Belgrade. The city that offers so many opportunities for entertainment, good time and quality cultural leisure activities.
Belgrade: with arms wide open – welcome new year in the Serbian capital
If you planned to be in Belgrade during the New Year “madness”, in addition to having fun in cafes and restaurants (available in abundance), be sure to visit some signature places of the capital and enjoy the rare cultural treasure.
Exhibitions – Meštrović, gospel of Miroslav
These days, the National Museum hosts an exhibition of Ivan Meštrović, former Yugoslavia’s most prominent sculptor. The exhibition includes around 40 sculptures created mostly before WWI.
It is an exhibition of exceptional importance. It represents a part of our fund, and remember that in 2019 we celebrated the 175-th anniversary of the National museum. Exhibiting Meštrović’s works from our collection, we wanted to highlight the importance of art and our treasures. When you enter the renovated museum building, two caryatids welcome you at the entrance and two Ivan Meštrović’s sculptures in the atrium. This time, we wanted to present the biggest part of the opus of the brilliant artist in our collection. We put on display another 43 of his works in marble, bronze and plaster of 80 works of the artist the National museum possesses.
said Bojan Borić Brešković, director of the National museum.
Once at the National museum, you have a beautiful and rare chance to see the oldest preserved cyrillic book – the Miroslav Gospel. It was written in the eighties of the 12th century on the parchment and contains 181 pages. Gospel’s text is written with pen in two columns, in brown and black colours, most of the titles are in red. The book contains 296 miniatures drawn with a pen and then painted with a brush in red, green, yellow and white and decorated with gold.
In close proximity to the Museum, there is another exhibition worth visiting. SANU, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, hosts an exhibition about the Studenica monastery as a contribution to the celebration of the 800-year anniversary of the autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
At the same time, make sure to see a permanent exhibition at the museum of the Serbian Orthodox church near the patriarchate. The exhibition is dedicated to eight centuries of independence of the church and contains many valuable works – from the manuscript heritage of the Patriarchate of Peć, Visoki Dečani (medieval Serbian Orthodox monastery), the monastery of Krka and shrines of the Serbian people from the Balkan windstorm to probably, most valuable, King Milutin’s shroud.
What is a shroud?
King Milutin’s shroud is a liturgical textile. It is a Good friday textile, an object associated with the white cloth in which the body of Jesus Christ was wrapped after he had been removed from the cross. As a memento of Good Friday, evert church has a shroud. Thus king Milutin, for his endowment, the Banjska monastery, ordered a shroud with gold embroidery be made which was supposedly made either in Constantinople or Thessaloniki. Considering that it is the oldest object of the applied art, it represents the most valuable cultural monument of the highest museum category. It was made at the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century. It is composed vertically, and is one of the two in the whole Byzantine heritage composed this way. It was made using the gold embroidery technique with gold and silver threads. At the bottom of the shroud, there is a sacramental inscription: “God, remember the soul of your servant”, although he is a king, he is only a servant of God in death.
On the road with us to Belgrade
Gardoš – symbol of Zemun
One of the corners where you will enjoy beautiful views of the Danube and Belgrade and that will fill you with peace and quiet is certainly Gardoš. This pearl of Zemun features a handful of attractions but you shouldn’t miss the Gardoš tower (or, to be more precise, the Millennium tower) with working hours from 10 to 19. Climb the cobbled Sinđelićeva street, and the monumental building appears to your left.
This 36-meter high Tower was built in 1896, throughout its history it has been an observatory and a watchtower.
The tower was built as a romantic monument of brick and stone, it featured numerous symbols of the Hungarian kingdom. The platform above the splendid loggia was decorated with sculptures of rulers on the throne and standing lions. At the very top of the tower, there was a tall gilded sculpture of Turul, a mythical bird-like creature resembling a falcon from Hungarian folk legends. Turul’s wingspan at the top of the tower was around 4m. The tower was damaged during the First World War and renovated in 1919. Today in the area around the tower you can see medieval fortifications built in the Gothic style.
This fortification was rectangular in shape with protruding circular towers at the corners. In the middle of the 14th century, inside this fortification there was a defense tower which served as a safe haven for feudal lords and the city commander in case of danger. Right on the site of the old defense tower, in the most dominant position of the city, then-rulers of Zemun decided to erect a monument that marked the southern borders of Hungary.
