Belgrade is a city with a big heart and a turbulent history.
Belgrade is a city with a big heart and a turbulent history. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube, on the border of the Balkan Peninsula and the Pannonian Plain. Because of its position, has always been a target of conquerors. It combines different epochs, which can be seen in architecture, culture, cuisine, music and social life. Today, Belgrade stands as a museum of the past, a witness to conquest, demolition, rebuilding, development and progress.
The history of Belgrade begins several thousand years before the new era from the prehistoric Vinca, and the very founding of the city is connected to the Celts, and later to the Roman Singidunum.
Belgrade has been destroyed 44 times throughout history, and it has always been rebuilt and continued to live.
Belgrade is an ideal place for history lovers.
The first settlements appear in the 3rd century BC with the settlement of Celtic tribes after the Thracians and Dacians.
The Celts called Belgrade Singidunum. In the middle of the 2nd century, the city passed into the hands of the Romans; from that period date back some preserved buildings in Belgrade.
In the 6th century, the city was inhabited by Slavs, and later it was conquered by conquerors from Byzantium, Bulgaria and Hungary until the Ottoman Empire in 1521, when Belgrade was finally conquered by the Turks, led by Suleiman the Magnificent, after several attempts. The centuries-old Ottoman rule and the later competition of the Habsburg monarchy gave their key stamp to the appearance and development of Belgrade. We can thank the Austrian monarchy for the reconstruction of the Belgrade Fortress, and the Ottoman Empire for the accepted customs and cuisine.
Today, Belgrade is a modern city where everyone can find their favourite place.
During your stay in Belgrade, we will show you all its sights, as well as places that are not known to tourists. We will do everything to make you feel at home and to want to come back here again. Read below about the most important places in Belgrade.
Saint Sava Temple
Saint Sava Temple was built at Vračar plateau and it is one of the biggest orthodox temples in the Balkans, besides the temple is also a so-called small Saint Sava Church. On the plateau in front of it, is the bronzed monument dedicated to Saint Sava, the first Serbian archbishop, the monument was made by the Russian sculptor Klikov.
In the park in front of the Temple, there is a monument dedicated to Karađorđe Petrović, the leader of the First Serbian Uprising. In the vicinity is also the National Serbian Library.
Slavija Square and Flower Square
Slavija Square, called after the Hotel with the same name, built-in 1888. In the second half of the 19th century this location was a swamp, nowadays – it’s one of the biggest squares of Belgrade where 7 streets are crossing. One of these streets is King Milan Street that hosts the Yugoslavian Drama Theatre founded in 1947, one of the most important cultural institutions in Belgrade.
Across the road, recently reconstructed is the Cvetni Trg or Flower Square, a former Flower market, that is nowadays famous for numerous authentic Belgrade cafes.
Saint Mark Church
On the way from Slavija road passing by popular „Beograđanka”, the first skyscraper in the centre of the city that used to be the biggest department store in the Balkans. From there Resavska Street will lead to St. Mark Church in Serbian- Byzantine style that is preserving the ashes of Tsar Dušan, the greatest ruler of Serbia. St. Marko church is the second largest temple in Belgrade and one of the most beautiful. Just behind this colossal church is a tiny but lovely Russian Orthodox church
The Church of St. Mark was built in the 1930s on the place wherein 1830 the Hattisherif (decree) was read, which represents the last step towards the establishment of the autonomy of the Principality of Serbia concerning the Ottoman Empire.
With this act, Sultan Mahmud II’s acknowledged the autonomy of the Principality and independent public administration.
The second is the most important of the three hattisherifs (or four, including the Turkish constitution) that the Turkish sultan issued to the Serbs.
Hattisherif was also accompanied by the Sultan’s Berat, by which Prince Miloš Obrenović was granted the right to form a dynasty.
Tašmajdan is the second-largest park in downtown Belgrade, and of the most important in the city both historically and in terms of attractions and activities.
