Sunday, November 11, 2018

Of Malls, Markets, and a pink Bra

I visited several malls in the serbian capital, but liked only one of them - the  Delta City mall.

Delta City Mall

Housed in an attractive, blue, modern circular structure, Delta City mall seems to be above the average. It is smaller (ground + two floors), but less crowded and noisy than Usce (near the bridge to the new city) and  Rajiceva (on the pedestrian shopping street Knez Mihailova).

Rajiceva  Mall  (on Knez Mihailova street)

Usce  Mall

Delta City  offers good stuff at affordable prices.(I bought an embroidered cotton top and a small umbrella for travel, and was very pleased both with the quality and the price). Delta has a McDonalds and KCF, a cinemaplex, a  supermarket (Maxi discount chain),cafe-restaurant for gourmet customers, shops (with domestic & international brands), bank, pharmacy, shiny toilets, murals,  and more.

murals on the wall leading to the toilets

Everything about this mall is in good taste (except, perhaps, the pink Bra... painted at the bottom of the mirror in the ladies' room of the toilets. Where are the feminists?! just kidding; it doesn't bother me and probably nor the other women visitors). 

see `pink bra painted on  the mirror bottom in the toilet room

live fish at Roda's mall big supermarket dept. nice attraction.

The city green markets (pijaca = market) are all structured in the same 'trio' manner: stalls with fresh veggies and fruit, stalls with clothing, and stalls with household / miscellaneous items. They differ a  little in size , quality and prices, according to location mainly (for example, the open-air market 'Bajiloni', at the end of the touristy, bohemian cobbled street Skadarlija - its prices are , methinks,  a bit more 'tourist oriented').  

The biggest  of the city markets seems to be 'Kalenic' which is located in the district of St. Sava church and Tesla museum (I went on foot from the museum  along the street which ends at the market;  quite a distance!). 

Bajiloni (in Skadarlija) market entrance (see the green sign)

 market entrance Sign with activity hours of Zeleni Venac

Most of the city markets have a bakery ('pekara' in serbian),cheese and meat shops/or trailers, some fast food eatery, and nearby - a discount supermarket (usually Maxi). 

Zeleni Venac (the oldest) in the heart of the city seen from the outside

miscellaneous items

veggies and fruit stalls

flower stands

When I enter a market I first look for grapes - I'm sickly in love with them. Belgrade markets had a nice supply of both white and black grapes at cheap prices (except the sultanina brand which was more costly).. After  enjoying the sights and  smells of the place, I bought some grapes to fuel my body and soul for the day.

one has to be careful - bag hanging from the neck

Two big markets  - the chinese ('Block 70' on Gagarin street;  big '70' sign over its main entrance), and the somehow isolated market with the outer sign 'Tepih Centar' ( 'tepih' means rug - the sign is probably an ad. for a rug business). These markets, as far as I could see,  sell no agriculture products, only household and clothing stuff. 

I  liked  neither the merchandise (overloaded halls, passages and stalls, which is both exausting and frustrating) nor the atmosphere there. Maybe it was not the right day and time. The Belgrade China Town is closed on tuesdays, I didn't know that and went again the next day. Waste of time; I left empty-handed.

A piquant fact: they say the chinese community in Belgrade is actually a whole chinese village transferred to the serbian capital in the nineties.

exterior of Tepih Centar market seen from the street

The above market, located on a big empty space not far from the Sava river and the Delta City Mall is probably very popular among the locals as it has just about everything one could possibly need (except green, fresh products). For a tourist, with limited time, it's not recommendable. It's discouraging to start looking for some item in such an over dense display of things.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Kalmegedan - Pride of Belgrade

"Start walking along the pedestrian, main shopping street  'Knez Mihailova' in the center of Belgrade;  when you reach its end, cross the street in front of you - and, Voila! you're in the famous park and citadel Kalmegedan". That's exactly what I did.  

Knez Mihailova  pedestrian street

Kalmegedan offers so much, to so many! It offers panoramic views, history, religion, art, fun and leisure - hence its great popularity among all ages!
The place has two zones: lower and upper. Walking paths in both zones make it all accessible and easy.

