Belgrade is noted for its lush urban parks. Tašmajdan is a central city park near the Church of Saint Mark, Central Post Office, Hotels Tash and Metropol Palace, and Radio-Television of Serbia. The name Tašmajdan “comes from the Turkish words tas – meaning stone – and quarry – meaning mine”. In ancient times, the park was a stone quarry “evidenced by the presence of a 2000-year-old Roman sarcophagus“.
Areas of the park contain sculptures by well-known Serbian sculptors, including Mira Sandić, Sava Sandić, Milija Glišić, Ratko Vulanovic, John Soldatović, and Svetlana Karović. Park caves that were bomb shelters during World War II recently opened to the public. Today, the park has a restaurant, gym, spa, swimming pool, stadium, and children’s playground.
Madera Restaurant is near the Tašmajdan entrance on King Alexander Boulevard. During the reign of Prince Miloš Obrenović, the area was “designated for the sale of gunpowder and firecrackers”. The restaurant got its name because “guests brought great wine from the Portuguese island of Madeira”.
“Bohemians, artists, and journalists, called Maderas, frequently gathered in the popular Belgrade restaurant”. I had lunch there yesterday, and although it’s a beautiful, open setting surrounded by greenery and large trees, it’s not the best choice for a solo traveler. Madera is more for families and large groups. There are cozier places like Mezestoran Dvorište, a Mediterranean restaurant across the street from my apartment. Their olive oil from Crete and eggplant pâté are amazing!
My apartment is a few minutes’ walk from Tašmajdan Park and Botanical Garden Jevremovac. Pionirski Park, the former Karadjordjevic family royal garden, is also nearby. During a previous visit, I explored Kalemegdan, a famous park with Belgrade Fortress, monuments, museums, and spectacular views of Novi Beograd and the Sava and Danube Rivers.
Topciderski is on my “must see” list. The park is known for shade, clean air, a century old platanus (plane tree), three artificial lakes, and cultural monuments. All these wonderful parks will be a welcome haven as Belgrade weather heats up during summer.