Decadent Belgrade
Sane Mind Serbia

Decadent Belgrade

I’ve written many stellar articles about Belgrade. And rightly so. It’s a dynamic and interesting city, that’s rapidly changing. Also, it’s still a refreshingly rare non-globalised European city, especially after most Western European places where you see the same shops and restaurant chains over and over again. In that respect, Belgrade is very authentic. When you walk around, you can see numerous small business, shops, restaurants, bars and coffee shops, rather than western outlets. But Belgrade still has a very prominent decadent side and it wouldn’t be fair not to mention it. That’s because when you go there, decadent Belgrade is very much in your face.

 

Svetozara Markovića Street Decadent Belgrade
Svetozara Markovića Street

 

I am sure that when all beautiful buildings in Belgrade were built, they were meant to be looked after. Surely, no architect invested effort to design elegant and aesthetically pleasing buildings thinking that, one day in the future, they would actually look ugly.

 

Svetozara Markovića Street Decadent Belgrade
Svetozara Markovića Street

 

The communist government, that came to power after the Second World War, didn’t pay much attention to the decorative side of the city. Perhaps it was an ideological thing, an aspect that they connected with decadent capitalist societies of the west.

 

Krunska Street Belgrade
Krunska Street

 

Or, it could be that there wasn’t money for maintenance. However, the communist government built the industry, roads, hospitals, schools and huge new residential areas. In communist times, people received flats from the government for free. Apart from factories that previously existed and which are mostly all closed now, everything else constructed in Belgrade during communist times is still very much in use. Additionally, people will continue to use those facilities for a long time.

 

Liberation Boulevard Belgrade
Liberation Boulevard (close to Slavia Square)

 

But things have changed and, in the past two years, the new city government has invested considerable effort to improve the city. As I mentioned in my previous posts, they are currently renovating central parts of Belgrade. Also, many previously completely crumbling facades have been brought back to their original splendour.

 

 

King Milan Street Belgrade
King Milan Street

 

I’ve taken photos for this post completely randomly. It wasn’t a difficult task, because wherever you are in the city, you can see dilapidated buildings. Some of them are in the very central area, next to already restored buildings.

 

Terazije Belgrade
Terazije

 

What matters now is that they are doing the necessary work. Of course, the task is enormous and it will take a long time to tilt the balance to the point when only some buildings would need to be restored, as regular maintenance.

 

Balkanska Street Belgrade
Balkanska Street

 

The photo above is of Balkanska Street. It’s a historical street in the heart of Belgrade, where you can still find some traditional craftsmanship shops. The street was very recently completely restored, including the subterranean infrastructure. The idea is to bring the street back to its former glory.

 

Balkanska Street Belgrade
Balkanska Street

 

But when you see this building, you understand that there is still much more that needs to be done. The same is repeated all over Belgrade. Even the main and the most important Prince Michael street contains buildings with black facades.

 

Prince Michael Street Belgrade
Prince Michael Street

 

Certainly, there are many buildings that still look bad in the most central pedestrian area, despite the fact that they actually have magnificent facades. It’s just that you can’t see it right now. A good example is the building below, in Tzar Lazar Street.

 

Tzar Lazar Street Belgrade
Tzar Lazar Street

 

If you go to Belgrade in this period, you will see many works everywhere and a city that is changing the way it looks.

 

Obilićev Venac Decadent Belgrade
Obilićev Venac

 

Perhaps, there is an element of attraction in this decadence especially because, at the same time, you can see many improvements. The potential is huge and once the whole city has been completely restored, it will look much better.

 

Despot Stefan Boulevard Decadent Belgrade
Despot Stefan Boulevard

 

But, there is one more important point to consider.

 

Despot Stefan Boulevard Decadent Belgrade
Despot Stefan Boulevard

 

Right now, Serbia is still a relatively poor country. A building that you can see below reflects the current state of affairs in Serbia. It means that Serbia is a cheap country, especially if you compare the cost of everything with more developed Western European countries.

 

Zetska Street Decadent Belgrade
Zetska Street

 

It also means that Serbia and Belgrade are excellent value for money. You can go to best restaurants and have absolutely exquisite meals for a relatively small amount of money. If you remain at the “normal” level, the cost of everything is further reduced.

 

Skadarska Street Decadent Belgrade
Skadarska Street

 

In other words, you can feel like a king in Belgrade, even on a small budget. You won’t find that in any other European country, although to my knowledge Romania is similarly affordable.

 

King Peter Street Decadent Belgrade
King Peter Street

 

Thus, for as long as buildings remain as you can see them in this post, Belgrade will be an affordable destination. But that makes me think – what would I prefer? A splendid, but expensive city that shines beautifully or slightly decadent Belgrade that welcomes with its friendliness, openness and down to earth costs?

 

King Peter Street Decadent Belgrade
King Peter Street

 

I like Belgrade as it is right now, but that’s clearly for my selfish reasons. When I’m there, I can afford to do things to an extent that I can’t do in other places. In other places, I’m very much aware of how much everything costs. That’s almost irrelevant in Belgrade, because it’s so cheap.

 

King Peter Street Decadent Belgrade
King Peter Street

 

But, I need to clarify. Belgrade is cheap for people coming from the west, it’s not cheap for an ordinary Serbian person, that earns an ordinary Serbian salary. In fact, for them, Belgrade is expensive.

 

Baba Višnjina Street Decadent Belgrade
Baba Višnjina Street

 

Well, I am looking at Belgrade from my point of view and this article is really for people that intend to visit it from other countries. Only in that context, you can understand what I’m saying.

 

Sinđelićeva Street Decadent Belgrade
Sinđelićeva Street

 

Also, it wouldn’t be fair that someone reads my previous posts and only see many beautifully restored buildings. Belgrade’s reality is also this. Its decadent, neglected, dilapidated but rather charming side.

 

Republic Square Decadent Belgrade
Republic Square – under renovation May 2019

 

But, don’t worry. Right now, they are doing a lot of work all over the city, as you can see in the photo above. I look forward to going back there, to see and document the changes. These are really exciting times for Belgrade, the city is finally recapturing its long neglected and hidden beauty.

The main photo in this post is Bezistan. It’s a pedestrian pass between Terazije and Nikola Pašić Square. Right now, it’s in a desperate state.

 

 

Back to Serbia

02 Comments

  1. Gabriela Mirica

    beautiful and somehow sad …

    October 4, 2019 Reply
    • Vitko Ignjatovic

      Yes, exactly as you said, beautiful and, in fact, very sad. But, things are changing there, although at a slow pace.

      October 4, 2019 Reply

Leave a Reply to Gabriela Mirica Cancel reply

My Forever Travel

Contact Us

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Follow Us