Saturday, November 28, 2009

National Assembly Building

Saturday, November 28, 2009

National Assembly building, in  Serbian Dom Narodne Skupštine is very typical building for Europe. It is not as splendid as in Prague or Vienna, but it sure will find the way to your camera. Most tourists only have the exterior view, but it is possible to have a guided tour and see treasures hidden inside this historical building. I had a chance to see it from the inside, but only one part, and here I will share my photographs with you.

The construction of the building of the National Assembly (originally the House of National Representation, of the Kingdom of Serbia), was based on a design by the architect Jovan Ilkić from 1901. Construction began in 1907, when King Petar I Karađorđević laid the cornerstone. As a consequence of Balkan Wars and the First World War, due to a lack of resources, the construction works had to be stopped and the building was made only up to the first floor.

The second phase of construction began with the establishment of the new state-the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. They drew up new plans which were necessary because the planned parliamentary session halls did not provide sufficient space. The architect was Pavle Ilkić, the son of the deceased Jovan Ilkić. Following the new design, the Assembly Building continued to be constructed until 1926, when the construction works were interrupted once again.

The third and final construction phase started after the death of King Aleksandar in 1934 when the chief architect became Nikola Krasnov, a Russian immigrant close to the court. The building of the National Assembly was finally completed in 1936.

Because of its precious architectural design and historical significance in 1984 the building was listed in the cultural heritage of Belgrade.

The history can be seen from the very moment you enter the building. The entrance hall has statues of significant people from history of all countries of the territory of Yugoslavia. Serbian emperor Dušan, who wrote the first Law, Croatian king Tomislav, Slovenian king, Karađorđe - the leader of riots against Turks, Nikola Pašić...

Unbelievable variety of marble, from white, through gray, to black, with all shades of yellow, pink and green, cleverly mixed in playful, yet elegant combination.

But, enough with talk - enjoy photos!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What to see if you have only one day in Belgrade?

Thursday, November 26, 2009
In my opinion, there are 3 must-sees in Belgrade. You simply cannot miss them if you're in Belgrade, even for only one day. Kalemegdan, St. Sava Temple and Skadarlija are the "holy trinity" of the must-see in Belgrade . 

Good thing is that visiting those places would give you a chance to glance at other attractions, like Knez Mihailova (pedestrian zone), on your way to Kalemegdan, or so-called Silicone Valley (Strahinjića bana Street, with numerous cafes, very popular among younger population), where you can have a drink or two, before you go to have a dinner in Bohemic Quarter of Skadarlija. On your way to St. Sava Temple, you might pass by destroyed buildings during NATO bombing - not that I think it's an important tourist attraction, but I've noticed that all tourists are very curious to see them.

Kalemegdan is a fortress, with quite large park, which accommodates one fortress, 2 churches, one gallery, 2 observatories, 2 museums, tennis and basketball terrains, archaeological remains from several different historic periods, small amusement park for children, two restaurants and one zoo (I'm sure I've missed something, but I guess this gives you the idea). Therefore, you should plan at least 2-3 hours for this one, if you want to see everything.

Although completely out of the way, but not too far, is the St. Sava Temple. It is not finished yet, the interior is still far from finished, but it's open to the public, and there are interesting things to see even inside the church. What you should know is that St. Sava Temple (or if you prefer to call it Cathedral of Saint Sava) is THE biggest Orthodox church in the world, by its area and volume (it's not the tallest). It is surrounded by nice park with fountains, next to the National Library. 

Back to the very center of the city, you should plan your dinner in the bohemic quarter - Skadarlija Street. Skadarlija is also known for its excellent restaurants, offering national food, and live acoustic music called "starogradska muzika" (can be translated as "old city music") and the bohemic spirit, remained from numerous writers and artists, back in the 19th century, who made this street famous.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I need your support

Friday, November 20, 2009
According to current votes, blog Travel to Belgrade with merkat traveler at the Web fest competition is sharing 5th place with B92 blog in the blog category (out of 111 blogs). If you haven't voted yet, please do - deadline is Monday at midnight (GMT +1).

Vote for Travel to Belgrade with merkat traveler (how-to instructions). If you have a facebook account, you can use F/connect option on the Web Fest homepage, and vote without registering (just make sure you confirm your vote / step 3 in how-to instructions)


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Funeral service for His Holiness Patriarch Pavle

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
On Thursday, 19th November 2009, His Holiness' funeral ceremony shall start at 07:30, with Holy Liturgy at Saborna Church. 
The funeral procession will depart with the coffin at 09:30, to the St. Sava Temple, for the funeral service. 
At 12:30, funeral procession will head to Rakovica Monastery, where His Holiness Patriarch Pavle will be laid to rest at 13:00 hours.

