next, to a terrace (Kalemegdan) with a 14 meter statue to the liberation of the Serbs from the Turks, called "Victor". This spot has a commanding view of Beograd.
I realized that I had missed a particulary special part of the fortress. There is a gate in from one side that I had not been to. This is Barbicon of the Prison's Gate which is next to Dizdar's tower. A spectacular sight. You can see Ruzica Churchof the Eastern Ward with it's green steeple from the tower.
When walking out of the fortress and across the grounds and back into the newer "Old City", you will encounter many people lining the path with tables. Many of them are old ladies selling their handmade goods. I bought an colorful table covering with hand sewen design that is particular to Novi Sad. I also bought a beautifully stone that was painted with the crest of Serbia in fantastic detail.
I crossed town in search of Skardarlija and the Skadarska Mural, where the plain backs of a wall of buldings are coverd in a large mural depicting life in old Beograd.
On my walk back to the hostel, I passed the Church of St. Marko and stopped for a more indepth look and photosession. I learned that it is Serbian / Byzantine, which make sense. There is a little chapel on it's grounds that is white with blue onion domes that is such a contrast to St.
It was a short walk from here back to the hostel. On the way I picked up a few groceries in order to have dinner in. I was tired and didn't feel like going out, again.
That evening I met Igor. He first offered me Turkish coffee or maybe tea. I accepted the tea. We sat in the lounge space and got to know each other. He's a great person. I also met a couple (guy from Canada, girl from Austria ) that had been traveling for 9 months, thru Asia and the Middle East. She would be leaving soon to go back to work in Vienna but, he would be traveling on to South America.
It was getting late now, time for bed. There is more to see, tomorrow.