Sep 27

TOP THREE CITIES TO BEGIN YOUR TOUR IN THE BALKANS WITH

Tourism in Eastern Europe is going through an era of development, which is great, because this region that has been long ignored it is not less important and has a lot of great things to offer to its visitors: from amazing architecture, to great food, fascinating history and a wonderful scenery. We shall begin our travel today with a top three of some of the most beautiful cities in the Balkans region, chosen randomly. And because there is a lot more to see, we promise to cover as many regions, countries and cities as possible.

Kotor in Montenegro

Montenegro is often sadly ignored by backpackers in Europe. But with such spectacular vistas in Europe’s deepest fjord, Kotor is not easily forgotten! The friendly people and cheap local wine, mean you really can’t go far wrong here so take a leap of faith and trust us on this one! The idyllic Bay of Kotor and its impressive ancient port town is Montenegro at its best. With its strong Venetian influences (the Republic conquered this area long ago) and unique river canyon from the Adriatic, it’s little wonder that Kotor has been named a cultural and natural World Heritage Centre. The summer carnival always proves to be a big draw, with thousands partying on the streets every year.

Zarad in Croatia

The city’s historic old town is the big draw with glowing white flagstones and the Riva – a picturesque waterfront promenade. In the evening, people gather at the promontory to watch the sunset – which Hitchcock famously claimed to be the most beautiful in the world. To add to the magic, Nikola Basic’s Sea Organ (click to listen!) provides a soundtrack to the setting of the sun. The art installation is operated by the tides which flow in and out of a series of tunnels underfoot to create an eclectic and poetic drone. You will catch people crouching with their ear to the ground in awe of the music.

Cocktails are best enjoyed at the Bedouin-style Garden Grow bar, opened by UB40 drummer James Brown. Once you’ve tasted the city’s heady nightlife, Zadar itself doesn’t need more than a few days. When you’ve had your fill, check out the popular Soundwave Festival or explore the northern Zadar archipelago for a spot of island hopping in Croatia to Pag, Ugljan or Dugi for idyllic beaches.

Belgrade in Serbia

his city is something of an up-and-coming destination, which today means you need to look beyond the city’s rather ugly housing blocks and cast your eyes to the heart of Belgrade – to the leafy squares and ancient churches – to see its true beauty. They are a reminder of this region’s diverse culture and religious history. There is, in fact, something of Paris’s Montmartre in Belgrade’s pretty Skadarska area too.

The real draw of Belgrade, however, is its hedonistic nightlife. During the summer, clubs open up along the Danube River on barges and some 3-storey boats. The city comes alive with the blast of techno rhythms and ravers waving glow sticks at open-air events, although most music tastes are catered for in some club or other, if that’s not your thing.

Photo source:

Picture 1: thetimes.co.uk; Picture 2: tripadvisor.com; Picture 3: zadar.hr; Picture 4: viator.com; Picture 5: resonate.io; Picture 6: bradtguides.com
Aug 17

BELGRADE – THE UNKNOWN FACES OF THE SERBIAN CAPITAL (BEOGRAD)

Belgrade is one of the most full of personality European capitals. While still recovering after its turbulent recent history, marked by was, its spirit is stubbornly making its way through the present and future, in a continuous process of transformation and rebirth. One of the most hectic and vivid cities, Belgrade has a lot to offer to its visitors. It is not yet among the top-list touristic spots – which is a pity, because it can easily compete with any other capital in Europe -, but it seems that the grape vine is very efficient and the news run fast: Belgrade is worth being known in detail and an increasing number of tourist are taking this piece of information for granted. Here are a few other suggestions for you to take into consideration when you come and visit this great city:

Take a stroll through Kalen Market

There’s no better place where you can come into contact with the real lifestyle of the locals than Kalen Market, where Serbs buys vegetables and fruit directly from producers. You expect to see here the usual seasonal merchandise, cold meats and cheeses, but you can also buy traditional delicacies such as Sir (cheese) and Kajmak (an unripened cheese, similar to a thick cream). Vendors are offering you their products to taste and are proud to show you the highest quality merchandise. In the market you can find bakeries, pastry shops, restaurants and small shops and a flea market which is held daily, where you can buy any imaginable souvenirs.

