Belgrade - Yugoslavia

December 2001

 

I went to Belgrade following the invitation from my friend Jelena. I joint the "Slava" of the family. Slava is the celebration of the family Saint. For Jelena's family, this saint is Saint Nicholas (like for 50% of all Serbian families). This was a great celebration, with a great atmosphere. It was also my first (but surely not last) trip to Yugoslavia.
After 10 years of war and the split of the federation. Yugoslavia is much smaller that it used to be. The federation has now 4 republics, including Kosovo Montenegro, Vojvodina & Serbia. Belgrade is the capital of the Republic of Serbia as well as the federal republic of Yugoslavia.
Belgrade is not very far from Budapest, only about 300 km. But I never had the opportunity to go before. Going to Yugoslavia from Budapest is rather easy. There is daily minibus service from Budapest Center and Budapest airport direct to Belgrade (Budapest airport has many more flights than Belgrade, so Serbian people come to Budapest to take the plane).
I forgot my camera, so there are not many pictures. Belgrade was very gray anyway, so pictures would not have been great. I'll have to go back in summer.
Belgrade city center is not very big (much smaller than Budapest), and it is quite gray. Buildings have not been cleaned for a long time, and most of the architecture is social-realistic from the 50's (Belgrade was heavily bombed during WW2).

I saw a few traces of the 1999 bombings (two major buildings destroyed in the center). I was told that the suburbs were bombed a lot, as well as Novisad and Nic (other main towns of Serbia). The above picture was taken on the square where most of the demonstrations took place in 2000.

Jelena took me to a few cafes (Plato, in the University and "The three carrots", the Irish pub of Belgrade). The first evening was spent with the family and the families friends. The atmosphere was very warn and enjoyable, with very nice Serbia food. The second evening was spent with a group of Jelena's friends. We had a really great evening and I had such a good time... surely I'll go again.