In Roman times stone was extracted from this place for the construction of Singidunum (ancient Belgrade), and it remains operative until the end of the Ottoman rule.
The Tašmajdan caves and underground tunnels, constructed over the centuries are probably even more interesting than the park above but are unfortunately currently inaccessible to the public.
Close to St. Mark Church, the Serbian Parliament is located, across which the Old and New Palace are situated. Old Palace used to be King Milan Obrenović’s residency, nowadays it is the City Parliament. New Palace, former King Petar I Karađorđević’s residency, is now the Serbian President’s residency.
This is one of the most beautiful squares of Belgrade. In the late 19th and the 1st part of the 20th century after numerous reconstructions, Terazije becomes the centre of social life. It is also famous for the hotel triangle, which is: hotel Moscow, Balkan and Kasina.
Knez Mihailova Street and Republic Square
The epicentre of the city is Republic Square with the Prince Mihail monument. On this square are also the two most important cultural artistic institutions, the National Theatre and National Museum.
Knez Mihailo Street is the main walking and shopping zone. It goes from Kalemegdan to Republic Square and continues to Terazije square. This street is one of the best places to feel the pulse of the city. This street is home to man national and international cultural institutions, numerous cafes and restaurants, a few hotels and hostels, and lots of local and worldwide brand shops.
The architecture in the street is a mixture of many of the styles featured in Belgrade, starting with lower buildings near Kalemegdan, and rising slowly towards Terazije and the Albanija palace, the highest building in the street. The street and its surroundings are protected as important cultural heritage.
Obilićev Venac street
This is one of the favourite hangout places of the Belgrade youth. Dozens of cafes are lined together in a rather short but charming street going from the central Republic square to a small park in the centre.
Obilićev venac is also home to the most popular and largest garage located near the Knez Mihailova walking zone.
Belgrade’s hedonist quarter, Skadarlija was the gathering point for poets and artists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It connects the Republic square with the Skadarlija (Bajloni) market, one of the largest in the city centre.
The name of the street – Skadarska comes from the town of Skadar (in present-day Albania), one of the most important Serbian cities of the late middle ages.
Today it is home to some of the most famous Belgrade restaurants and cafes, as well as a few art galleries. This short cobblestone street also includes antique and souvenir shops, all night bakeries and folk groups singing traditional city music. An impressive mural is featured on the wall of the old brewery at the bottom of the street.
There used to be a total of 273 mosques in Belgrade, and today only one has been preserved – the Bajrakli mosque. It is located in the part of Belgrade called Dorcol and is the only active building of Islamic religious architecture in Belgrade. It is assumed that today’s Bajrakli mosque was built on the site of an older masjid, most likely in the second half of the 17th century, as an endowment of the Turkish ruler Sultan Suleiman II. Originally it was Chohaji-haji Ali’s and later Hussein-ceha’s mosque, while it got its current name at the end of the 18th century. At that time, as the main mosque, there was a muvekit who calculated the exact Hijri time according to the Islamic calendar to determine the holy days, regulated the clock mechanism and hoisted a flag (flag) on the minaret, as a sign of simultaneous prayer in all other Islamic places of worship. During the Austrian rule from 1717 to 1739, it served as a cathedral Catholic church, and with the return of the Turks in 1741, its original purpose was renewed.
In the 19th century, it was restored by rulers from the Obrenović dynasty, Prince Mihailo and King Aleksandar Obrenović. During the reign of Prince Mihailo, the Minister of Education and Church Affairs was ordered to choose one of the existing neglected mosques and enable it to perform religious rites for the remaining population of the Islamic religion.
Bajrakli Mosque is the main Islamic cultural centre in Belgrade, but also a place of connection with God. The doors of this Islamic shrine are open to both, visitors and believers, and due to its antiquity, rarity, preservation of the original purpose, as well as the representativeness of religious architecture and Islamic culture, it was placed under state protection in 1946 and established as a cultural asset in 1979. of great importance.