Explore the Savamala District

Savamala has undergone radical changes since the 19th century, when it was the commercial center of the city, thanks to its proximity to the Sava River and the central station. During the Second World War, most of its historic buildings, including those raised under the Ottoman Empire, were destroyed by airstrikes, and what remained untouched, has been neglected in favor of developing the new Belgrade, on the far shore . Only in recent years, Belgraders have realized the potential of this area as a center of creativity. The new cultural initiatives, such as the “House” House, an artistic location and exhibition space, where every year in June, there is a festival taking place, or KC Grad, where they organize debates and workshops; these two spots have gained an increasing importance by bringing cultural value of the area.

Spend an afternoon in historic Kalemegdan Park

Before having been transformed into a tranquil oasis of greenery, Kalemegdan Fortress was part of Belgrade – a battlefield where they killed millions of people in an attempt to defend the city from enemies. The park began to take shape after Serbia’s release from the Ottoman reign; trees have been planted, paths cleaned and monuments have been raised, including the statue of Victor ( ‘Pobednik’) and the French Thanksgiving Monument. Nowadays, the locals come here to relax and sail along the Sava River. Nearby you will find the Belgrade Zoo, famous for its rare species of albino lions and tigers, kangaroos and the famous Muja alligator, where he has been living since 1936, and managed to survive both World War II and the NATO bombing.

Admire the architecture of old town Zemun

Former town on the outskirts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Zemun became officially part of Serbia’s territory, ending the First World War in 1918. The tower fence, built by Hungarians on the site containing the ruins of a medieval fortress, is the most famous symbol of the Old Town, and from here you cana dmire the panoramic view of the whole city. Zemun boasts the best preserved architecture in the whole Belgrade and it is a delight to explore these places by foot. Zemun quay connects Zemun and New Belgrade, where you will encounter the famous splavovi – traditional floating clubs and restaurants, which offer the ideal setting for a romantic dinner and an unforgettable evening on the Danube.

Take a tram ride

Tourists usually choose double-decker buses to admire the city’s attractions without consuming too much energy. But Belgrade has two alternative means of transport for those looking for a more authentic experience. “A Streetcar Named Belgrade” is the name of a city tour organized twice a week (on Fridays starting at 20.00 and Saturday at 18.00) with a guide on board telling the story of the city while the tram passes across tourist attractions. An original concept is the “Yugotour” which takes the passengers on a journey theme, in a red vintage Yugo car, and which presents the tourists – in exchange of 45 euros – the past of Belgrade during the communist period.

All these and many more are awaiting for you to enjoy in this amazing city that is slowly but surely coming back to life.

Photo source:

Picture 1: myportfolio.ucl.ac.uk; Picture 2: en.wikipedia.org; Picture 3: agropress.org.rs; Picture 4: datourinfo.eu; Picture 5: wikimapia.org; Picture 6: skyapartmani.com; Picture 7: mojabanjaluka.info
Jul 25

SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SIGHTS IN BELGRADE (BEOGRAD)

Serbia’s past, as a nation that has been severely tested by conflicts throughout history, is well known: from the Austro-Hungarian invasion that triggered the First World War and ending with the collapse of the former Yugoslavia after 10 years of civil war. The image of the capital, Belgrade, as a tourist destination has suffered greatly in the postwar period, but now the city begins to recover, reaching out to tourism agencies and tourists alike. Here’s what you can do and see here, for starters:

A visit to the museum Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla, one of the greatest scientists, inventors and engineers of all time, came from a family of Serbian origin, and asked in his will that all assets have been transferred after death in Belgrade. The museum, located in a beautiful villa built in 1929, is the only place where you can see Tesla’s personal legacy, one containing the original plans and drawings of his inventions that have revolutionized the production and distribution of electricity. The urn containing his ashes – subject of dispute between the museum and the Orthodox Church – is kept in a golden globe in the museum. Tesla’s archive is included in the “Memory of the World” Heritage by UNESCO as a sign of recognition of the value of this collection, until today.

