Belgrade Neighborhoods and Rosenberg Trio Gypsy Jazz Band

Savamala Neighborhood – getyourguide.dk

Belgrade has been a wonderful surprise. I’m happy and enjoying the experience! I moved from a studio apartment in Dorćol neighborhood to a loft in more central Palilua. It’s sunny, comfortable, and close to everything. The old renovated building has high ceilings and a fascinating antique cage elevator!

Belgrade has festivals almost every week and many museums and galleries to explore. I’m slowly making my way through attractions of interest. The friendly apartment owner provides valuable information on special activities and performances.

Typical Belgrade Kafana – BTURN

After traveling since October, my brain is on overload. I’m taking downtime to explore Belgrade – no rushing. Have had simple, memorable experiences interacting with locals. There’s so much to learn and see. Serbia’s turbulent history is complicated. Stories of its royal dynasties – Kardjordjević and Obrenović – are fascinating.

Zemun Neighborhood – StefanRTW

This post has brief descriptions of Belgrade’s neighborhoods. I’ve visited most of these and explore new areas every day. When you look beneath the surface, every building and street has its own history and a deeper meaning.

Skadarlija Bohemian Borough Belgrade – Serbia Incoming™ DMC

Belgrade’s unique atmosphere and way of life is a refreshing change from anything familiar. It’s good for the heart and soul to experience new places and cultures, but takes considerable effort and energy. I’m due for a rest :o)…

Nebojša Tower – Belgrade my way

Dorćol

Dorćol is a laid-back neighborhood known for its cafés, restaurants, and pubs. The name means “crossroads” in Turkish. The area is near the Sava and Danube Rivers and was “a busy trading point during Ottoman occupation”.

Dedinje Mansion – Mentor Real Estate

Belgrade’s Bohemian district – Skadarlija – is in Dorćol. It’s best known for reasonably priced Serbian Kafana restaurants with attentive waiters. I have a few favorites but am always trying new places. Traditional food is delicious and reasonably priced. I’ve gotten used to roving musicians playing gypsy music while you dine.

Typical Kafana Restaurant Belgrade – Restoran Beograd

Kalemegdan Park – The Happy Hermit

Dorćol represents Belgrade’s multicultural history. In addition to Orthodox churches it’s home to the only surviving mosque – Bajrakli Mosque – and the former center of Belgrade’s Jewish community. Each Orthodox church has a unique story!

Mural Savamala  neighborhood – Wikipedia

Dorćol has Belgrade’s largest park – Kalemegdan – near the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers. The park includes Belgrade Fortress, a two-thousand-year-old Roman Well, and Nebojša Tower.

Roman Well Entrance Kalemegdan – tipotravel.com

They say if you haven’t visited Kalemegdan you can’t claim you’ve been to Belgrade. I’ve walked through the large park – it was raining that day – and will return. The views are magnificent. The Roman Well even fascinated Alfred Hitchcock.

Savamala Neighborhood – mreast.dk

New Belgrade – Novi Beograd 

New Belgrade has “massive expanses of towering concrete building blocks in a world within itself”. It’s one of the “most populous parts of the city”. Established at the end of the 1940s, Novi Beograd “satiated Josip Broz Tito’s desire for a huge capital city”.

Beograđanka Skyscraper – The Skyscraper Center

As in Sarajevo, the blocks with ugly but functional communist-style concrete buildings – also known as Brutalist Architecture – are slightly overwhelming. Genex Tower is a prominent Novi Beograd landmark. In spite of the architecture, some describe Novi Beograd as one of the “most exciting parts of Belgrade”.

Brutalism – Soviet Architecture New Belgrade – ArchDaily

New Belgrade Neighborhood Flickr

Vračar

Vračar is Belgrade’s smallest municipality. It’s considered one of the most desirable neighborhoods. The iconic Church of St. Sava, National Library of Serbia (once a brothel), and Beograđanka Skyscraper are in Vračar.

Bajrakli Mosque  Belgrade – Todayonline.

Kosančićev Venac 

West of central Belgrade, Kosančićev Venac was “built on the site of an Ancient Roman necropolis”. The area was “damaged heavily during World War II”. It’s Belgrade’s oldest neighborhood. Cobblestone streets and a “charming mix of architecture and tree-lined paths and palaces make it one of the city’s most appealing spots”.

