Unexpected Belgrade

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July 13th 2004
Published: July 13th 2004
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Serbian SunsetSerbian SunsetSerbian Sunset

Taken on the Castle walls, over looking Novograd (the new city)
Hurray! I'm back on the road again. Sara (my girlfriend) and I had hoped to go to Central America for the summer. But alas due to some bad planning, some bad luck, and changes in the university year dates, we couldn't get reasonably priced tickets. So we decided to go to Bulgaria for a month. Trains from Budapest to Sophia, the capital of Bulgaria, run twice a day and go one of two routes, via Romania, or via Serbia. The Serbian route was cheaper ($90 US return) and quicker acording to the internet (Hungarian Railways) so we took that route. After a long slow journey from Budapest to Belgrade, overnight in the sitting carriage we arrived in Belgrade. Our timetable had also indicated that arriving in the morning would give us a 2 hour stopover and then an 8.40am train would leave direct for Bulgaria... nope. The train didn't leave to 11.20pm - so an unexpected visit to Belgrade.

Much of my preconceptions about Belgrade were formed from the news of the war in the 90's, wars, war crime and bombed out buildings. Well either Belgrade avoided the war - which I think was the case, far from the fronts in
The Danube and SavaThe Danube and SavaThe Danube and Sava

Where the rivers meet from the Castle.
Bosnia and Croatia - or there has been a hell of a lot of work rebuilding in the last 5 years. I think a bit of both is the case.

Belgrade has an amazing location, the Danube flows down from the North and the Sarva (will correct later) from the west. The majority of the city sits in a bend at this point. At the farthest north point the remains of a 15th century Castle, built by Hungarians to defend against the Ottomon expansion sits. (Nandor Feher Var - Nandor's White Castle) Much has been destroyed thoughout the centuries but it must have been enormous at it's most impressive, the ruins stretch over at least a kilometer square. The park around the castle houses a zoo, a miltary museum (complete with parts of an American Stealth Bomber) and a few cafes.

We spent a rainy morning exploring the castle, a sunny mid part of the day wandering the town - drinking lots of great coffee and eating cakes, and watched a spectacular sunset from the castle walls in the evening. The Serbs that we met, were friendly and proud of their city, justifiably. We've been invited to have
St. Sava TempleSt. Sava TempleSt. Sava Temple

Originally I thought that the whole thing is being renovated or rebuilt, and that it was Belgrade Cathederal - nope it's still being built.
coffee on our return by a friendly family who asked us to take their photo on the castle walls.

I was surprised by how nice a city Belgrade is overall, not sure how long I would want to spend there, but I'm sure we only scratched the surface of what is on offer. Good coffee, great views, great cakes, and inexpensive prices. We have another 12 hours on our return in a month.

And on to Sophia.

Additional photos below
Photos: 4, Displayed: 4


Belgrade StreetsBelgrade Streets
Belgrade Streets

Typical scene away from the most touristy areas.

4th September 2004

It sounds like a great few hours in Belgrade. Your pictures are terrific! On a side note the "Belgrade Cathedral" is actually St.Sava Temple and it's not being rebuilt or renovated, it's actually still being built. A slow and arduous process that started again in 1985. Great work. I'm off to read more of your travels.
8th January 2005

I'm from Belgrade and live in an apartment buliding next to St. Sava Temple
13th March 2005

I'm really impressed to see St. Sava. I spent 2 months in Belgrade doing a practical training back in 2002. Back then it was all gray and completely empty and dark inside. It really made me want to go back. I'm from Mexico, btw. - Jim
20th April 2005

I love belgrade
- Dejan
20th April 2005

I am from England and when i am 18 i am going to live in Belgrade
- John
31st May 2005

need information
hi! my name is borja and i'm from spain. i'm going to travel to budapest this month. i would be very interested in travel from budapest to sophia by train. can anyone tell me the schedule of the trains and the prices as well? where i have to take it could be very helpful. thanks! - Borja
3rd June 2005

Hi my name is Serbia Salas,I´m a girl of Mexico.I want know people than know Serbia(country).I want travel a Serbia, I am interesed in all type of information.I dont´speak english only a little.I wait a answer a this message.Thanks. - Serbia Salas-Mexico
11th June 2005

Hi Serbia. I am living in Belgrade, so if you are comming to Serbia feel free to e-mail me for any kind of information ma_neno@yahoo.com
23rd June 2005

to Serbia
here you have a lot on Belgrade www.belgradeinsideout.com
12th September 2005

I also liked Belgrade :)
21st January 2006

Belgrade-a white city
I just wanted to add here that Belgrade is wonderful city with anicent and modern spirit.It is called as New York of Europe,coz of its vivid night life.More information about the city you can find on www.tob.co.yu :)
27th April 2006

I'm from Belgrade and I just want to say something about the picture of sunset in Belgrade. It isn't Novograd, its Novi Beograd, a part of Belgrade (Beograd). You can translate that like New Belgrade.
26th May 2006

give the ottomans (and the americans) their due
the castle you talk about in belgrade, where the sava and danube rivers meet, is the kalemegdan. it's mostly ottoman turkish, dating more or less to the 1700s, with earlier parts from the medieval serbian kings. the hungarians were on the other side of the river. there is a similar (bigger) austro-hungarian fortress, the petrovardan, at novi sad, also on the danube about an hour's drive north of belgrade. belgrade did get hit by the americans as part of the nato bombardment in 1999 (hence the 3 or 4 government buildings in the centre with puncture holes and burn marks from tomohawk missiles) and still - as of 2006 - hasn't been fixed up much.
19th December 2006

There was never a war in Serbia,except the Nato bombing. The castle is Kalemegdan fortress and the Novograd doesn't exist.It's Novi Beograd (New Belgrade).
20th December 2006

And btw,Kalemegdan was NOT built by Hungarians..it was built long before that. It would known any Serbian,there is a monument in Kalemegdan park dedicated to the Serbian king who built it.

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