About Belgrade

 

 

 

Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is the third largest city in South-eastern Europe after Istanbul and Athens. Just over 1,700,000 people live in it. Belgrade is the city of youth. More than 40% of its citizens are between 15 and 44 years of age.
All citizens of Belgrade love to talk of the spirit of the city. Open and ever ready for fun, many Belgraders will claim to be true hedonists – and many of them really are - knowing all there is to know about good food, wine and music.
The citizens of Belgrade like all sorts of things: pleasant conversations and long walks, drinking their morning coffee or days off work, they also love it when they find freshly baked warm bread in the local bakery. They like being in motion and therefore the streets, walkways, cafes and restaurants are always filled with peeeople.
More importantly, Belgraders like everyone, so get to know Belgrade by getting to know Belgraders! 

 

Belgrade is located in South-eastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula, at the crossroads of Eastern and Western Europe.
The city lies upon the Danube River, the aquatic route connecting the countries of Western and Middle Europe to the countries of the South-eastern and Eastern Europe. Its harbour is visited by ships from the Black Sea, and with the deployment of the Rhine-Main-Danube channel it found itself at the centre of the most important aquatic route in Europe: Northern Sea – Atlantic – Black Sea. Due to its position it was rightfully named “Gates of the Balkans” and the “Doors of Middle Europe”.
The coordinates of Belgrade are marked in the centre of the city (in Knez Mihailova Street): 44°49’14" of geographic latitude north, 20°27’44" of geographic longitude east and 116.75 m above sea level.
The area around Belgrade consists of two different environments: the Pannonian plain to the north and Šumadija to the south. The Kosmaj (628 m) and Avala (511 m) mountains are near Belgrade. The length of riverbanks is 200 km, with 16 river islands, the largest being Ada Ciganlija and the Great War Island.

 

Belgrade is a city with a tumultuous, but also frequently tragic past, primarily due to its unique position at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, on the border between the East and the West.

Roads run through it and around it, used by invading warrior peoples conquering and destroying this city, rebuilding it and adding to it over and over.
Belgrade has been permanently settled since the mid Neolithic period, the time when its area played host to the Vincian culture, more than 4,000 years B.C.E.
The Greeks came later, followed by the Romans who pushed the Celts across the Sava and Danube rivers, installing their fourth legion, the Legio Flavia, at Singidunum. They built a mighty fort on the Kalemegdan ridge with a city next to it.
From the Celtic dun and the Roman castrum the city grew into a significant border fortification of the Huns and then the Byzantine emperors Anastasius and Iustinianus, the Avars, Bulgars, Ugars, Serbs, Turks and Austrians, until it became the capital of modern Serbia during the 19th century.
The name Belgrade was first recorded in a letter on April 16, 878, when Pope John VIII notified the Bulgarian Emperor Mihail Boris that he had removed from office Sergi (“episcopus Belgradensis”) due to sinful living.
Belgrade had around ten names in the past. As each conqueror claimed it, they immediately changed its name, but the new name almost always spoke of its beauty and whiteness. It was called Belgrad, Bello Grado, Alba Urbs, Alba Graeca, Griechisch Weissenburg, Nándor Fehérvár, Nándor Alba, Castelbianco. All these names are translations of the Slavic word Beograd.

 

This city, living through and surviving numerous wars and destruction during the centuries, is one of the oldest cities in Europe, and thus had a number of symbolic names, such as: House of Winds, Combat Hill, Thinking Hill, House of Freedom…

The first cobbled road in Belgrade, made up of oaken cobbles, was laid down in 1886 in Kralja Petra I Street, between Knez Mihailova and the Cathedral Church. As the spring rains started to fall, shoots sprang forth from those cobbles, to the delight of the citizens of Belgrade.
The first horse-drawn tram was engaged on October 1, 1892. Water pipelines were installed in several streets in the city centre during the same year.
The first telephone rang in 1890, while the first cinema projection was held in 1896, a mere six months after the first projection by the Lumière brothers in Paris.
Belgrade had a population of 50,000 citizens and grew into a true European capital during the early 20th century, more than 1,700,000 citizens today and is growing into a true metropolis. More than a quarter of the population of Serbia lives there today! The city is growing towards Šumadija, as well as towards Srem and Banat. It is becoming ever more beautiful, orderly and clean, but also increasingly frantic, since life in Belgrade is ever faster as it is in all big cities.
The makeup of the population of Belgrade often changed during the past centuries. People from all over the Balkans and central Europe moved to it, and many departed under their own volition or under duress, but those that remained became Belgraders within a generation and seldom abandoned it without pressing need.