Take a trip along the Danube and Sava rivers, aboard a cruise

Some shipping companies have exploited Belgrade’s waterways, turning them into tourist attractions, and the competition is fierce in the summer months. Kej Yacht Club is by far the most sought after hosting aboard four vessels of its more than 150 000 tourists each year. Apart from free afternoon cruises, which carries tourists a panoramic tour of the most notable attractions of the city, the company also organizes private parties or various events and live music evenings. Tourists can choose to serve dinner in the restaurant on the ship, or the can stay in the floating hostel throughout the entire time, where the owners guarantees a quiet night away from the bustle of the city center.

Explore the underground city hidden beneath the surface as we all know it

Over 700 years of history of Belgrade, locals have come and gone; they have been invaded and chased away by enemies. As a result, there are countless ruins buried here, many of them remain undiscovered for centuries. Since the foundation of the main gate of a Roman fort dating from the early millennium, until the secret passages dug during the conflict between Tito and Stalin in the mid-20th century, Belgrade’s past is unique regarding the availability offered to the public that knows about it. For those eager to learn more, there are several surcharge guided tours, which are organized during the week, and help participants to better fit the city’s underground attractions in the historical context.

Enjoy a sunny afternoon in Ada Ciganlija

Better known as Beograda (Belgrade Sea), Ada Ciganlija is the tourist resort town on the banks of Sava River. Here numerous investments have been made and have transformed an area little explored in an extremely crowded place for recreation during summer. Apart from a 7 km long beach, here you can find basketball courts, soccer fields, a bungee jumping platform and a dry slope skiing, to name just some of the facilities offered to those willing to have fun. Late at night, in the summer months, you can admire the spectacle offered by the luminous fountain in the middle of the lake, with the design inspired the famous Jet d’Eau in Geneva.

Photo source:

Picture 1: traveltoserbia.net; Picture 2: timetravelturtle.com; Picture 3: commons.wikimedia.org; Picture 4: traveloutthere.com; Picture 5: flickr.com; Picture 6: skyapartmani.com; Picture 7: pinterest.com
Apr 12

BELGRADE – THE CAPITAL OF WHITE NIGHTS

Here we are, back to the Balkans, in the capital city of Serbia, Belgrade. Why Belgrade? Because rumor has it that this it the IT place of nightlife in all Europe, at the moment. Seems more like a piece of info pour les connaisseurs, as most folks still prefer to enroach upon the more “certificated”spots on the west side of the Old Continent, such as Paris, Barcelona, Milan or Berlin.

belg6

http://www.teamsdesign.com/

Most of us cannot forget the painful yesterdays of Belgrade and former Yugoslavia, but things are settling down little by little. Probably as a revenge for all the anguish of the last decade of the previous century, Belgrade is trying to move on and switch to a different demeanor that would remind us of the famous “seize the day” adage.

Little is known of this corner of the world, still, but it seems that the impetuous temperament of the locals is beginning to reverberate and catch the eye of the inquisitive adventurers.

Before you decide to pay a visit , you must get an idea about the cultural background of Belgrade and the entire country – a tremendously vast mosaic of influences, which merged into the original shape and singularity that Serbia is today.

A Slavic nation with a strong sense of identity, the Serbs have dealt with centuries of political and cultural influences coming from the Ottomans, the Byzantine Empire, Russia, the Vatican, contemporary Western powers and so on, but not only they haven’t lost their essence, on the contrary, they have enriched it and solidified it into a new status worthy of recognition.

