The backsteets of Zemun and the Devil

Zemun Travel Blog

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Amazing details on this rundown house....obviously once a great residence.

It was RAINING, again, and I decided to wait to go to Novi Sad. I thought maybe a shorter trip to Zemun would be a good thing for the day. I walked to the main square ( a big round a bout ) and found the bus that I was looking for. I boarded but the driver wouldn't take my money. So, I stood at the center of the bus as we drove through downtown Belgrade and then crossed the Danube. There was no seat and my standing there seemed to provide entertainment for the locals. The stops weren't being announced so, I got confused and exited the bus too soon.

Given the view around me....I was in Novi Beograd.....not where I should be. So, I walked to the next stop for busses. A young woman was standing there. She spoke English well and told me that tickets are purchased on the bus.....when the driver feels like selling them. So I caught the next bus continuing to Zemun.....and this driver took my money.

So, I made it to Zemun. It immediately looked so rundown. I walked the small side streets in the direction of the river. I could see in the distance that the tower and the church that the town are so famous for were in the general direction. I walked through alleys where the houses were obviously grand when they were built to now on the verge of falling apart. A reminder of a once great empire that controlled this area.

Now it has the reputation of a mafia centre.  I came upon the beutiful church of the Holy Father Nicholas with the split spire. It ias the oldest orthodox church in the Belgrade area, built between 1725 and 1731. I entered but now one was there. It was under renovation so I could only see a bit of it. The frescoes were quite beautiful. I left the church and walked to the river where I was alble to walk along in the rain. I saw a marina that looked deserted except for some small paddle boats that were full of water.......picturesque anyway. I ventured up the hill with the  Millenium Tower in sight ( built in 1896 for the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian State). It is a shame that the condition is so poor, now. It's broken glass, graffiti, and beer cans make it a very sad place.
Behind it the distinctive yellow neo-byzantine church of St. Dimitrije in poor condition as well.

The view from the tower was a fantastic panorama of Zemun and the Danube. I am sure on a clear day you and see all of Belgrade. I walked the many passages of stairs through tiny alleys and braved barking dogs to return to the lower level. It was still raining and I was tired of being wet, so I walked back to the bus stop and returned to the Manga Hostel in the city.

I'm glad that I ventured into this area of the city. Travel books do not tell you of the decay that is evident but, there is much history here and it is worth your time to take a short visit. It's gritty and dirty and not the pretty touristy place but, it's real and it's history is important.

Upon returning, I took my wet clothes off and proceeded to take a little nap.

This didn't last long as I could hear someone in the shower next door. So, I got up and put fresh dry clothes on. I went down stairs and had a nice conversation with Igor. Over hot tea, we talked about his life (being born a Serb born in Croatia / the war / his family), Beograd, thoughts for his future, and human rights issues in Serbia. He wanted to know about my life and was really taken at my story. He said that he felt inspired by it and gives him hope for his future. That has to be the greatest compliment someone could ever give me.

I decided to eat in, again, so I went to the grocery store and picked up some veggies and drinks. I returned to the hostel, had my dinner, and relaxed on the couch and watched "The Devil wears Prada" with the French / Canadian couple couple. After, I said my good nights and went to bed. Tomorrow, I woud journey to Novi Sad, to the north, in Vojvodinia.

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Amazing details on this rundown ho…
Amazing details on this rundown h…
close up details over door
close up details over door
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photo by: irmayu