Orthodox Church of St. Sava Vračar Neighborhood – Mondo

Savamala

I’ve ventured into Savamala a few times. It’s near the Sava River waterfront. Once considered Belgrade’s “cultural powerhouse” At one time Savamala was also known as the “shabbiest part of the city” inhabited by drug dealers and pimps. Live music, popular bars, and art galleries have turned Savamala into a cultural centre.

Dorćol  Neighborhood – CityExpert

Dedinje

Magnificent villas and mansions are characteristic of Dedinje, Belgrade’s wealthiest neighborhood. It’s said that “strolling through Dedinje opens one’s eyes to the riches of diplomats and businessmen involved in questionable actions during the 1990s”.

Kosančićev Venac Neighborhood – Wikimedia

Zemun

Practically the “dictionary definition of a town within a town” Zemun hugs the banks of the Danube River. People from Zemun are “fiercely independent” and don’t consider themselves part of Belgrade. The neighborhood is known for its restaurants – especially for fish lovers – and lively bars, pubs, and clubs.

Dedinje Neighborhood – Nekretnine

Zvezdara

Zvezdara neighborhood is Belgrade’s forest haven. Its “mass of greenery” is home to interesting fauna, including owls and hedgehogs. This is the neighborhood for hiking, walking, and enjoying nature.

Dedinje Neighborhood Wikipedia

Palilula

My neighborhood Palilula “occupies some of Belgrade’s prime real estate”. It’s close to the city centre but without the traffic and intensity. The neighborhood developed during the Habsburg occupation of Belgrade. It’s an active desirable location with interesting landmarks, markets, restaurants, and shops.

Belgrade Genex Tower – The Bohemian Blog

Rosenberg Trio Gypsy Jazz Swing Band

Rosenberg Trio is a famous Gypsy Jazz Swing Band from the Netherlands. They’ve performed throughout Europe, at Carnegie Hall, and several times at Belgrade’s Jubilee Guitar Art Festival.

Inspired by French jazz guitarist Django Rinehart and considered the “essence of Gypsy Jazz Swing Music” the group has performed together for over 25 years. It’s a family affair and the concert features two brothers and an uncle.

Beograd Fortress – Wikipedia

Last night I saw them perform at Belgrade’s Kombank Hall as part of Belgrade’s Guitar Festival. The group consisted of founder and virtuoso Štochelo (Štoke) Rozenberg main guitar, Mozes Rozenberg rhythm guitar, and Noni Rozenberg bass guitar.

Rosenberg Trio

Štoke is considered one of the best guitarists of all time. He started playing guitar at age 10 and won Guitarist Magazine’s prestigious Golden Guitar Award.

The performance was sold out and the audience went wild for the trio. They did two encores and ended with a toe-tapping Serbian / Hungarian piece that had the audience squealing with delight. They’re a lovely group with a wonderful vibe and have recorded 26 studio and concert albums. It was a memorable evening.

Kombank Hall Belgrade – SEEbtm

Next week there’s an International Piano Competition and luckily, I got a ticket! I’m taking some walking tours and have tickets for March ballet and opera performances at the National Theatre.

Interior Subotica Synagogue – szecesszio.szegedvaros.hu

Sergei Polunin’s Sacré Belgrade National Theatre

National Theater Belgrade – Apartment Beograd

While exploring Belgrade last week I discovered the magnificent National Theatre. Founded in 1868 the theater has a museum and two stages for ballet, opera, drama, and comedy performances. The March repertoire is amazing with something different appearing every day of the week! I joined the ticket line and booked two ballets and an opera. The total cost for all three performances was an unbelievable $30.

Sergei Polunin – The Independent

I’d heard of Sergei Polunin but didn’t know much about his career. His modern dance performance looked interesting. Luckily, I got the last available seat in the house – third-floor balcony! The elegant main stage has limited seating forcing many to watch while standing along the sidelines.

Sergei Polunin – Art2Arts

Sergei Polunin

Sergei Polunin is a 29-year-old Ukrainian ballet dancer who has danced since the age of 4. He attended London’s Royal Ballet School and holds citizenship in Ukraine, Russia, and Serbia. After resigning his position as principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet Polunin began freelancing.