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http://belgradecat.com/

Since the 19th century, the Serbs have known a continuous age of cultural evolvement, generated by the Habsburg Dinasty that established several superior educational centers, such as faculties and colleges, yielded throughout time mainly by religious figures who have imposed a strict demeanor on society. Speaking of which, do not miss the church of Saint Peter near Novi Pazar, the oldest in Serbia; it is very well-preserved and offers a vivid lesson of historic endurance.

The educational boost has proven great achievements in fields such as philosophy, science, economy, arts, literature and architecture. On the background of a flourishing culture, the scholars agreed on the necessity of creating a typical alphabet, known as Serbian Cyrillic, used only in this particular part of the Slavic world, which distinguishes itself from the classic one, as we now it to be in Russia, Bulgaria etc.

Nevertheless, this cultural complexity thoroughly reflects on people’s attitude and way of life, that blend the colourful spirit of the Balkans with the chic of aristocracy.

Belg2

http://www.modernwearing.com/

One of the four European capitals placed on the Danube River, Belgrade is also crossed by another river, Sava, and it seems that this very placement amplifies the potential of the the fun you can have. If, so far, the underground or the hights of the sky scrapers were the highlight of worldwide entertainment, Belgrade gives you the chance to float, not only on it’s waters, but on modern beats coming from the splavovi, the emblematic rafts that host insane parties and all sorts of notorious social events. But if you are not accustomed to the splavovi, do not imagine we’re talking about a bunch of logs held together, but right-down floating clubs, all frolicking and glitzing, which might somewhat remind you of them ancient Roman feasts (in the good way, but don’t say you haven’t been warned!). That goes on specifically during summertime, but there are a few reserved for the cold season, as well; and if water-in-winter is too mainstream, you can always relax on the sky slopes nearby Belgrade, that are in great condition and very biding.

Belg3

www.beogradnocu.com

Now, if you’re not so much on the wild side and you prefer a more settled, cozy or intellectual atmosphere, there are plenty to choose from, as every month is dedicated to a series of events.

For instance, in May we have the Night of Museums (Noć Muzeja), when over 60 cultural institutions are ready to have you as their guest. August is all about festivals and I would name only a couple: B.E.L.E.F. – Belgrade Summer Festival, where you can enjoy the newest music, dance, theatre, visual arts production that deliver performances around the streets of the Old Town – , and the Beer Festival, where you can see live shows of some of the most prestigious rock groups in Europe and the rest of the world and, of course, drink bear. Loads of beer.

belgrade4

www.tob.rs

Whether it’s experimental music or a Jazz concert, a film screening or an avant-garde artistic exhibition, a fine meal accompanied by out-of-a-Kusturica-movie Gypsy tunes that you can enjoy in a bohemian and classy place in the quarter of Skadarlija – the Serbian Montmartre – , Belgrade offers you all.   

September hosts events like the Belgrade International Theatre Festival and the International Film Festival in Belgrade so, even if you are exhausted after a full summer – a good play and an exciting movie will definitely put you back on track.

The translation of Belgrade is ”the White City” and we can conclude that, among the many sides of this metaphor, one can reflect the flamboyant and energetic night life of the Serbian capital city.

Don’t miss its vibe!   

Oct 30

Belgrade

Whenever I put pen to paper, or to be more accurate, whenever I stand in front of my laptop determined to post another article on this site, the same question springs to mind: which tourist attractions are more appreciated? But the question remains hanging in the air. Because there is no correct answer to this question as we are all different and our preferences might have nothing in common. So hopefully, some of the tourist attractions presented here might stir your interest and get you packing.

There are some who want to explore the most hidden parts of the world, to uncover places and monuments which have not yet come to the public attention but which are definitely enthralling  and worth traveling far distance for them.

http://hotels-in-belgrade.com/

Today I will not focus on a specific monument, building or natural landscape, but I will try to pinpoint the reasons for which you should definitely put Belgrade on your list of ‘places to visit.’