In the capital church of Belgrade, there are tombs of some of the most important people from Serbian history. Across from the Congregation Church is the building of Patriarch, with the Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Nearby is the oldest bar in the city, which is known for its unusual name “Question Mark -?”, as well as the Mansion of Princess Ljubica, former home of the first lady of Serbia, and today a museum.
Kalemegdan is the most important cultural-historic complex in the city. In the Kalemegdan Park, on the confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube, the Belgrade Fortress raises proudly and is the witness of the tumultuous history of this ancient city. On the outermost part of the fortress raises the monument dedicated to Victor.
Besides many kilometres of paths and numerous hideouts through the park, there are also a few playgrounds for the kids, some chess boards from the elderly, and a great wall which is a favourite spot with spectacular and often romantic views of sunsets. In winter a younger population goes skiing and sleigh riding on the slopes near the Zoo. The park is also home to squirrels and other smaller animals which from time to time like to hang around with people, especially if you have some food to offer them.
If you don’t like walking, you can also get the mini train that runs through the park.
Being a preserved sight with two millennia of history, Kalemegdan is home to many monuments. There are four significant towers, the two most important being Nebojša tower and Sahat (clock) tower, numerous gates, the most important ones are Zindan Kapija, Inner Stambol Kapija (below the tower), and Charles VI gate. There are walls from Roman and medieval times, Turkish and Austrian. There are many ruins and archaeological sites and a whole lot of statues, the most important being the statue to Victor, aka Pobednik, and one dedicated to Despot Stefan, founder of Serbian medieval Belgrade.
Some of the significant monuments and places at Kalemegdan are:
The statue of the Victor
One of the most famous landmarks in Belgrade, located in the Belgrade fortress at the place where the medieval castle stood once. It was erected in 1928 to commemorate the Kingdom of Serbia’s war victories over the Ottoman Empire (First Balkan War) and Austria-Hungary (World War I).
It is one of the most famous works of Ivan Meštrović. The name of the statue represents the Victory of Liberty. This is the most popular visual symbol of Belgrade.
The Military Museum
One of Belgrade’s most famous museums, located in the middle of Kalemegdan Park and Belgrade Fortress. The outdoor part of the museum is free to access and is composed of tanks, cannons, war trucks, boats and even a submarine, while the indoor gallery showcases the entire military (and related) history of the region, from the stone age to the latest war of the nineties.
One of Belgrade’s most mysterious attractions, built at the beginning of the 18th century, during the baroque reconstruction of the fortress. It is believed that it was constructed upon a much older, two thousand years old Roman well that served to provide water to the Roman castrum in case of siege. Alfred Hitchcock visited the well in 1964 and said that an environment like that is always a treat for him.
The well is 51m deep (its bottom lies below the bottom of the nearby Sava river), with 3m in diameter and two spiral staircases that connect at the depth of about 35 meters forming a DNA-like shape.
The water in the well is incredibly clean and is home to an endemic species of tiny crab that lives only there. The source of the water still hasn’t been determined.
Due to high humidity levels, stalactites (cave decorations) have formed around the well.
One of the few remaining monuments of medieval Belgrade, a four levels cannon tower built around 1460 to protect the entrance to the Danube port, and belongs to the oldest type of early artillery cannon towers. During the late Turkish rule, it was converted into a dungeon where many revolutionaries and rebels have been imprisoned, among them a Greek writer and revolutionary – Rigas Feraios.
The name Nebojša is ambiguous and can mean fearless or unbreakable. It is also a common male name.
Today Nebojša tower is a unique museum of the history of Belgrade with multimedia installations about medieval Belgrade, the Turkish era, the rising of modern Serbia.
Damad Ali-pasha's turbe
Damad Ali Pasha’s turbe is located on the plateau of the Upper Town, has an octagonal base and is one of the few preserved monuments of Islamic architecture in Belgrade. The turbe was named after the Grand Vizier of Sultan Ahmed III, Damad Ali Pasha.
