There are really a lot of fun facts about Belgrade, so i chose the most interesting ones. Belgrade is, as you know, the largest and capital city of Serbia. In previous posts I wrote about the city history, about what you need to see in Belgrade, where you can capture the best shots, and how to survive summer in the city. Now I want to share some fun facts which you maybe knew or did not know, and are worth mentioning.
FUN FACTS ABOUT BELGRADE
Belgrade – White city
Belgrade got the name by its white stone out of which the fort was made. The name firstly appears in 630 when Slavic people migrated to this area. After that it has been mentioned for the first time in the letter written on 16th of April in 878. That document is considered to be the oldest written track and that date is celebrated as the Day of Belgrade.
One city – 15 names
Belgrade got a lot of names throughout history and they are:
- Singidun – Celtic name
- Singidunum – romanized Celtic name
- Beograd – Slavic name
- Biograd na Dunavu – old Croatian name
- Alba Graeca – Latin name
- Alba Bulgarica – Latin name during Bulgarian rule
- Fehérvár – Hungarian name
- Nandoralba – name in Hungary during the middle ages by 14th century
- Nándorfehérvár, Landorfehérvár – name in Hungary during the middle ages
- Weißenburg and Griechisch-Weißenburg – German name
- Castelbianco – Italian name
- Velegrad – Byzantine name
- Dar Al Jihad – Osman name meaning the House of war
- Belgrat – Turkish name
- Prinz Eugen Stadt – Nazi name
16th name – the White Phoenix
Due to its great geographic position on the confluence of 2 rivers and the intersection of trade routes between East and West, in its history Belgrade has been attacked at the total of 115 times, while completely devastated and burnt to the ground even 44 times! However, after everything, he risen every single time and had been rebuilt, so he got the name White Phoenix.
Civilization older than Mesopotamia
15 km from Belgrade there is a place called Vinča. On that world famous place rests the oldest European civilization originated from Neolithic period. The legend says that, after Danube withdrew, in the riverbed people found some clay figurine. That figurine is today famous as Man from Vinča, and it is believed that it has been made at the very end of stone era by a prehistoric man. Today she can be seen in British museum.
So at this place archeologists found the remains of civilization older than 7000 years. Even older than Mesopotamia. This civilization is considered to be one of the most advanced prehistoric cultures which probably lasted around 1000 years. The main culprit for her disappearance is copper, which was the main cause of the wars. Also, this place is considered to be a center from which countries in the Balkans developed further.
Fun facts about Belgrade – The city under the city
Did you know that when you are walking on the pavement of Belgrade you are actually walking on the roofs of old Roman city which originated from the 1st year of new era? The remains of Roman empire can be found till in the center of the city around Republic square, Rajiceva shopping center, King Peter street and Kosancicev venac street.
There is a tour which can show and explain all of this better called Belgrade beneath Belgrade. You will find out that there is over 100 caves, canals, tunnels and passages, as well as Roman aqueduct and the underground hall, which were built by many rulers and testify about different cultures which dominated this area.
Roman well with its 2 spiral sets of steps long 212 stairs, is along with the Victor statue one of the most famous attractions. It has made by Austrians and is on 62m deep which is 10 meters deeper than the deepest spot in Belgrade. There are legends that divers were sent down there and have never returned. The other version says that in 1960 there were found 2 bodies but they are not sure if they are divers or gold hunters.
Fun facts about Belgrade – cave in the city center
Beneath the church of St. Marco is located famous Šalitrena cave. Besides the cave, there are also a shelter and quarry. In the times of the Romans from this cave the stone was taken out and it was used for making sarcophagus which were later found on the various locations in the city.
Tomb of Attila the Hun
According to the history Huns attacked and devastated Kalemegdan fortress in 5th century. However the legend says that the tomb of Atila the Hung, their great leader, it in the heart of Kalemegdan fortress on the confluence of rivers Sava and Danube.
The Victor statue
Famous piece of Ivan Meštrović, the statue of Victor, was erected in 1928 on the Upper part of Kalemegdan fortress, regarding 10 year after breaking through Thessaloniki front. This monument is originally imagined as a fountain and it supposed to be placed on Terazije square or Republic square. Unfortunately the making of this monument was interrupted by WWI and it is being said that there was no financial conditions for this idea to be realized as firstly imagined. That is why this statue is today standing proud on Kalemegdan fortress watching over Belgrade. It is being said that female part of population was against the proposal that the statue of naked man stands in the city center. There is also the question if this statue is facing towards Austria on purpose.
