As I was travelling to Sarajevo, Bosnia, I got a very cheap flight which included a 15 hours layover in Beograd. Not much time for the capital city of Serbia, but enough to see the main sights of the city and to catch a bit of the atmosphere. I had to prepare well and especially to get some Serbian dinar in advance.
The 100 euros converted into 12.000 Serbian dinar (RSD) felt like richness, because I received so many bills of small value that I had the feeling of having half of the European central bank in my pocket. I was especially fond of the 100 dinar bill, showing the great inventor Nikola Tesla and the formular of his tesla unit of magnetic flux density.
At the airport I easily got a fixed-price taxi to my hotel (Hotel Prag) in the center of Beograd. While riding over the Autoput and the Gazelle-bridge into the iluminated town I learned how tightly connected this country is to Russia; not only big headquarters and petrol stations of Gazprom, but also promotion boards celebrating the friendship between both countries were visible close to the road.
After checking in I took a long walk to the railway station, the Pioneer park, Terazije square and the Republic square. While roaming through the ministries neighborhood of the city I was surprisingly and kind of shocked standing in front of hugh ruins: The Serbian government has left some buildings unmended, which were attacked by NATO during Yugoslavia war, now serving as a strange memorial.
In contrast, the illuminations in the city center made the town absolutly beautiful and walking through this unknown town at night felt safe and good. So I decided to take one or two Jelen pivo at Terazije square to end the day.
In the morning I made my way to Saint-Sava-Church on Vračar hill. Quite a long walk but the bus and tramway network seemed to be confusing. Via Tašmajdan park and the St. Mark’s church I walked to the Parliament and via the Student park up to Kalemegdan with a spectacular view on Novi Beograd and the Danube river.
Definitely a great town in a country totally unknown to me so far. Maybe next time a short trip to Priština and Kosovo? 🙂