We start the tour from Studentski Trg, and we head towards New Belgrade, on the other side of the Sava River.
Built as a new part of the town, after the WWII and during the socialist regime, it has many interesting buildings. Ex- Central Committee of the Communist Party, Federal Executive Council, also known as Palace of Federation, Genex Tower or Western Gate of Belgrade, Sava Center, one of the biggest congress halls in this part of Europe, etc.
We continue to Zemun, the northern area of Belgrade, characteristic for its Central European appearance, charming quarters, cobblestone streets and fish restaurants on the banks of the Danube River. First stop is Avijatičarski Trg, where the old city of Zemun begins. This square, with the large monument to WWII heroes, is surrounded by Zemun’s oldest elementary school building and the Air Force Ministry, one of the finest examples of modernism in Yugoslav pre-war architecture. We have a ride through the main street called Gospodska Street, where we have a chance to see some beautiful examples of Zemun architecture: the Post Office, Hotel Central, Town’s Museum, the House with a Sundial, etc. Then we park at Stara Kapetanija, on the banks of the Danube and start our walking tour through the heart of old Zemun. We walk along the bank of the Danube River – Zemun Promenade, where under the shade of the century-old plane trees numerous old fish restaurants have situated. We pass by the oldest Orthodox church of St. Nicholas from the 17th century and we climb the Gardos Hill – the heart of Old Zemun, with its curvy cobblestone streets and small houses that will give you an impression that Zemun itself is a melting pot of Mediterranean and Middle European cultures. We reach the top of the hill where the remains of the Zemun citadel are still standing with Millennium Tower in the centre, Zemun’s central landmark. The romantic construction, built in a mixture of historical styles at the end of the 19th century, served to mark the most Southern point of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The majestic view from the top of the tower will leave you breathless: Zemun Old Town from above, but also the confluence of the two rivers and Belgrade Fortress on the other side. We go down the Gardos Hill to the town centre, and we reach the Main City Square, where an everyday market is situated. Old buildings including the Bishop’s Office and the central city Roman Catholic Church of the Blessed Virgin from the 18th century are surrounding the square.We walk further to the Magistarski Trg, where the city administration buildings are standing since the 19th century – Magistrate’s Building and the Town Hall, where the only replica of the city’s coat of arms is displayed. Continuing to the Zemun City Park passing by the old Franciscan church and convent, we reach the park where the Zemun’s High School, an elegant Neo-renaissance edifice is situated along with the two Baroque churches – Orthodox church of St. Gavrilo and Roman Catholic Church of St. Rocco.
We finish our walking tour here, enter the vehicle and continue our ride.
We cross the Gazela Bridge and head for Dedinje – Belgrade’s richest residential area, where we can see the Museum of Yugoslav History and House of Flowers – the resting place of Josip Broz Tito, a leader of second Yugoslavia. We will visit all three venues: the May 25 Museum, the House of Flowers and the Old Museum and familiarise ourselves with the cultural heritage of the former country of Yugoslavia, with particular emphasis on the social history of the socialist period.
After that, we will leave the city, and head towards Avala, Belgrade green mountain. Situated less than 20km south of the city centre, it is one of the most popular green areas of Belgrade, a perfect spot for recreation, picnic or just enjoying nature. Entirely covered with wood, it serves as home to many birds and animal species. We drive through green forests until we reach the highest spot of Avala. In 1930’s Aleksandar I King of Yugoslavia decided to destroy a medieval fortress of Žrnov that was situated here, to build the largest monument in the kingdom – Monument to the Unknown Hero. For this job he engaged his court artist, world-renowned sculptor Ivan Mestrovic who indeed created a majestic structure, made of black marble with colossal sculptures, to resemble Antique tombs. We’ll hear some interesting stories about the way it was constructed and the symbolism of the very monument. After that, we go down to the second largest hilltop of Avala 440m high where Avala tower is situated. Built in 1960’s as a TV-tower it was the biggest concrete structure and the tallest structure in the entire Balkans. During NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the tower was bombed and destroyed. It was reconstructed according to the same plans and reopened for visitors. The two elevators take us up to 119m where a bar is situated and to 123m with a viewpoint from which you stay breathless: you can see Central Serbian province of Sumadija, but also entire Belgrade including the confluence of the two rivers and the province of Vojvodina behind. After a short break, we get back into the vehicle, and we head towards Belgrade.
Here we will make a stop for a traditional Serbian lunch, in one of the oldest restaurants in the area.
Coming back from Avala, we visit Vračar area, where we can see one of Belgrade’s most prominent landmarks – The Church of St. Sava (also known as St. Sava Temple, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world. Shortstop for taking pictures.
Trough Slavija Square, we will enter Nemanjina Street with almost all state governmental institutions: Government Building, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Staff of Serbian Army, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance, the State Court, etc. – all being beautiful examples of Belgrade’s pre-war architecture.
After that, we have a ride through Kralja Milana Street, the city’s artery where some significant buildings are situated, such as Old and New Royal Palaces. We pass by Nikola Pasic Square, with a monument to the first Prime Minister of Kingdom of Yugoslavia and we stop in front of the Parliament Building where we make a short break for taking pictures. Then we walk between the Old and New Royal Palaces where we can hear the stories about the two dynasties that ruled Serbia in the 19th and 20th centuries.
We continue our drive through King Aleksandar Boulevard, the longest street in the old city with many points of interest. Massive edifice of the Main Post Office is here, as well as St. Mark’s Church, Tašmajdan Park, Metropol Palace Hotel, University Library and Technical University with monuments to Nikola Tesla and Vuk Karadzic, a 19-th century reformer of Serbian language.
There we turn back, and we reach Terazije Square with its recognisable 19-th century white stone fountain and one of the most beautiful buildings in the city – the Moskva Hotel. We continue our ride and reach Republic Square, the heart of the capital, where the most prestigious cultural institutions in the city are situated – the National Museum and the National Theater and Opera buildings with an equestrian monument to the most significant city and state ruler from the 19th century – Knez Mihajlo. We reach Studentski Trg, our first meeting point, where we leave the vehicle and start the walking part of our tour.
We walk trough Kalemegdan, the oldest and largest park in the city centre. Starting from Leopold’s Gate, we will pass by the remains of the Roman castrum – Singidunum and medieval walls built upon it – Zindan Gate, Despot’s Gate, Jakšića tower, all dating back to 15 century. We will visit two Orthodox churches placed in this part of the fortress: Chapel of St Petka and Ružica Church ( Virgin Mary Church ).
Entering the Upper town ( Gornji grad ), we will see the magnificent sight of the confluence of two rivers: the Sava and the Danube. We will pass by Mehmed-pasha Sokolović fountain, Defterdar’s gate and observe the Lower Town ( Donji grad ) from above: the Main gunpowder storage, Karl VI’s gate and Nebojsha tower.
We will continue our walk through the Upper town: the Victor monument by world-renowned sculptor Ivan Meshtrovic, one of Belgrade landmarks, Roman well, the King’s gate and Sava promenade, the Damat Ali Pasha Tomb, Clock Gate ( Sahatkapija ) Clock Tower ( Sahatkula ). Passing by Military Museum and through Istanbul’s gate ( Stambol gate ), we will leave the fortress behind us entering the Kalemegdan park once again. There is a Monument of Gratitude to France by Ivan Mestrovic in the park and a large number of busts, representing the famous Serbian man of letters. Through the pedestrian street Knez Mihajlova, we will reach the Republic square once again passing by many interesting examples of civil architecture from 19th and 20th century, such as Serbian Academy of Science and Arts.