The mausoleum was built in 1784 over the grave of the Belgrade governor Izmet Mehmed-pasha. Since the turbe was significantly damaged in the First Serbian Uprising, Marashli Ali Pasha restored it during 1818 and 1819 and dedicated it to Damad Ali Pasha. Later, two muhafis (guardians) of the Belgrade Fortress were buried there: Selim-pasha (1847) and Hasan-pasha (1850).
Unique and beautiful church near St. Petka church. A medieval church of the same name existed on the site in the time of Stefan Lazarević. It was demolished in 1521 by the invading Turks. Today’s church was a gunpowder magazine in the 18th century and was converted into a military church between 1867 and 1869. Heavily damaged during the First World War, the church was renovated in 1925.
Ružica church features a unique interior with ornaments made of weapons and ammunition from the First World War, with a chandelier made of sables and bullets. The chamber has impressive acoustics thanks to its rounded cave-like shape.
Also known as the “Garden of Good Hope”, one of the oldest zoological gardens in Europe, founded in 1936.
Nowadays it is particularly popular due to an incredibly high amount of newborns in captivity, as well as some very rare species such as the famous family of albino lions.
Ušće shopping mall
This is the biggest mall in Belgrade and Serbia, its size, great location and the proximity of both business and recreational zones, as well as tourist hotspots, made this shopping mall the new favourite gather point for Belgraders and guests alike.
With more than a hundred shops, cafes & restaurants, Ušće mall is not the most affordable place to go shopping in Belgrade, but it’s the best place to come for variety and exploring the offer, especially if you’re shopping for gifts.
Mount Avala, only 511 m high, is only 18 km away from the centre of Belgrade. It is overgrown with deciduous and coniferous forests. The natural complex of Avala has been protected since 1859. In the Middle Ages, the town of Žrnov was located on the top of Avala, which also controlled the approach to Belgrade. The Turks conquered it in the 15th century and rearranged it for their own needs.
A mausoleum was erected on the top of the mountain in 1938, the Monument to the Unknown Hero, a work by Ivan Meštrović dedicated to Serbian heroes from the First World War. Nearby is the Monument to Soviet war veterans who suffered a plane crash there on October 19, 1964. On the way to Belgrade, in the village of Jajinci, there is a Memorial Park at the place where the Germans shot about 80,000 people during the Second World War.
The main attraction of Avala is the 205-meter-high TV tower, erected in 2010 as a replica of the old one from 1965, which was destroyed in 1999 during the NATO bombing.
Ada Ciganlija – Sava Lake
Sava Lake is the largest lake in Belgrade, and the favourite summer destination for its residents and guests alike. A century ago there was a thin island at a wide point of the river Sava just outside the city of that time.
The Ada (meaning island) was later connected with the mainland by two dikes forming the lake and expanding the islands. Several kilometre long beaches and countless attractions and activities make Ada Ciganlija the coolest place to be in Belgrade at any time of year.
Big War Island
The name was given to the islands in the 18th century since it served as a stronghold at the Border between Zemun (Austria) and Belgrade (Turkey).
Museum of Yugoslavia
Josip Broz Tito was, lifelong, the only president of SFR Yugoslavia, a country in which the entire system and society are concentrated on general, common values and the existence of social property. He was a communist and a fighter against fascism. And he was the creator of socialist Yugoslavia, serving in various roles from 1943 until he died in 1980. During World War II, he was the leader of the Partisans, often regarded as the most effective resistance movement in occupied Europe. He also served as the President of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1953 to 4 May 1980.
When Josip Broz Tito, the lifelong president of Yugoslavia, died at the age of 88, the whole country stopped. People were affected, stunned, sad. The father of socialist, multinational Yugoslavia died. And with him, one entire era has ended.