The biggest Orthodox church in Balkan
The biggest Orthodox church in Balkan is located right here in on Vračar plateau, exactly on the place where 2 great events happened: decapitation of rulers and burning relics of St. Sava. Temple is 82 meters high out of which dome is 70 meters and cross is 12 meters high which definitely makes it the biggest in Balkan.
First coffee shop/tavern in Europe
Due to the fact that Belgrade is mostly famous for its nightlife, of the interesting facts is that first taver or a coffee shop in Europe was opened in Belgrade on Dorćol in 1522. They served only black coffee and so it is believe that taverns in Serbia got the name because of it. The oldest tavern in Belgrade which is still opened is Question Mark right across the Arch-cathedral.
Fun facts about Belgrade: Biggest freemasons center
Apart from mason pyramid in Knez Mihailova street, mason symbols can be seen on facades of many buildings in town. The pyramid itself is was a monument to science erected within the exhibition The Measuring world in 1955. On it you can see the coordinates of the city. Others, however, believe that it was made by Freemasons and the only difference is that there is no All-seeing eye along with the pyramid. The interesting fact is that a lot of symbols can be seen on the tombs of 2 famous Serbians: Branislav Nušuć, a writer and Živojin Mišić, a general.
Hotel Moscow and her sweet trademark
Hotel Moscow is one of the most important buildings which can be found in the centre of the capital. The building is erected in 1906 u russian style with elements of antic Greek while it is the an art of Belgrade architect Jovan Ilkic. Hotel was opened in 1908 by king Peter the I and all the most famous people of the time were present for this important event. From the mid years of the 20th century it is under protection of the state as important culture of Belgrade.
In the history longer than one century, this hotel and cafeteria hosted over 40 million people. Among them are some of the world famous individuals such as Albert Einstein, Anna Pavlova, Leonid Brezhnev, Indira Gandhi, Ray Charles, Robert De Niro, Brad Pitt, Bernardo Bertolucci, Maxim Gorki, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Milla Jovovich etc… Some of these people stayed in the president suite which is equipped with the original furniture from the castle of Obrenovic dynasty. Famous nobel prize winner, Ivo Andric, had it own table in the Moscow cafeteria.
Moskva schnitte is the most known and famous belgrade dessert, and you can try it exactly here in this hotel. It was made in 1974 when the chef Anica Dzepina made something new because previous menu started to get boring. The cake soon became a hit around the world, but right here it is the symbol of the finest dessert in Belgrade.
Chandelier which amazes tourists
The legend says that there were 3 sisters out of which every single one built a church as a endowment. They gave the names to the churches by their own names: Ruzica, Marica i Cveta. Church Ruzica is right next to Zindan gate on Kalemegdan fortress, and it is on the list of 10 most interesting churches in the world. In WWII soldiers made their last confession and pray right here, but after that the church was devastated. When it was renovated sculptures of emperor Dusan and the warriors were moved right to the place where they stood for the last time. Apart from this on the entrance there are also 2 statues made out of cannonballs, and they represent Serbian soldiers.
The most interesting thing is placed within the church. That is a chandelier made out of gun and rifle bullets, officer sabers, cannon ammunition and parts of soldier crates. He is a part of trench art but the point and the moral it is sending is completely different. The chandelier is in fact orthodox candle, and when it is lit, the light and the wax are dripping right onto the weapons, as pray tears, so that Big war never happens again.
Apart from the remains of the cities, tunnels, shelters beneath the Belgrade was found 9 rivers, streams and few live wells. In the part from Republic Square to Slavija square these water were major issue while building Belgrade. Because of this kind of problems huge pumps needed to be used. Although Belgrade is really built on the water and the problems are very well known, today in the place called Savamala huge complex on the water is being built and they gave it a name Belgrade on the water.
First graffiti in Belgrade
After the withdrawal of German military after WWII, Russian soldiers went through the city to find mines which will be deactivated and safe objects they marked with inscription Provereno min njet. Those are considered to be the first Graffiti in Belgrade. On the other hand in Sremska street you will find a panel with inscription Vote for Filip Filipovic, and that one is also considered as the first graffiti in Belgrade. This one was made in 1920 when the Communist party of Yugoslavia presented Filip Filipovic as their candidate.
