Belgrade a.k.a. the White City is the beating heart of the Serbian nation. Is the first stop of this year’s Clio Travel. Located along the Danube river in the center of the Balkans, it has since the 16th century repeatedly suffered from destructive wars between the Ottoman Empire and the Austrian Empire.
The picture shows us where the Ottoman empire ended and where the Austrian Empire began. Most likely, in the Kalemegdan Fortress (in the top right) Ottoman soldiers ate their Baklava while waving at their Austrian counterparts devouring Wiener Schnitzels on the other side of the river.
But all things come to an end, even Ottoman rule and since Serbia regained its independence during the 19th century Belgrade functioned as the capital of respectively the Principality of Serbia, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the SFR Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro and eventually Serbia. Despite this continuity, Belgrade has suffered greatly from the subsequent World Wars and the Yugoslav Wars in the 90’s and the scars are still visible to this day.
The Milosevic government was located here, hence the city was severely damaged during NATO bombings following the war in Kosovo. Nowadays, peace has been restored and Serbia chose the path towards European Integration and Belgrade has licked its wounds and is rapidly reconstructing and modernizing once more.
Belgrade’s location in the former borderlands of the Balkans and its turbulent history are still reflected by the city’s architectural diversity, in which Serbian, Communist, Ottoman and Austrian features combined create that unique Belgrade ‘melange.’ Belgrade has the Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Sava, ranking among the biggest churches worldwide, at the same time as classic grey communist apartment blocks, Austro-Hungarian streets, Turkish fortresses, and a damaged Ministry of Defence.
We will take you to Tito’s tomb and one or two of many political institutions that can inform us on the legacy of the Yugoslav Wars and the ongoing issues with the disputed independence of Kosovo.
But that is not all, do you see those ships on the river? Those are not just regular ships, those are the clubs that gave the Belgrade nightlife its reputation and where we will show them how to partaaaay Groningen style.
Nís, Serbia’s third largest city is not just one of Europe’s oldest cities but has also always acted as an important gateway between the East and the West. Surrounded by the stunning mountains of Suva Planina (Dry Mountains) it is the perfect place to conclude our travels of Serbia and Kosovo. The city’s many monuments remembering the different steps in its distinct history stand out among its diverse architecture. Whether you once more wish to explore a rising city in Europe’s east, discover beautiful churches and mosques and fortresses right next to each other or simply take a stroll by the Nisava river or in the surrounding forests, Nís offers it all. And obviously, the city’s diverse, dynamic nightlife gives us plenty of opportunities to celebrate a successful travel and mourn its inevitable end and our flight back to Eindhoven the next morning.