Beograd.......fortress, crafts, panoranic views, and murals, what a day!

Belgrade Travel Blog

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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.

The roundabout was very very busy. There were hundreds and hundreds of people making their way around it.  There were many streets that radiated from this central point and one of them was mine. I could see down at the end of one of these streets was a huge white orthodox cathedral. I was still confused so, I called the hostel. The girl tried to give me easy directions. Well, after 20 minutes or so, of walking down different streets and them being wrong, I  finally located the street, yes! Ten minutes more, walking, and  I found the sign for the hostel. At the end of the block there was another othodox church but, of a totoally different and older design. I opened an iron gated passageway and down a dark alleyway to a central courtyard with a few cars and the access to the hostel, through another large gate.

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.

I then stopped in a pastry / sandwich shop and picked up brunch, a nice spinach and egg burek and a drink for the equvalent of 1.50 euro. It was fresh and delicious.

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 am a great lover of baroque design. The street revealed beautiful neo-classical buildings and a fantastic black spire with gold trmmings.

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.

Getting to the outer wall, the view is of the lower fortress area, medieval constructions and the Danube River. Turning your view left, you see where the Danube and the Sava join.

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.

Down on a lower terrace is St. Petka Chapel, named after the first Serbian woman to be blessed with sainthood. It has an amazing copper sculpted panel in it's outer stone wall. The view from there looking towards the Sava River is so beautiful and unexpected in the city.

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 also bought a pair of socks. You can find them all over the Balkans and they are different in design in different regions.  Crossing the street and onto Knez Milhailova Street, which is a pedestrian only shopping street. There are more handmade craft merchats along this first section nearest the fortress. I bought a mug with the most interesting design of the area where the Sava and the Danube meet. It was designed by a young art school graduate trying to make her living. I also bought a small terracotta plaque that shows the typical old home of Beograd. It looks to be from the Habsburg period. It's simple and a bit primative but, very handmade.

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.

They are faded a bit but, they are fantastic as they make you reall look to see if something is real or not. I was mesmerized. At the end of this street is Sebilj fountain. On 20 August 1989, before the beginning of the IX Non-aligned Nations Summit, as a sign of friendship, this replica of the Sarajevo fountain was given by the city of Sarajevo to Belgrade. The original Sarajevo Sebilj, at the heart of Bascarsija, is one of the most famous symbols of Sarajevo and an orientation point. Sebilj is an Arabic word meaning road.

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.

Marko's montone stone with green roofs.

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.

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Belgrade Hostels review
The best hostel in Beograd.......the other's don't have Igor
The best hostel in Beograd! The location is central to the main square and the train and bus station. There is a small but, easy to spot, sign on the … read entire review
photo by: tj1777