The tower that everyone calls wrong
Originally, the tower was called the Millennium tower, it was named after one millennium, that is, 1,000 years, since the arrival of Hungary in this area; afterwards over time it received various names. The Serbs who inhabited Zemun called it the Sibinjanin Janka tower after the historical figure of Janoš Hunjadija who fought against the Turks and was a hero of many folk songs. That name was generally accepted and was made official after the First World War. It got the neutral name of the Gardoš tower after the famous forest hill on which it was built more than a century ago.
The whole area on the forest hill is a large archeological site. The Romans built the oldest core of the ancient Taurunum on the hill. A magnificent Roman sarcophagus was excavated on Gardoš which you can still see in the Zemun Park today. Before the Romans, the Celts had their oppidum, a fortified settlement, here. Archeologists have found the remains of the Starčevo and Vinča cultures in Gardoš, as well as traces of the later Baden culture.
The right stairs lead you to the observatory Vidikovac that gives a breathtaking panorama that you can observe with a 360-degree telescope. Inside the upper floors, you can enjoy a permanent exhibition dedicated to the person and work of Milutin Milanković in the form of three-dimensional models and software programs about his life and work. The left spiral staircase descends to the bottom of the floor and exits to the natural lookout in its surroundings.
Restaurants around Gardoš or “Skadarlija of Zemun”
After visiting the Gardoš tower, we recommend that you rest and refresh yourself in one of the local restaurants, our choice is Salaš (located near the Gardoš tower). The restaurant offers specialties, above all, of the Vojvodina cuisine mixed with Šumadija. The specialty dishes are mainly served in earthenware pots. The trump cards of the restaurant’s offer are roast veal under a baking bell, pork loin in horseradish sauce, turkey with flatbread.
We are in the part of the city popularly called “Skadarlija of Zemun”, we even named the halls in the restaurant after Zemun hills. It is a family restaurant, and many people love to come here because of the ethno ambience. We have many foreign visitors, Italians come in big numbers, they like fish that we cook in three specific ways. There are also Turkish, Swiss, German guests, but also our regular local clientele.
we were told at the restaurant.
Fort the New Year holidays, in addition to excellent dishes, this restaurant offers good music performed by the tamburaši orchestra.
For Belgrade dwellers returning from a trip, one look at the Avala tower is enough to know they are at home. During the NATO bombing, Belgrade lost its most recognizable symbol. The people of Belgrade could not accept that. On the site of the demolished tower a new one was built, two meters higher than the old one (with an antenna pole, it is 204,68 meters high); it was opened for visitors on 21 April 2010.
When the original tower was built, it was considered a masterpiece of architecture and was one of the ten highest buildings in the world. The original tower was built from 1961 to 1964, and was unique in that it was not buried in the ground but placed on three “legs” symbolizing the Serbian tripod. The tower was destroyed on the night of 29 April 1999 during the NATO bombing.
The Avala tower is a tourist attraction, its lookout point offers a breathtaking view of Belgrade, Šumadija and even Kopanonik in fine and clear weather. Two elevators take you to the terrace and the cafe-bar from the base level in just 40 seconds. The cafe-bar is located at the height of 119 meters, the lookout point 122 meters.
Entrance to the Avala Tower costs 300 dinars for adults, 100 dinars for children up to 7 years old, people with disability and special needs and 150 dinars for pupils, students and pensioners.
This is our Serbia, beautiful, rich in historical heritage and magnificent nature, it seems to tell us that we have something to keep, something to truly enjoy and be proud of.
So travel with us, travel after us, visit Serbia, explore its treasures. And in two weeks we will take you on a new adventure.
Useful tips for your trip
- On the Avala tower children must be accompanied by parents at all times.
- If you are not a frequent visitor of Belgrade, avoid driving around the city during the rush hour - in the period from 8 am to 10 am and from 4 pm to 7 pm.
- Of course, don’t forget to bring your camera!
- Be careful at the Gardoš tower, although it is forbidden to climb the wall, many visitors do that to take beautiful pictures.