The Serbian capital city is one of the oldest cities in Europe and this alone should get you excited about the historical past that this place has to offer. Just think of how many generations have put their mark on the city and how many architectural styles and cultural elements can be revealed in each nook and corner of Belgrade.

http://www.belgradehill.com/

Maybe this tourist attraction would catch your attention even more if I were to mention that Belgrade is one of the most visited capital not only of the European continent, but of the entire world. What is striking is that different historical periods have remained ‘engraved’ in the city and this can be seen in the architectural designs preserved from those ages. So the communist era is still represented in the constructions spread throughout Belgrade, but one can also indulge the sense with a more modernist approach to art due to various contemporary monuments. Among the monuments one ought to visit while in Belgrade, I will mention St. Sava’s Cathedral, the Nikola Tesla Museum, and the Belgrade Fortress, three representative edifices of the Serbian Capital, which have been explored previously on this website.

http://www.teslasociety.com/belgradecom.htm

Another must-see area, which is not that well-known, is the Skadarlija Street where tourists can almost see Belgrade come to life. Why do I mention this particular street? Because it combines mundane elements with artistic features. Tourists can stroll down the street, which is surrounded by the Skadar Lake, admire the multiple paintings which are represented on the façades of the buildings and even relax for a moment by drinking a cup of coffee at one of the multiple coffee shops and terraces sprinkled every here and there.

My advice is this: if you are a world- traveler and you appreciate the different layers of art that the countries of this planet have to offer, then you should not miss the chance to witness how history has managed to inscribed itself within the monuments of Belgrade.

Apr 29

Djerdap Gorge (Defileul Dunarii)

If you are interested in being surrounded by nature on all four sides then Derdap National Park is the place to visit. This tourist attraction is located in Serbia and it is encompased by the Danube, on the left, its most eastern point being the Golubac Fortress, and the dam built in Sip, to the right.

Besides the fact that you are given the opportunity to witness nature in its rawest state, and I refer here to the fact that the human hand has failed to interfere into the landscape, you are also presented with a unique image, one which you are bound to never encounter in your travels. The Djerdap Gorge is of immense beauty and you will unavoidably fell stricken by its grandeur. It is here that the well renowned Iron Gate is situated.

http://www.summerday.ro/2012/09/19/suveniruri-si-peripetii-de-vacanta/

http://www.summerday.ro/2012/09/19/suveniruri-si-peripetii-de-vacanta/

What you are to discover here is the masterful carving that the river had managed to achieve in the mountainous rocks in its tumultous flow down the stream. It is in this precise point, the Derdap gorge that you are to encounter the lengthiest and the largest river accumulation in Serbia.

The setting is mesmerizing. In fact the gorge is compound, being formed of four other gorges which are differentiated by the means of valleys. The canyons have dissimilar shapes and sizes, an aspect which contributes extensively to the general image offered by the web of ravines that characterize the area.

http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t631682/

http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t631682/

Due to the geographical features of this park, an abundant array of plant life and wildlife is distinguishable in the area – to which are added various historical and cultural monument, sprinkled with breathtaking sceneries. The result can be only one: tourists are presented with a beautiful landscape which incorporates all the elements that nature has to offer. If you are to take into account the man-made constructions, such as the huge hydroelectric powerplant built there, you are definitely in for a trip of great discoveries in which you will enjoy a beautiful day around the natural park but you will also get to see the forth largest hydroelectric plant in the world.

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/djerdap

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/djerdap

The national park has undergo several projects of revival in the sense that the administration has sought to preserve the elements which depicted the historical past of the area, such as the aforementioned Golubac Fortress, or the bridge constructed under Traian, the Roman Emperor.

Elements of Byzantine and Roman culture are still present in the gorge. Traian has spend quite an extended amount of time in the area during his battles with the Dacians and thus influences from these cultures are depicted even to this day.

Due to all the aspects which have been pinpointed throughout this article, Derdap national Park has become the number one tourist attraction in Serbia, especially since the inauguration of the dam.