The collections of the Museum of the History of Yugoslavia were created, like the Museum itself, by merging the funds of the Memorial Center “Josip Broz Tito” and the Museum of the Revolution of the Peoples and Nationalities of Yugoslavia. Over 200,000 exhibits illustrate Yugoslav history during the 20th century, with a special emphasis on the life and work of Josip Broz Tito. The Museum of the History of Yugoslavia includes the Museum of May 25, the Old Museum and the House of Flowers.
Zemun was a town on the Austrian border, across the Danube from Belgrade, and the fortresses of these two towns looked at each other cautiously above the Big War Island, while their people traded, met friends or fought on the rivers.
Until WWI, Zemun was a town of its own, the last frontier of the Austria-Hungary empire. After WWII, New Belgrade was built between the two old towns, connecting them. Since 1934 Zemun is part of Belgrade, a neighbourhood and municipality north of New Belgrade, yet still different in spirit, speed and architecture, which is way better preserved than in the rest of the metropolis.
The old town of Zemun is a preserved area showcasing urban life in the 18th and 19th century. The town existed since Roman times when it was known as Taurunum. Some remains of the fortress are still visible today if you know where to look – around the Gardoš tower and the cemetery.
The top landmark of Zemun is Gardoš, the Millennium tower built in the nineteenth century to celebrate the thousand years of the Austrian Empire
Other important sights in the old town there are several orthodox and catholic churches, the old post office, houses of important traders from the 18th and 19th century, and a few schools.
Adjacent to the old town is the Zemun Quay, one of the most popular walking zones in Belgrade.
Belgrade for young people and for all those who feel that way
From culture, through the club scene, to cafeterias and food, Belgrade leaves the impression that everything is set according to youthful energy, so all you have to do is to choose your favourites and start exploring.
Savamala, the new cultural and clubbing destination
Savamala is a resurrecting elite neighbourhood in the heart of Belgrade and the centre of the capital’s cultural life, home to several new art galleries and cultural centres. It is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, showcasing spectacular architectural jewels, such as the Geozavod building, the Bristol hotel, the Brankov bridge, as well as many palaces of the Serbian nobility from the 19th century.
Savamala is also the ultimate party destination for the young crowds, featuring many of the top trending clubs in Belgrade, such as Brankow, Mladost, Ludost, Lasta, Hype, Ben Akiba, Gajba, Industrija bar, Tranzit and others.
In Cetinjska Street, where one of the main city’s breweries was located, a new party centre has sprung up. The fact that all the bars are within a hundred meters allows you to change many musical genres, ambiences and atmospheres in one evening.
During the summer, when all the bars open their gardens, the atmosphere is reminiscent of festivals. During the day, you can stop here for a drink or see the exhibition.
When we say that Belgrade is a city that never sleeps, we mean rafts. On the numerous rafts that are under Branko’s bridge, everyone will find a way for themselves.
The parties only end when it dawns. Taxi drivers are always waiting in front of the rafts, and in order not to go to bed hungry, be sure to stop by one of the many street food bars that are open all night long.
In recent years, the concrete hall has become a synonym for a good time in Belgrade, and more and more Belgraders, as well as tourists, go out in this part of the city. There are many restaurants in Beton Hall where you can eat a quality lunch or have your first-morning coffee, but still, it has become especially popular because of the clubs and the music that is played in them.
The places where the best Belgrade parties are located are right here, and we take you to some of the best clubs: Gotik, Freestyler, Komitet.
Belgrade has a huge offer of street food restaurants. In them, you can find pizza, lasagna, Turkish food, Greek gyros, Lebanese and Israeli food. It is known that Serbs are big meat lovers, which means that you can buy various meat specialities in street food bars at any time of the day or night.
If you are a fan of this kind of food, it will be interesting for you to hear that in Belgrade there is a street in jargon called Food Street or the Valley of the Hungry, which is full of hungry people returning from a night out.