Holiday in the Balkans (2): Belgrade

On the first full day of our Balkans holiday (Sunday), the Voyages Jules Verne group – 18 of us in all – were taken on a four-hour (9 am – 1 pm) tour of a few major Belgrade sights by local guide Dana.  

First stop was the ruins of the Belgrade or Kalemegdan Fortress overlooking the junction  of the Sava and Danube rivers. The remaining structures of the fortress date from the 16th & 17th centuries.  Interestingly, we passed the remains of the Serbian Ministry of Defence which was bombed by NATO in 1989 to prevent the Serbs from taking over Kosovo.  Second stop was the section of the Bulevar Kralija Aleksandra housing the Serbian Parliament and the Belgrade City Hall. 

Next we drove to the Cathedral of Saint Seva which is an enormous marble icon that can hold 10,000 worshippers. This edifice has been over 80 years in the making and still under construction but the crypt has been completed and is very colourful and very grandiose. 

The last stop was the so-called Museum of Yugoslav History which in fact is a set of buildings dedicated to the life of Josip Broz Tito (1892-1980). We viewed one long building housing lots of foreign gifts and relay batons presented to Tito and the House of Flowers which contains the mausoleum of Tito and his (third) wife. 

We were free to do our own thing in the afternoon. I suggested to Kathleen that we visit the so-called National Museum which in fact has a major art collection that is surprisingly impressive. For her part, Kathleen was keen that we should find the actual point of confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers so we crossed the Brankov Bridge, walked past endless floating night clubs, and found the point of confluence where we had a drink in a little place called “Stara Koliba na Uscu”. 


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