Taking into consideration the late night and beers consumed, I feel pretty good today and I’m ready to spend a full day exploring Belgrade. The sun is out…it’s really hot today. Anthony and I walk back to Republic Square, and we find a cute café called Boutique for breakfast. We sit on the patio, soaking in the sunshine while people watching.
Our first stop is the House of the National Assembly of Serbia, another popular landmark here in Belgrade – a large white parliamentary style building. It looks like something is going on here today, so we try to follow the masses inside but are met with strange looks….I guess it’s not open to the public. Whoops! On the fence in front of the street there are politically charged banners – something about children being killed and US/NATO/EU protecting war criminals. Heavy stuff. We walk back this way in the evening and the building is lit up; it’s even more stunning at night.
Across the way is the Historical Museum of Serbia. It’s small, and does not house any permanent exhibitions. One temporary exhibit is for Olja Ivanjicki – a famous artist from Serbia.
We walk past her costume designs, personal belongings, and her amazing paintings. The other exhibit is about Serbia’s involvement in WWI, also interesting. A short walk from the museum is the spectacular St Marks Church. It is Serbian Orthodox, and is one of the largest churches in the entire country.
It’s located in a park, surrounded by nature. The inside is still unfinished, 70 years later! But there is a large chandelier with candles, and golden mosaics of religious guys at the altar. I have no idea who they are! This church is gorgeous, and worth a look.
Next, I use my amazing navigational skills and get us by foot to the beautiful Church of Saint Sava, one of the largest churches in the world! It is also Serbian orthodox, and is made of pristine white marble and granite with green domes.
Historical Fact: it is believed that this is the location where the remains of Saint Sava were burned. It is of great importance to the Serbian people – for celebrations of faith, culture and freedom. The inside is being renovated so there isn’t much to see, but we can explore the crypts below. It is beautiful…chandeliers, shiny floors and a golden hue throughout.
We leave the church, and try to make our way to the next destination, The House of Flowers. This is where my navigational skills fail! We get on a bus and go in that direction, but there is no direct route there and no one can tell us if there is a way to get there! We decide it’s best to go back to Republic Square and take a bus directly from there. And now we need lunch, so we stop at a bakery called Toma. We try burek, which is a flaky phyllo pastry traditionally filled with meat – but bakeries offer other varieties. I opt for the cheese filled one. There were often debates between our guides as to which country in the Balkans have the best burek, as it varies from place to place.
With our bellies full of burek, we get on the bus that takes us directly to the House of Flowers. It is a quick ride but the bus is packed and as I’d mentioned, it’s very hot today. Fun! The House of Flowers is a small building that is the final resting place of Josip Broz Tito (1892-1980), the president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It is also part of the Museum of Yugoslav history. We explore the buildings of the museum which has a vast collection of items from daily life, war time articles, and culture of Yugoslavia. There is so much to see, so we make the best of our time and then enter the House of Flowers.
There is a small fountain outside at the entrance, and Tito lies straight ahead in a marble tomb engraved with his name. It’s surrounded by plants and above his tomb, a glass ceiling to let in sunlight. There are many historical photos on the walls and his uniforms on display. And a collection of relay batons that he was given each year for his birthday. Every year from 1945-1988, a relay race was held with a birthday pledge to Tito from the young people of Yugoslavia.
It was ultimately a symbol of communication between leader and the people. Fun Fact: his was the most attended funeral of a presidential figure in history at that time. From what I can see, he was loved and respected by his people but I’m sure that could be open for debate!
Our last stop of the day is the Nikola Tesla museum, located in an old residential villa. For those that are in the dark, Tesla was an inventor most famous for his work with current and electricity. Fun Fact: he has the same birthday as me, but 119 years before I was born! The museum contains documents, journals, instruments/apparatus, etc. I did not know much about him before this, so it is an interesting place to visit. We do the tour, so we can see the large replica of the Tesla coil in action.
We head back to Mihailova Street so I can finish up my souvenir shopping, while Anthony waits patiently. We find a really cute traditional restaurant called Zavicaj. It’s in a cottage style building, and is perfect for our last meal in Serbia. I order the Pljeskavica, a burger patty with onions on top.
The flatbread comes separate, so you can make it a sandwich if you want. So far, I have eaten a lot of meat on this trip. I’m clearly not a vegetarian, but I don’t eat it often at home! I’m enjoying it though. Overall, my time in Serbia was great. Belgrade offers a great mix of sights, and options to eat/drink/take in the atmosphere. It would have been nice to have one more day, to wander around Kalemegdan Park, or just sit and drink coffee. Or perhaps Rakija!! Ziveli!!