Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe (its origins date back over 7 000 years). The city was known as Belgrade only since the 9th century. Belgrade had been conquered by the Turks at the beginning of the 16th century and remained under their rule until 1878, when it became the capital of independent Serbia. It was short-lived, though. Belgrade was successively the capital of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1918–1929); Yugoslavia (1929–2003); Serbia and Montenegro (2003–2006); and since 3 June 2006 — of the Republic of Serbia.
British Encyclopedia of Cities notes that Belgrade has been fought over the biggest number of times. Belgrade is also a city with the greatest number of symbolic names attached to it. It is dubbed as a ‘Gate between East and West’ — a name which is also attributed to Lublin.
It lies, on the hills, at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, in the north-central part of the country. It is the largest (with about 1.6 million inhabitants) and the most diverse city in the entire Balkans. You can find many traces left behind by the Celts, Romans, Byzantines, in the first place, and then by the Bulgarians, Serbs, Hungarians, and the Turks, Austrians, and Russians in the end.
Belgrade of today is a modern city. It is here that key sectors of the economy like metallurgical, metal and electronic industries, as well as trade and banking boom. It is estimated that Belgrade (state’s capital) generates as much as 30% of Serbia's GDP.
The city is the centre of Serbian culture, education and science. The following are the most important institutions of culture and science: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, National Library of Serbia, and the National Theatre as well as the National Museum. The city is also home to the University of Belgrade and the University of Arts.
The Serbian capital enjoys the status of an independent territorial unit with autonomous self-government. Belgrade’s territory is divided into 17 districts run by local self-governments. Stari Grad, Belgrade's old town, is one of them. Lublin and Stari Grad ‘became friends’ on 3 June 2017, on foot of an official Letter of Intent on Cooperation.
The municipalities of Stari Grad, Skadarlija and part of the municipality of Terazije, were incorporated in 1957 into what today makes Belgrad Stari Grad. The 698-hectare district is inhibited by 70 000 residents.
Stari Grad is the old part of the town located on the right bank of the Sava river. Stari Grad, literally means old town, and the name reflects historically significant inner city, where Belgrade flourished over many centuries. Kneza Mihaila street, named after Prince Michael Obrenović III of Serbia, is a centrally located main pedestrian zone. Capital’s most important monuments are located within that area. Mihaila street begins at the Republic Square — the location of the National Museum. Most important temples of the old town, i.e.: The Church of St Alexander Nevsky, St Michael's Cathedral, and Bajrakli Mosque, are not far from here. It is in this part that the famous Kalemegdan — a former fortress at the mouth of the Sava and Danube rivers — is located. This area is the most picturesque part of the city. Looking from the Pobednik (The Victor) Monument (a statue of a naked man with a sword and an eagle often referred to a mythical Heracles), one can marvel at a spectacular view over the two rivers. Only the medieval Nebojša Tower and the 18th century Gate of Charles VI survived till this day out of the original fortress. Skadarli street, similar to Paris’ Montmartre, is worth a visit. Built in the late 19th century, it became a bohemian quarter. The street is impressive, one should come here not only for a coffee or lunch, but also just to sit on one of the benches and experience the atmosphere of this unique place.
Belgrade, on top of monuments and varied cultural events, encourages you to relax and unwind. Late at night, both residents and tourists, enjoy and immerse themselves in an atmosphere of this Balkan capital. Dorćol district, on the Danube’s right bank, is the place you want to be. It is one of the oldest surviving neighbourhoods of Belgrade. Dorćol is famous for its unique vibe. It is a place beaming with life, entertainment, cafés and pubs. Dorćol featured in many articles or documentaries in BBC or The Guardian (a British daily newspaper). Time Out magazine ranked Dorćol among ‘the world's 40 coolest neighbourhoods’ and described it as a ‘Belgrade’s phenomenon’ and ‘an exciting, creative and inventive spot’.
The Balkans are all about great cuisine. You can see it for yourself during a city break to the Serbian capital. Hamburger-like Pljeskavica is Belgrade's top street food. Burek or Cevapcici are definitely a Balkan street food to taste. Serbian cuisine is full of vegetable-based starters, such as grilled peppers stuffed with cheese, baked potatoes, Ajvar or Pasulj (Serbian bean soup), just as salads of different kinds.
Belgrade is a city that will suit many, if not all, individual tastes.
Opština Beograd Stari Grad
tel: 00381 11 3225 791
faks: 00381 11 3300 668