Interior National Theater Belgrade – Itinari

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At 19, Sergei Polunin became the “British Royal Ballet’s youngest principal male dancer”. A few years later he resigned from the company with the words ‘the artist in me was dying’.

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Sacré Finale – Kolarov, Oishi, Polunin, Lyubimov

Polunin has been a guest artist at major dance theaters all over the world, including the Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells Theatre London, Bolshoi Theatre, Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow, La Scala Theatre Paris, Teatro San Carlo Naples, and Bayerisches Staatsballet Munich.

In 2014 and 2015 Polunin “collaborated with American photographer and music director David LaChapelle“. He participated in several new projects, including a dance video to the song “Take Me to Church” by Hozier.

Yuka Oishi Choreographer – Noizz

Polunin also performed in ballet-related film roles in Red Sparrow, Murder on the Orient Express, and a new film called Passion Simple, his first lead role.

Sergei Polunin – Dance Hall News

Controversial Polunin was the subject of the 2016 documentary film Dancer, directed by Steven Cantor. The documentary “analyzes Polunin’s childhood, training, and rise to international fame”.

Sergei Polunin and Laetitia Dosc Film Passion Simple – Wiki-commons

Sergei Polunin Sacré – Facebook

Sergei recently started the “Polunin Foundation dedicated to finding young and underprivileged individuals, providing them access to a professional dance education, and encouraging and developing their creativity “.

Yuka Oishi Choreographer, Dancer – Fiveprime

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“The goal of the Sergei Polunin Foundation is promoting ballet and dance to a wider audience while honoring traditional ballet and combining it with the most cutting-edge approach.”

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Vaslav Nijinsky Legendary Dancer and Choreographer – Wikiquote

Sergei Polunin’s Sacré

Last month Sergei Polunin performed his powerful new show Sacré in MoscowIt premiered in Switzerland in 2018. In the production, Japanese choreographer Yuka Oishi reinterprets Igor Stravinsky’s iconic ballet Le Sacré du printemps – Rite of Spring.

Alexey Lynbimov Soloist, Principal Ballet Dancer – Kulturserver

The ballet is a “tribute to legendary Russian dancer and kindred spirit Vaslav Nijinsky with Igor Stravinsky’s music taking center stage”. During Polunin’s solo he “explores Niminsky’s madness and his demand for a feeling, not thinking human”.

Igor Stravinsky Composer, Pianist, Conductor – The Guardian

Yuka Oishi Choreographer and Dancer

Yuka Oishi graduated from Hamburg Ballet School. She became an apprentice in 2002 and danced with the company as a soloist. Oishi began choreographing in 2012 and won prizes and recognition for her creativity and talent. Since 2015 she’s a freelance dancer and choreographer.

Alexey Lynbimov Soloist, Principal Ballet Dancer – tickets-to-the-theatre.com

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Sergei Polunin’s Sacré brings back the visions and music of the glorious Ballets Russes 1909 – 1929.

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Alexey Lynbimov and Dejan Kolarov

The evening began with dramatic performances by Alexey Lynbimov and Dejan Kolarov. Alexey is a soloist and principal dancer at Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow. He was awarded Ballet Magazine ‘Soul of the Dance’ Award in 2017 and has danced in ballet productions with Polunin.

Alexey Lynbimov Soloist, Principal Ballet Dancer – Pictame

Dejan Kolarov attended Serbian ballet schools in Zrenjanin and Belgrade and became a soloist at Germany’s Theatre Augsburg. In 2010 he returned to Belgrade National Theatre and became the ballet company’s first soloist. A multi-talented artist, Kolarov is a dancer, director, and choreographer.

Dejan Kolarov Dancer, Director, Choreographer – Narodno Pozoriste

It was a splendid performance! I’m still processing the deep message and creative performance – so much talent!

Dejan Kolarov Dancer, Director, Choreographer – Narodno Pozoriste

Belgrade Serbia

Orthodox Church of St. Mark Belgrade

I arrived in Belgrade Tuesday evening open to a new experience but feeling a bit apprehensive and uncertain about what to expect. One writer compares the Serbian culture of “historical, religious, culinary, and psychological narratives” to “knots that must be carefully untangled”.