While in California Silicon valley is known as a hive of development in high technology, in Belgrade on the other hand Silicon valley got a name by women that are prone to esthetic surgeries. Silicon valley in Belgrade is a street Strahinjica Bana in which you can find a lot or bars and restaurants, and these women came here mostly to meet some men in high functions like politicians, actors etc.. Today, they say, this era is over, but the named really stayed.
Albert Einstein in Belgrade
With the fact that spouse of Albert Einstein has origins from Vojvodina, Albert had visited Novi sad and Belgrade a couple of times. In Belgrade municipality Rakovica, there was a small pace called Kijevo and it had a lake. This one was a famous summer place for all Belgradians which was made in 1901, and in 1905 Mileva and Einstein had a ride on this lake. The lake existed for 46 years after which it was drained. Apart from Einstein family this lake was often visited by King Peter I, famous artist Nadezda Petrovic and writer Branislav Nusic.
Did you know that Nikola Tesla is the first Serb who is nominated for Nobel prize in 1837 and that he refused it? Did you know that he is the only Serb whose name is given to one of the International Units for measurement? Nikola Tesla died in 1943, his museum in Belgrade opened in 1955, and his urn was placed in the Museum in 1957. Museum in Belgrade keeps the original legacy of Nikola Tesla and that is: over 160 000 original documents, 2000 books and magazines, 1200 exhibits, 1500 photographs and glass photo-plates, 1000 plans and drawings..
Belgrade in games
Belgrade can be seen in world known video games like Battlefield and Half life, where you can see some of the Belgrade attractions
Belgrade in movies
A lot of famous movies are filmed i Belgrade:
Bloom brothers, District 13, November man, 3 days to kill, Lockout, Ibiza, The white crow, Crawl, Chernobyl Diaries, Papillon, Mayhem, Corioulanus, The Raven, Incoming, An ordinary man, etc…
First fun facts about Belgrade
- First theatrical plays were held in on of the mosques in the period of WWI
- First traffic light in Serbia was erected in Belgrade on the square of King Alexander Blvd and Takovska street
- First beer in Belgrade was poured in 1834 in tavern Manojlova bašta on Zeleni venac
- First monument was raised in 1848 and it can be found in park of Karađorđe
- First student home in Balkane more famous as Lola was built here between 1927 and 1928
- First hospital was built 1868 in the street of George Washington on the place where in the WWI was placed a tent for treating the wounded. Today you will find a Medicine museum in that building
- First news about football was announced in Vecernje novosti newspapers in 1896
- First street light was lit at the square of Kolarčeva and Makedonska street
- First post in Serbia started to work on 7.th of June 1840 and it was located in Kalemegdan
- First duel with pistols was held in Banovo brdo on 1905
The other fun facts about Belgrade
- The shortest street in Belgrade is only 12m long and it is Lovačka street on Čukarica, and after is Tesna street, 15m long and located in Zemun
- During Ottomans rule in Belgrade there was 273 mosques. Today only one is saved and that is famous Bajrakli mosque located in Dorcol, in Gospodar Jevremova
- Believe it or not, for already 120 years there is an Egyptian mummy in Belgrade in the faculty of Philology, and it originates from 300 year bc
- Bitef Theatre building was officially built to be an Evangelistic church, but it never got a function of a sacred place
- One of the most unusual traditions in Belgrade that was happening in 19th century in the center of Belgrade was hunt on ducks. This was happening on Slavija square which was a swamp once
- The most famous guest houses were Kod Crvenog petla, Crvenog vola, Pet ševa, Tri zeca, and the bad one was Kod dve bule.
- The only official formula race held in Belgrade was during the WWII. It happened on 3rd September 1939 around Kalemegdan to celebrate the birthday of King Peter I
- The oldest saved house in Belgrade was built in 1724 and it is located in Cara Dusana street
- Zeleni venac was once a swamp which was drained so that a theater could be build. However the building collapsed and architect ran away, so we have today a lovely market there
- 1892 while digging the foundation for Bajloni market in Cetinjska street, the skull was digged out. It is being said that it is originated from the paleolithic
I hope that you liked fun facts about Belgrade. If you want more info check some of my other posts that concern Belgrade in the category Lifestyle. Also check some sites like 011info, DanUBeogradu, Beograd, BelgradeBeat.