Oct 05

The Devil’s Town (Orasul Diavolului)

The Devil’s Town is a wonder of nature located in the southern part of Serbia. In fact, the uniqueness of the natural monument has contributed extensively to the fame this specific monument had gained – in as much that the Devil’s Town is a strong candidate for the natural wonders officially recognized throughout the world.

The Devil’s Town is actually a rock formation which has been listed in the aforementioned race back in 2010 and had managed to remain in the competition until the very end, only to lose during the final voting session. But this event triggered the collective effort to enlist the natural monument in the World Heritage Program developed by UNESCO.

http://www.djibnet.com

The Devil’s town, or Djavolja Varos (the Serbian ecquivalet of the name), is located on the slopes of Mount Radan, a mountain renowned for the increased number of mineral and therman springs that traverse it. The region abounds in minerals which means that the landscape is devoid af any type of vegetation. Another characteristic of the region is that it is prone to errossion. This natural phenomenon heavily contributed to the uniqueness of the landscape.

The landscape is striking due to the gloomy imagery conveyed. In fact, this comprises 202 figurines made out of earth that measure as much as two meters, all having some sort of lids on top. These are actually andesite formations, which represent a form of rock that has emerged as a consequence of a powerful volcano erruption that occurred milions of years ago. These formations have pressed the earth for years on end and the result was the distorted forms of relief that appeared.

http://flickrhivemind.net

The process of formation for the Devil’s Town was a mystery for many years and due to the fact that no scientific explanation was provided, a considerable number of legends emerged. According to one such folklore, the figures are actually the ruins of churches which have been devastated by evil spirits. This story was nurtured by the constant change that occurred in the landscape. The errosion of the soil led to the modification in shape and size of the rock formations and the locals actually bellieved that these were moving by themselves – thus the myth of devils lurking in the region grew.

These myths were the ones to give the name to the natural monument. The Devil’s Town has become renowned only in the later years, when it has become a tourist attraction. In fact, this is the sole touristic objective located on the European continent which is comparable to the Garden of the Gods (located in the US) in terms of mesmerizing beauty.

http://gallery.besnopile.com

Among the legends that revolve around this specific place, there are some which are better known than others. For instance, it is widely believed that the earthen figures represent devils which have been petrified, rebels or even a wedding party that had suffered the same fate. The mythical tales have had a base on which to develop themselves. The region is also rich in streams of red water, a coloration given by the iron minerals that descend from the slopes of the mountain, and these again having contributed to the gloomy décor tourists are presented with.

http://www.flickr.com

In mid-20th century, the Devil’s Town has been declared a natural monument protected under the law. In 1995, the state had issued a degree according to which the Devil’s Town was declared a monument of exceptional importance. Since then, many projects have been initiated in order to transform the Devil’s Town into a site of touristic interest: a road was built so as to permit circulation in and out of the region and all the necessary facilities were developed (water, illumination and aparking space). These improvements have contributed extensively to the increase of the number of tourists that come to the area. At present, the Devil’s Town is visited by 50.000 people on a yearly basis.

Sep 21

Golubac Fortress (Cetatea Golubac)

The Golubac Fortress is an important tourist attraction located in Serbia. The history behind the edifice together with the impressive natural surrounding have contributed extensively to the way in which the fortress has established itself as a valuable touristic site located in Serbia.

The position it occupies offers a breathtaking view of the Danube River, but the moment it was constructed, the only thing that mattered was the strategic position it held. Built around the 14th century, the fortress is situated in the southern part of the Danube, at approximately 4 kilometers of the town of Golubac.

http://www.suvenirisrbije.com

The edifice was constructed in three stages – one dedicated to each of the 3 parts which form the Golubac Fortress, and contains 10 towers and 2 portcullises.

