In this second edition of the self-proclaimed 'Rovo travel series', we take you to Belgrade, capital of Serbia and to the we-hope serendipitous joy of Djokovic fans, the birthplace of Novak Djokovic. As previously mentioned in the Basel article, the legendary status held by the town for giving birth to one of sporting history's greatest legends, should not obscure the other wonders that a crazy tennis fan cannot afford to miss, yet will miss.
Disclaimer: The author of this post studied history in school, so it is biased towards history sites and thus we highly suggest you rely on more than this guide in informing your knowledge of Belgrade. This blog post is also highly historical in both writing style and content.
The Gardos Tower is much younger than it looks - it was constructed in 1896... But it is just as impressive as buildings built much earlier and which attained legendary status because of their age. Also known as the Millennium Tower or the Tower of Janos Hunyadi (a Hungarian hero who died more than 400 years ago on the site of an earlier fortress). Some ruins from the earlier fortress can still be found today. It is originally one of five towers built by the Hungarians to celebrate 1,000 years of rule in the region, the landmark is located in Zemun, 20 km (13 miles) from Belgrade.
Crkva Svetog Marka
Crkva Svetog Marka, or Cathedral of St. Mark, was built in 1940 on the site of a wooden church built back to 1835. Located in central Belgrade’s Tašmajdan park neighborhood, it is one of the largest churches in the country. On top of the outside entrance to the church, you’ll find a mosaic of the Apostle Mark for whom the church is named, albeit in Serb. The church is filled with centuries-old icons, and several past Serv rulers are buried in its crypt!
Temple of Saint Sava
The Temple of Saint Sava dominates Belgrade’s skyline with its 134-meter (440-foot) high dome. To make it even taller, the dome is topped with a gold cross almost 12 meter (40 feet) high. It is the largest Orthodox church in use today, and is dedicated to Saint Sava, an important medieval personage who founded the Serbian Orthodox church. It is located on the Viacar Plateau, where Saint Sava (first archbishop of the Serbian church) is thought to be buried. Construction on the white marble and granite church started in 1935, but was halted during World War II and resumed in 1985. In fact it is still under construction today!
Skadarlija Street may not be long at all - it is just 400 meters in length - but it is the most famous street in Belgrade. The street is lined with vintage buildings and its bohemian atmosphere has drawn comparisons of it to Paris' Montmartre. In fact, it was known as the Gypsy quarter in the 19th century! It is a place where poets gather for Skadarlija Evenings at the house of the late poet and bohemian Dura Jaksic, and where the Children’s Street Theatre performs circus acts. The restaurants and outdoor cafes welcome diners, including celebrities, from all over.
This is perhaps the most historically significant site in Belgrade. Due to its strategic defensive location, people have lived at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers since Neolithic times. Then invader after invader moved in, first the Celts and later the Romans, who built a palisade here, followed by the Huns and the Goths. It was a Serbian leader, however, in the 15th century who really beefed up the fortifications to what it is now today. The fortress despite its age is remarkably intact, occupying a large chunk of the area. Besides such fortifications, the official fortress area includes a church, a museum and several popular parks.
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