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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!