The historical background of the fortress is definitely worth looking into. Even before the stronghold was erected, the site  was inhabited by Romans. The Middle Ages were a tumultuous period in the history of the fortress as it became the battlefield of many wars, the most frequented oponents being the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary. In time, the fortress had changed many masters, having been owned by Turks, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Serbians and Austrians.

http://www.likesbooks.com

At present, Golubac is visited by tourists coming from all over the world. It is situated right near the Romanian border and it marks the entrance to the Derdap National Park. The historical past of the fortress is actually shrouded in mystery. Even if there is certain evidence about the development and evolution of the fortress, there are still certain details which remain unknown even to this day. For instance, it is ambiguous who the founders of the edifice are. Should the construction of the fortress be attached to the Serbian or to the Hungarian population? And how many towers were there originally? These are only two of the questions which might never find their answer.

The exact moment when the construction work began cannot accurately be established, but the first time the fortress was mentioned was in 1335 when it is said to have been occupied by the Hungarian military.

http://www.balkantravellers.com

Golubac Fortress has experienced certain modifications throughout time. For instance, the towers were actually constructed as squares which meant only one thing: that at the time when the fortress was built, and for years to come after that, the battlefield was conquered with swords. Only when the firearm was invented, did the structural design of the edifice shifted. The towers were ‘upgraded’ so to speak in order to contain within their walls cannons, but more importantly, there were alterations conducted to the walls in order to allow the combatants to fire at their opponents.

Nine towers measure 20-25 meters in height, while the tenth, the cannon tower, is the shortest of them all and it has been created with the purpose of controlling the traffic on the Danube River. The oldest tower of the fortress has been nicknamed ‘Hat Tower’ consists of an octagonal base. The towers vary in terms of the shape they have at the base. While the second tower to the west is circular, the third is square, as well as the fourth and the fifth.

http://www.colourbox.com

One of the towers, the 4th one, contains an Orthodox chapel within its walls.  The interesting thing about this is that the chapel seems to have been erected the same time as the tower, not that it had been constructed at a later date. As time went by and as the fortress fell prey to the decaying process that naturally instills itself with the passage of time, restoration work was initiated with the purpose of enforcing the structure. As a result, some of the towers had had their square base improved.

Golubac Fortress bears a significant value not only to the Serbian history, but to the historical past of the world as important battles have been carried out here. Due to the historical events it had witnessed throughout time, the Golubac Fortress had been recognized as a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance back in 1979, becoming a protected monument under the State of Serbia.

Sep 07

St. Sava’s Cathedral (Catedrala Sf. Sava)

When taking into consideration the idea of visiting Serbia, the first thing that springs to mind is going to Belgrade. As this is the capital city of the country, tourists are more inclined to choose this as their first stop. Probably because they have this idea ingrained that Belgrade is the most important city located in Serbia and, as a consequence, they are bound to find several touristic attractions worth seeing.

St. Sava’s Cathedral is one such points of interest located in Belgrade. The Orthodox church is the largest house of worship of this kind located in the Balkan region and it is among the 10 biggest churches in the entire world. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Sava, thus the name of the edifice is explained. The location of the construction site, on the Vračar plateau was not randomly chosen. It is generally believed that in that exact place where the cathedral now stands erect the relics of the saint were burnt by the Ottomans.

http://www.belgradenet.com

The grandiose edifice dominates the skyline of the city and it is undoubtedly the most imposing building of the city. Even though this specific religious house is referred to as being a cathedral, the term is not accurately used from a clerical perspective as it is not the seat of a bishop. But it should be mentioned that in Serbian, the name bore is that of temple; the English translation is in a sense altered as a means of emphasizing the impressive size of the construction as well as the importance it carries in Serbia.