The lower zone includes main entrance lined with souvenir stalls, toilets, children's  attractions (a dinosaur park), statues, benches, mini wagon train, kiosk, cafe, art exhibition, tennis and basketball grounds near the fortress walls.

mini wagon train waiting for passengers

childrens' dinosaurs little park

kiosk (beverages, cards..)


basketball playground

The variety of serbian souvenirs at the entrance is overwhelming. One could spend   a lot of time  just looking at them.
The park, like the whole city of Belgrade is full of statues. It seems this has to do with former communist regime. In Moscow, I've also noticed a lot of statues erected in honor of  people who played a role in the nation's history.

entrance path lined with souvenir stalls

'loaded'  souvenir stall

statue seen from the entrance path

The upper zone, on the hill - the old fortress, (originally built by the Romans) overlooking the new city and the confluence of Danube and Sava rivers -  layers of walls,  gates / openings, towers - belonging to various time periods;  a military museum, outdoor weaponry display, two little churches, otoman structure, restaurant with terrace, and of course, the famous Victor statue.

to the main gate of the fortress

outdoor weaponry display

otoman structure (closed)

the statue of Victor up the hill

Me, near the piedestal of  'Victor' statue

view of the Danube-Sava rivers confluence


favorite bridge for bride &groom pictures

Despot Stefan tower

After my visit at Kalmegedan,  I regretted  not taking a wagon train ride (the little  train was with parents and kids, and I thought it will distract me from looking around.. Foolish thought, although I do tend to lose my head when in contact with cute kids).
Anyway, Kalmegedan is a place one would gladly visit again.

train on the move

Thursday, October 25, 2018

'St .Sava' and ' Sukkat Shalom'

If and when I visit a church  it's for its history, art, and architecture mainly, not for religious purposes, as I'm of jewish faith.  
In Belgrade, I visited both a famous orthodox church (St. Sava) and the only active synagogue in town (Sukkat Shalom). They say, during the WW2, the church was used by the Nazis as a parking lot, and the synagogue as a brothel.(OMG!).

The serbian St.Sava Temple, not far from the Slavija square mentioned in my previous post,  merits all the high epithets available in the vocabulary: amazing, mind-blowing, stunning, spectacular, breath-taking...

Temple of Saint Sava

the main entrance area

It's big, and  a work in progress ; the galeries on the first level are still under renovation process; the dome and downstairs crypt are already finished and provide the visitor with much wonder and excitement.

Such richness of structure, vivid colors, fiery lights and fine materials (marble, granite, stone, crystal, gold)!
Such beauty of frescoes, murals, icons!

marble columns

gorgeous candelabre

superb arches and floor

people contemplating the paintings

My small, rudimentary digital camera cannot do justice to the sights inside and outside this gem.


arch above exit from the crypt

   stairs leading to upper level


The church is surrounded by a lovely, peaceful garden with fountains and benches.

sitting on the edge of the fountain

On my way out, I noticed  the statue of Nicola Tesla in the church yard. I liked that very much. A scientist honoured in the courtyard of a church!!
After all ,science and religion are not the best of pals.

statue of Nicola Tesla in the church garden

During my brief stay in Belgrade, I got the impression that Nicola Tesla (1858-1943) is probably the most beloved and respected figure in Serbia. The airport is named after him, there's a  museum (in the same area as the church) dedicated to his life and work as an inventor, researcher, engineer, physicist; there are monuments in the city honoring his memory, and more...

museum Nicola Tesla

Compared to the 'St.Sava' church, 'Sukkat Shalom' (Dwelling of Peace ) synagogue is very modest . Still,  nice building and yard, beautiful interior. On the day of my visit, people in the courtyard were disassembling the 'sukka'  ( the hut-like structure in use during the jewish Sukkot holiday week).

The synagogue building is not only a place of worship but also one  of study and of community meetings, as it also houses the jewish community center with its various cultural and social activities. 

approaching the  gate

  tiny yellow sign with the name of the synagogue

beautiful iron gate with David's shield in the middle

building's top with a David's shield, seen from the outside

exterior of the synagogue ( entrance covered by the trees)

 prayer hall: upper balcony for women

'Aron Hakodesh'  - Torah scrolls closet

Despite the fact that the synagogue and the little, well kept, very interesting jewish museum (placed on another street) are centrally located, I haven't spotted them easily as they are kind of integrated with the rest of the buildings in the row, with no visible signage. I've also felt slightly bitter about the security measures at the entrance. One can freely visit a church or a mosque, but not a synagogue or a jewish institution.

captive women (jewish museum)

Moses and the 10 commandements (jewish museum)

And yet, there was something that made my day. On the way to the synagogue there's a small eatery with a big sign Tel Aviv Hummus House. It's a popular place for those who love  falafel, hummus, tahini and other middle eastern food. The visible yellow and blue sign , and the popularity of the place (open 24/7) are the best answer to terror threats and security measures.

Tel - Aviv Hummus House