Belgrade – Beograd
The White City
A picturesque city with stories, myths and urban legends as long as the Sava and Danube river put together. Belgrade is no ordinary city and by no means does it have an ordinary past.
Situated on the confluence of the Sava and Danube river, the Serbian capital is the meeting point for the eastern and western European continent.
With it’s long history of conflicts, Belgrade has seen a number of changes along the way. Changes that have influenced the architecture, culture, traditions, music and most importantly the transformation and adaption of the Serbian language.
But to be honest with you. I’m not going to give you a history lesson on Belgrade or it’s people. What I would like to give you is an insight to a place that has captured my heart since the beginning of time (my time …here…on earth)
Belgrade – My.Love.Affair.
Belgrade to me, has always been a city full of mysteries, history, grit, endurance, beauty, wonder and most of all, a city full of wonderful and witty people that make it what it is today.
My love affair with Belgrade began well into my late childhood and early teens. In the summer of 1990, I took my first oversea trip to Serbia (Belgrade) where I experienced the beauty of my first white Christmas, running bare foot on the white crisps snow, getting my tongue frozen stuck to a metal street lamp and ice skating without actually having any skates (black ice on the footpath brought the ninja out of me many times)
But during the course of my life, I flew back and forth each year spending at least a few weeks or a few months in Belgrade. Exploring the wonders of the White city. Each time I visited, my heart grew slightly larger with joy, happiness, connection and knowledge. I always had a lesson to learn (language barrier, no parents for longer periods of time, strange place and stranger customs)
Everything about Belgrade was different to what I had been use to. From the weather, to the culture and also the language ( to be honest, I’m still finding the language a slight challenge) But no matter what was placed in front of me during my time there. I always found it to be a wonderful learning experiencing in architecture, music, history and the Serbian language.
I suppose you could say that my love for architecture, history, language and music all developed in Belgrade, upon seeing the century old houses, hearing the brass bands play along Kneza Mihaila, or strolling through Kalemegdan Fortress. I knew I was hooked with intrigue at the steer beauty of Belgrade and what it had to offer. And it had a lot to offer.
Looking back now, I can honesty say that have so many fond memories of my experiences of the White City and Serbia. But I also have not so fond memories as well – as a young traveller at the time of my travels, I had to learn some quick ‘101 survival’ methods to get by without being robbed, stabbed or even the possibility of getting shoot randomly in some gang related argument or dispute.
Trust me – the mid 1990’s and early 2000’s – Belgrade was infamous for it’s gang related killings and political assassination. Hitman were paid well to eliminate certain people and anyone that stood in the way of their target, would be injured or killed in the process. No two ways about it.
In 2012, I saw the massive transformation in Belgrade and Beogradjima (Belgrade people). From it’s visual aspects to it’s community feel. Belgrade grew out of it’s gangster identity into a thriving metropolis. A different feel to a city that for many years had an overhanging dark cloud.
I suppose to me Belgrade will also have a special spot in my heart. The experience I’ve had and the future experiences I will continue to have will impact my life forever.
Belgrade will always be the White City overlooking the entrance to Europe. A city full of beauty and hidden gems. A city just waiting to be explored.
If you have never been to Belgrade … I do urge you to pack your bags and go enjoy the city for all it’s worth. A cheap and friendly destination just waiting for memories to be made.
Whatcha waiting for??