In terms of structure, we are talking about a Greek cross-like form. The cathedral consists of a main dome which is sustained by means of 4 spherical triangles (pendentives) which were used as transition elements between the circular dome and the rectangular base.

http://acvila30.ro

The main dome is elevated at 70 m, but the height of the cathedral is calculated while taking into account the gilded cross placed atop the dome, which adds another 12 m, thus piercing the sky with its 82 m in stature. Lengthwise, the church measures 91 m by 81 m. In total, the cathedral numbers 19 gilded crosses, which differ is size, placed atop its domes, and comprises 49 bells within its belfries.

In order to get an accurate idea of the colossal size of the edifice, it should be noted that St. Sava’s Cathedral can house as much as ten thousand believers, not to mention that the gallery especially arranged for the church choir contains 800 de seats.

http://www.flickr.com

The cathedral’s appearance is conveyed by means of white marble and granite, whereas the interior is meant to be entirely covered with mosaics. The inner decorative design is still in the making process but the parts that are completed reveal that the final result will be stunning. The main dome is programmed to be adorned by means of a mosaic of Christ Pantocrator – a specific portrayal of Christ. Just to grasp the magnitude of this undertaking, you should know that the eyes of Christ will measure about 4 meters in width (each).

Aug 20

Belgrade Fortress (Fortareata din Belgrad)

Belgrade Fortress is also known as Kalemegdan Fortress due to the fact that it encompasses within its structure the Kalemegdan Park. The fortress is the oldest citadel in Serbia and it is located in the Belgrade, where the Danube River and Sava Rivers converge. The importance of the construction has been recognized near the end of the 20th century, in 1979, when it has been declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance, being considered a historical heritage of the Republic of Serbia.

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The natural location in which it is found bestows the monument with a mesmerizing landscape. What is more, the fortress bears most of the history of Belgrade within its walls. Being the oldest construction on this territory, the past of the Serbian capital city revolved around this particular place, the majority of the events which occurred here were representative for the evolution of the city, in as much as they defined it. There is evidence from ancient times of the city-fortress which reinforce the fact that the fortification was an innate part of Belgrade.

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The fortress, situated at the confluence of the Danube and the Sava River, was known at the time as the “military frontier” which was meant to separate the Roman Empire from the barbaric peoples dwelling in Central Europe. As a consequence, the fortress had witnessed various battles and had lost much of its structures in these conflagrations. The Belgrade Fortress had been rebuilt more than once, but each time its fate was the same: total destruction.

For the tourists interested in learning the historical past of the construction, it is worth mentioning that the fortress changed several hands. While in the 11th century it was a part of Serbia, it shifted to being under Hungarian control between 1282 and 1319, and later on it came under Ottoman ruling. The exact events will not be presented in this article as they will transform the presentation into a historical one, rather than focusing on the details which make the fortress worth visiting from a touristic point of view. It is only natural that its history plays an important part in this respect and thus it should be taken into account.

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As it happened with the majority of the edifice which had seen the wrath of the two world wars, the Belgrade Fortress underwent severe damages.

The name by which it also goes, the Kalemegdan Fortress, is of Turkish origin and translated ad litteram means the “Battlefield Fortress,” as “kale” means fortress and “maydan” stands for battleground.

The fortress is divided into four sections: the Lower Town, the Upper Town, the Little Kalemegdan Park and the Large Kalemegdan Park. The first section is situated on the hill towards the water’s edge. The Upper Town is the most important section of the fortress being endowed with beautiful esplanades, statues, wells, grounds especially arranged for sports (such as tennis courts), to which are added the Observatory and the Planetarium.

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In the Little Kalemegdan Park one can find the central zoo of the city as well as an art pavilion, an edifice where many exhibitions and cultural events took place throughout the years, thus contributing to the artistic life of Belgrade. The latter section, the Large Kalemegdan Park is defined by geometrical walkways, the Military Museum and the Museum of Forestry and Hunting.

It is no wonder that people who find themselves in Belgrade do not miss the opportunity to visit this impressive monument which contains within its walls numerous tourist attractions. Belgrade fortress is renowned for its underground passageways and tombs which are still shrouded in mystery as these have not been explored to the fullest.