History of Belgrade: From Ancient Times to the Modern Era.
Belgrade, the Serbian capital, is one of the oldest cities in Europe. With over 7,000 years of continuous human habitation, the history of Belgrade is rich and complex.
Prehistory and Antiquity
Archaeological findings indicate that the Belgrade area was inhabited as far back as the Paleolithic era. The Neolithic settlement of Vinča, near present-day Belgrade, is one of the earliest centers of copper and ceramic metallurgy in Europe. The ancient city of Singidunum, a precursor to today's Belgrade, was founded by the Celts in the 3rd century BCE. In the 1st century CE, Singidunum became part of the Roman Empire and served as a significant military camp along the limes, the border that protected Rome from invasions from the east."
The Middle Ages
Belgrade, as we know it today, was first mentioned in written sources in the year 878. At that time, it was located on the border between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. Belgrade frequently changed hands, coming under the control of Hungary, Bulgaria, and various Serbian rulers. The great Serbian ruler Despot Stefan Lazarević declared Belgrade the capital of Serbia in the 15th century. Under his rule, Belgrade experienced a significant revival and became an important cultural and trade center.
The Ottoman Era
The Ottomans first captured Belgrade in 1521. During two centuries of Ottoman rule, Belgrade became a significant Ottoman city on the border with the Habsburg Monarchy. Interestingly, during that time, Belgrade was one of the largest European cities.
Belgrade was finally liberated from Ottoman rule in 1867 and became the capital of the Kingdom of Serbia in 1882. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Belgrade emerged as a center of political, cultural, and economic activity in the Balkans. Despite suffering significant damage during both world wars, the city always managed to recover and continue its growth. Today, Belgrade is a modern metropolis that takes pride in its rich history. Walking through the streets of Belgrade, you traverse centuries of history—from Roman fortresses to Ottoman mosques to modern buildings. Furthermore, Belgrade's spirit is reflected in vibrant cafes, bustling markets, art galleries, and music festivals. All of this makes Belgrade a place that offers a unique blend of history and contemporary life.
Secrets of Belgrade
Belgrade is a city rich in history and mysteries. Behind the facades of buildings, streets, and parks, there are stories and secrets that pique the curiosity of visitors. Here are a few of the most famous ones:
Secret tunnels beneath Belgrade: There is a network of secret tunnels, trenches, and underground chambers that stretch beneath Belgrade. Some of these tunnels date back to the Roman Empire, while others were constructed during the time of Communist Yugoslavia. The most famous is the "Barutana" tunnel in Belgrade Fortress, which served as an armory.
Nikola Tesla and Hotel Moskva: The legendary figure Nikola Tesla declined to be the first guest at this hotel when it opened in 1908. His room, numbered 105, remained reserved for him until his death in 1943.
Vinča culture: The archaeological site of Vinča-Belo Brdo, located near Belgrade, is one of the oldest urban settlements in Europe. Many secrets of this culture remain undiscovered, including mysterious symbols considered one of the earliest forms of writing.
Underground church in Topčider: There are rumors of a secret underground church from the 19th century beneath Topčider Park. This church is said to conceal the grave of an unknown Russian soldier.
The secret of Atelje 212: The Atelje 212 theater holds many secrets, including the legend of the ghost of actress Ljiljana Krstić, who allegedly appears in the theater.
Untold stories from Ada Ciganlija: This popular Belgrade getaway, known as the "Belgrade Sea," hides many secrets, including tales of ghosts, secret tunnels, and underground rivers.
If you are coming to Belgrade, here are some of the locations you should definitely visit:
Belgrade Fortress and Kalemegdan: This is one of the oldest fortresses in Europe. The fortress and Kalemegdan Park offer a beautiful view of the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers.
Skadarlija: This is the bohemian quarter of Belgrade, exuding old-world charm with its cobblestone streets, restaurants playing traditional music, and art shops.
Saint Sava Temple: One of the largest Orthodox temples in the world, this imposing temple dominates the Belgrade skyline.
Ada Ciganlija: A popular spot for relaxation and recreation, Ada Ciganlija offers beaches, sports activities, restaurants, and cafes.
Nikola Tesla Museum: This museum houses a vast collection of original documents, books, and personal belongings of the great scientist Nikola Tesla.
Zemun Quay and Gardoš: Besides enjoying a stroll by the river, you can visit the Gardoš Tower, which offers a splendid view of the city.
Knez Mihailova Street: This pedestrian zone is one of the liveliest places in Belgrade, full of shops, restaurants, cafes, and street artists.
Museum of Yugoslavia and the House of Flowers: The Museum of Yugoslavia preserves a rich collection of items from the period of the former Yugoslavia, while the House of Flowers is the mausoleum of Josip Broz Tito.
Savamala: This revitalized district has become a cultural hub of the city with numerous galleries, clubs, creative workshops, and urban festivals.
National Museum: This museum houses over 400,000 archaeological, artistic, and historical exhibits from prehistory to modern art.
Each of these locations offers a unique experience of Belgrade, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the history, culture, gastronomy, and entertainment that this city has to offer.