According to the Patriarch's personal request and recommendation, the Holy Synod appealed to all faithful not to bring wreaths to the funeral service, but to only light candles, and instead, according to their possibilities and wishes, donate toward the completion of the temple. People who cannot attend the complete funeral ceremony can pay their respect by standing in front of their houses.

Below is the map of funeral path. 

More information in English can be found at Blic (map in Serbian here) and B92.
Map made with Google Earth by merkat

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Patriarch Pavle 1914 - 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Photo source: B92

His Holiness Patriarch Pavle (Paul) passed away on 15th November 2009, at the age of 95. As of yesterday there shall be three days of mourning in Serbia. Respects to the departed Patriarch Pavle, who will lie in state in the Cathedral Church of St. Michael Archangel (Saborna crkva), may be paid until Thursday.

The funeral liturgy for His Holiness Patriarch Pavle will be conducted on Thursday, 19th 2009 at 11 A.M. in St. Sava Temple in Belgrade.

The funeral of Patriarch Pavle of blessed repose will be held on the same day - according to his will he shall be laid to rest at the Monastery of the St. Archangel Gavrilo in Belgrade (Manastir Rakovica).

Maps made in Google Earth by merkat. 
Photos of Saborna Church and St Sava Temple by merkat.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Vote for Travel to Belgrade with merkat traveler

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Hi everybody!

I've applied my blog for a Regional Webfest competition. Now I need someone to vote for it ;o))). The only problem is that the web site requires registration, which is in Serbian language, but I think it is not a problem with a help of google translate.

Anyway, here are the steps:

1. Go to and click the large blue button "Glasaj". The registration window will appear. Registration confirmation link will be sent to your e-mail.

2. When registration is confirmed, go to (or go to blog category) and vote for my blog which is in the first row, second from lefte (thumbnail is white layout, with small photo in the middle). Vote by clicking on "

3. After clicking "
Glasaj", small window will appear - click on (green or blue) highlighted words "moji glasovi". The list will appear and you should see my link If you see it, please enter the anti-spam code below and confirm by pressing the button on the bottom of the page. This step is necessary, because it's the way you will confirm your vote (otherwise is not valid).


It is not so complicated as it seems, I've just gave you a large amount of info, because the site is in Serbian, but, in fact it is completely logical, and probably you can do it even without my instructions (except maybe for step 3).

Thank you in advance for your help, and I would be very happy if your friends would like to vote, too.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Belgrade International Book Fair

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Belgrade International Book Fair is my most favorite cultural event of all times. You could guess that I love books and that I'm probably a member of readers' clubs with book discounts, so for me visiting the Book Fair is more than just an opportunity to buy cheap books - it's my annual ritual, when I enjoy browsing through thousands of books, feeling the smell of newly printed books, meeting authors... I don't enjoy the crowds, though, but it's the price I have to pay - no pain, no gain, right?

Belgrade International Book Fair is the third largest fair in Europe and the second oldest in Europe. In 2007 the number of visitors has reached 200.000, while each year the number of visitors is never under 145-150.000. 531 national and 314 international publishers participated at the 53rd Book Fair in 2008. It is an annual event scheduled for the third Monday in October, the week long event takes place at Belgrade Fair, but this year's Fair starts on 26th October, ending on 1st November.

Every year The Book Fair has special topics (e.g. "Two Centuries of the High School") and the Guest of Honor Country, and the writer/s from that country come to the Fair. Last year's Country Guest of Honor was Japan, and natsuki Ikezawa was the writer guest of honor. This year's Guest of Honor Country is Greece. Canada is now already traditionally (7 consecutive years) presenting its authors, illustrators, publishers, and new Canadian titles translated into Serbian. This year's international guests will be also from Ukraine, Poland, Italy, Germany, Great Britain and Croatia. The Book Fair organizes numerous themed programs and events, conferences, annual meetings and exhibitions, as well as award ceremonies for established prize categories, such as Publisher of the Year, Publishing Project of the Year, The Best Edition etc. From this year the Book Fair will have the Comic Strip Workshop, with numerous famous guests from that field.

If you are in Belgrade in this period, I warmly recommend you to visit the Book Fair - you won't regret it. Avoid 29th October, since it's School Day, if you don't want to spend your time surrounded by zillion children running around. Also, have in mind that busiest days are during weekend, especially the last day of the fair. Entrance fee is around 3 € (250 Dinars), working hours 10 A.M.- 8 P.M.