Belgrade is the capital of the southeast European country of Serbia. Its most significant landmark is Beogradska Tvrđava, an imposing fortress at the confluence of the Danube and the Sava rivers. A testament to the city’s strategic importance to the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Serbian and Austrian empires, the fortress is now the site of several museums and Kalemegdan a vast park.
Restaurant Question Mark
The oldest of Belgrade inns, The Question mark, is located in Kralja Petra Street 6 and is one of the symbols of Belgrade.
Erected in 1823 as the property of Prince Miloš Obrenović, it was built by “masters from Grezia” in the Balkans style. It had changed owners and names since 1878. First, it was called “At the Shepherd’s” in 1878, then in 1892 “At the Cathedral Church” but church authorities protested so the owner put the question mark sign at the door as a temporary solution and it remained there to this day. It housed the first billiards game in Belgrade in 1834 and was the first reading room for the “Serbian Papers” from the same year.
This Ambiental nook of Belgrade, still standing to this day, is preserved in the area of Skadarska Street around the bohemian Tri šešira inn. These were small houses, but a few of which remain. The house where the Tri šešira inn stands today is typical, built in the second half of the 19th century, the abode of former bohemians. The aqueduct of the Bulbulder waterway with 14 arches once stood in the middle of the mahala, in front of the subsequently built house of Đura Jakšić, as the sole reminder of times gone by. During the 19th century, this used to be the Skadar Gate with the Skadar Drinking-Fountain.
A stream once ran down the center of the street, quite treacherous in heavy rain. The 19th century Belgrade press noted a curious event: “In Skadarska Street, as heading towards Mala pivara, the water level got so high during last night’s rain, that considerable damage was wrought for some. One woman nearly paid with her life. Marija, the wife to Nikola Jovanović the glassblower, went out into the street just as the flood hit hard. At that exact moment, the water caught her in its turbulent wake and carried her all the way to the stream below Mala pivara, from whence the neighbors extricated her with great difficulties.”
In the second half of the 19th century, the Gipsy settlements slowly vanished and the former sheds were replaced by more sturdy houses accommodating artisans, caterers and petty clerks. Houses were built spontaneously, under a strong Eastern influence, and yards were linked with gates through which one could always run over to the neighbor’s. There was a habit of planting oleanders in wooden barrels along the street. They formed a sort of fence creating comfortable shade for the residents of Skadarlija in front of their houses, at the same time endowing the street with a unique atmosphere.
Knez Mihailova Street
Pedestrian zone and commercial center – Knez Mihailova Street is protected by law since it is one of the oldest and most important monumental urban environments.
Knez Mihailova is composed of multiple buildings and representative houses constructed at the end of the 1870s. It is thought that the center of the population of Singidunum was established here during Roman times and that it was full of streets with gardens, fountains and mosques during the Ottoman Empire. After the elaboration of the Regulation of Urban Planning in 1867, the street was constructed rapidly to acquire its current physiognomy. It is in this street where influential personalities and rich families of the commercial and political fields of Belgrade got their houses built. In 1870, the Administrative Office of the City designated the current name – Prince Mihailo’s Street.
Ada Ciganlija proudly bears the name of “Belgrade Sea”.
Green, clean, equipped and relaxed, it becomes the favourite spot of Belgraders with the first signs of the spring sun. From the early mornings until late into the night, Ada Ciganlija is always lively.
Ada Ciganlija was, in fact, turned into a peninsula by human hands, surrounded by an embankment and bounded by the Sava River on one and the Sava Lake on the other side. It has a surface area of approximately 800 hectares and is awarded with the Blue Flag, international recognition for the quality of the beach second year in a row. The name most likely originates with the Celtic words “singa” and “lia”, meaning “island” and “underwater land”, while in time it morphed into the popular “ciganlija”.
Ada is a true ecological oasis of Belgrade, decorated with clean waters and a thick deciduous forest. It is a natural habitat for a large number of bird, rodent and insect species. The Sava Lake is home to a large number of fishes. It is easy to find an ideal place for bathing along the 7 kilometres of gravel beach. With public baths, showers and fountains as the necessary additional accessories, rescue crews, ambulance and police, the offer of Ada Ciganlija are exceptionally diverse.
Apart from swimming, you can row a boat, a kayak or a canoe on the lake, play water polo, windsurf, water-ski using a specially constructed cable-pulley, descend down toboggans, ride pedal-boats… If you tire of the water, you can ride a bicycle, play football, basketball, volleyball, handball, tennis, baseball, golf, rugby, field hockey, lift your adrenaline levels bungee jumping, relax fishing on specially built platforms or sharpen your spirit and body free climbing an artificial rock. For total relaxation choose one of over 70 restaurants and cafes along the lake shoreline and the rafts, and have a bit of respite.