Introduction to Belgrade

Belgrade hurtles toward the world stage, openly lauded for electrifying concerts, an elastic nightlife and a welcoming culture of hospitality. You won’t find a friendlier people this side of the Adriatic Sea. They love to drink, they’re always laughing and the clubs won’t close until 4am – Belgrade really has it all figured out.

A cool character on the European trail, Belgrade hides a history of phantoms beneath its bedazzled, rollicking surface. The site of many conflicts and hostile takeovers, the city has passed between the Celts, the Romans, the Ottomans and Communists, and weathered entire regimes - it bears its battle wounds proudly. Belgrade has become an experimental chaos, combining camera-worthy architecture with subtle signs that Serbia is ready to move on and let go, but never forget.

From Knez Mihailova to Belgrade Fortress, the union of what is and what was is ever present. The Exit Festival booms every year, rocking Roman foundations as Turkish ramparts teem with a crowd of music fans. The Church of Saint Sava is stuck in a holding pattern, slowly moving forward, tile by tile; a bright facade against an empty hall. And the Sava and Danube rivers flow as they always have, the only constant presence in a city once torn between revolution and submission. Look around, Ottoman relics are everywhere.

The real Belgrade is a shadow, a party, a nightclub, your first spritzer on a river barge, dancing under the moonlight. With a population of 1.7 million people and an overwhelming stream of tourists, Belgrade is whatever you need it to be.

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