Subotica Synagogue Belgrade – Living+ Nomads

It takes a few days to acclimate, and I’m exploring areas near my apartment but haven’t used the trams. I got lost at night but friendly locals were helpful. Transportation is all above ground – no subway. Drivers seem impatient. Crossing the street in the wrong place resulted in a severe honking admonishment – won’t do that again

Novi Sad (Freedom Square) – visitnovisad.rs

Crossing the street can be strangely complicated. In Belgrade’s city center you cross the main thoroughfare via underground stairways and passages. Maybe this is because of the trolleybus tracks – a characteristic of former socialist countries.

Vojvodina District Belgrade – Aegean Airlines

Food

My first Serbian food experience – karadordeva – was interesting but not a favorite. Meat and roasted peppers are especially popular.

Serbian Roasted Peppers – Itinari

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Some describe Serbia as “fascinating, baffling, captivating, frustrating, and vibrant”!

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Serbian Dolmas – Culture Trip

Most restaurants have live entertainment with small groups including a singer, accordion, Serbian guitar, bass or cello, tapan drum, and violin. To my ear, the sound is somewhere between Balkan Gypsy, Greek, and Russian folk music. All smiles, the locals clearly love it!

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When drinking rakija (fruit brandy) with friends, the process is “clinking glasses, locking eyes, and saying ZIVELI”!

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Gardoš Tower Belgrade – Destinelo

There are many Serbian breads – pogača, lepinja/somun, đevrek, proja, pogacica – can’t pronounce them. Bakeries and snack kiosks are everywhere. Kiosk vendors are friendly and helpful. I’ve asked them silly tourist questions and they’re always kind.

Saint Sava Temple Belgrade – Vogue

Savamala District Belgrade – belgrade.com

As in Montenegro and Croatia potent rakija is popular. In the Balkans rakija cures all ailments known to man.

Domaći Devrek Looks Like a Bagel – Kurir

Pogacica Looks Like a Buttermilk Biscuit – pictaram.me

Lepinja Somun

Serbian Time and Communication

I’ve learned that the meaning of time in Serbia is up for grabs. In some cases, an hour means a day or more. There’s no mercy for those who don’t understand this. Above all you must remain flexible unless you want to be frustrated. Complaining or being uptight doesn’t help. There are layers of understanding in Serbia – each somewhat right and at the same time inaccurate – communication is challenging.

Hotel Moskva Belgrade – serbiancoming.com

Belgrade National Theater – Serbia Tour Operator

Orthodox Church

Luckily, I was in Dubrovnik during Serbian Orthodox Christmas in January. Orthodox religious celebrations, food, traditions, feasts, slavas (patron saints), and dos and donts seem dizzyingly complicated.

National Museum Belgrade – Narodni Muzej

There are many spectacular churches to explore throughout Belgrade. From what I’ve seen, you should learn basic Orthodox Church rituals before entering.

Orthodox Church of Alexander Nevsky Belgrade

Smoking

Smoking is another subject. Serbia is the “number one country for per-capita cigarette consumption” – enough said. Although I have a problem with smoking, there’s no point in being judgmental. Soon enough smokers discover the error of their ways.

Tamburicas Small and Large – 123RF.com

Serbian Musicians Belgrade Restaurant

Attractions

There’s much to explore so I’m staying in Belgrade through March. The second time around I found a reasonably priced apartment in the city center. The first apartment wasn’t for me, but since I only booked one week, it’s manageable.

Terazije Square Belgrade – Belgrade Cat

Points of interest include Savamala District, Hilandarska and Terazije Streets, National Museum, Gardos Tower, Zemun Neighborhood, Vojvodina District, Novi Sad Trg Slobode, Subotica Synagogue, and Hotel Moskva. That’s the tip of the list and doesn’t include day trips to villages, parks, rivers, music, museums, or galleries.

Serbian Musaka – belgradeatnight

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“Where there is Slava, there is a Serb.“  Serbian Proverb

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Stairway Zemun Neighborhood Belgrade – Redddit

Street Scene

The Belgrade street scene – words don’t do it justice – is colorful with plenty of local “hipsters”. Women go all out with their attire. Younger women wear skin-tight clothes with lots of leather and makeup. Fancy boots, spike heels, rhinestones, and sequins are indispensable. Most of the younger men are fit and well-groomed. Except for artistic types, older men and women are low-key.

Karađorđeva Snicla – Explore Serbia Online

There’s much to learn, beginning with how to get around :o(. More later…