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Discovering Belgrade: Stari Grad

8 April 2014
Stari Grad BelgradeSo…I’ve recently begun writing for www.stillinbelgrade.com (my favorite website about what to do in Belgrade) and I want to share here the first chapter I wrote, which is about “Stari Grad“, the old town.

Stari Grad, the old town, is the most ancient and charming area of Belgrade, with its cobbled, narrow streets, its beautiful churches –among which the Cathedral itself- and historical architectures, its decadent buildings overlooking the Sava river and its crowded, smoky taverns. When I wandered through its decadent alleys for the very first time, I was surprised by the quiet and silence you can find here, even being so close to the beating heart of the town. The elegance of its fading building totally captured my attention and I felt absorbed into an atmosphere from the past when I discovered the picturesque Kosančićev Venac.
Stari Grad, Belgrade
The most popular attraction of the area is the landscaped Kalemegdan Park, located at the top of Belgrade peninsula, that is at the extremely scenic confluence of the Sava and the Danube. Besides enjoying the breath-taking view, here you can have a walk and visit its several museums, such as the National History Museum inside the Belgrade Fortress. The first impression I had of Kalemegdan is that it is way bigger than I expected. I also remember that particular light of a winter morning, a soft haze gloving through the bits of light coming from the water of the river.
Kalemegdan Park, Stari Grad, Belgrade
Kalemegdan Park, Stari Grad, Belgrade
Kalemegdan Park, Stari Grad, Belgrade
Kalemegdan Park, Stari Grad, Belgrade
Kalemegdan Park, Stari Grad, Belgrade
Kalemegdan Park, Stari Grad, Belgrade
While we were wandering around this beautiful park we met two extremely nice local girls who gave us a surprise gift with a card saying “don’t forget ever how beautiful and nice you are in this world“.
Just outside the park you can eat at the most ancient tavern of Belgrade- Znak Pitanja; yes, it caters to tourists, but I’m happy I didn’t behave skeptic as usual because there I enjoyed a quite good traditional meal. 
 
Kafana ? - Stari Grad, Belgrade
Kafana ? – Stari Grad, Belgrade
Kafana ? - Stari Grad, Belgrade
Kafana ? – Stari Grad, Belgrade
If you are looking for something less traditional, you should enter Stari Grad ancient alleys and reach Supermarket Deli, the little son of the trendy concept store in Dorcol: same lovely Serbian design, but concentrated in a smaller venue.
 
Supermarket Deli - Stari Grad, Belgrade
Supermarket Deli – Stari Grad, Belgrade
Supermarket Deli - Stari Grad, Belgrade
Supermarket Deli – Stari Grad, Belgrade
And across the way there is Amelie, a cozy bar poetically enlightened by many little lights, with a vintage sewing machine at the entrance.
 
Amelie, - Stari Grad, Belgrade
Amelie, – Stari Grad, Belgrade
Amelie, - Stari Grad, Belgrade
Amelie, – Stari Grad, Belgrade
What I loved the most about this area is the street art all around, included some pieces by popular international street artists.
 
In 2008 the local Municipality invited the French artist Remed, who painted “La Santa de Beograd” in Karadjordjeva street. There is something on the gray, wide surface of Belgrade buildings making them perfect for street art intervenctions. And I love how Remed’s drawing matches with the architectural elements of the façade.
 
Remed, La Santa de Beograd
Remed, La Santa de Beograd
One year later during Belgrade Summer Festival, the Italian artist BLU painted a metropolitan monster chewing up a surviving tree. I’m always amazed by BLU’s art and especially by his ability to read a building’s shape, like he showed here.
BLU in Belgrade
Moreover, just exiting now and then the fancy Knez Mihailova pedestrian street, you can spot more graffiti by less popular -but still very talented- artists.
 
Street art in Stari Grad, Belgrade
Street art in Stari Grad, Belgrade
Street art in Stari Grad, Belgrade
Street art in Stari Grad, Belgrade
Besides street art, brand named stores and touristic cafeterias, Knez Mihailova boasts the most elegant architecture of Belgrade, dating at the glorious Kingdom of Serbia’s age.
I’ve been looking up all the time to don’t miss all the beautiful architectural details decorating the buildings; my favorite one is the couple of sculptures sustaining the balcony of the pharmacy, while my general feeling was a total amazement for the contrast of styles between several facades of the same building.
 
Knez Mihailova, Stari Grad, Belgrade
Knez Mihailova, Stari Grad, Belgrade
Knez Mihailova, Stari Grad, Belgrade
Knez Mihailova, Stari Grad, Belgrade
On this street you will also find the Kulturni Centar Beograda, kind of merged with the Tourist Information Centre and all its souvenirs (which by the way I didn’t find so bad and actually some of them are by young, talented Serbian designers); at the less tourist targeted side of the venue, the cultural centre organizes contemporary art exhibitions, concerts and several cultural events. I had the impression of a less vibrant atmosphere compared to other cultural venues in the city, but next time I’ll be in Belgrade I will give it a second chance!
 
KCB, Stari Grad, Belgrade
KCB, Stari Grad, Belgrade
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