Flea markets in Belgrade represent spots that showcase artifacts that are either consequence of Gypsy economy (collected on landfills or dumps) or vintage and second-hand trade. People usually sell stuff they no longer need. Prices vary depending on what you are buying and you can always bargain with a seller. There are three of them: in Zemun (open on Sundays), Kalenić in Vračar (small but open every day) and flea market in Bubanj potok (open on Saturdays)
The art of shopping in Belgrade flea markets is not particularly difficult if you have a clear vision what you want. Otherwise, chaos and lack of systematization will turn you into Sisyphus who whirls in circles. For people as vintage lovers, hipsters, artists, designers, photographers flea markets continue to be a place where shopping becomes a statement about diversity; places for finding inspiration or modern cabinets of curiosities.
I like taking photos of socially marginalized people and places. It’s like lifting the carpet from the image of itself that a society wants to preserve. After lifting the carpet, one can always find a beautiful and exotic flourishing world. Flee markets are perfect examples of such world full of authentic and interesting individuals who are usually the main protagonists in my works , says photographer and architect Sanda Vitorović.
You can buy items ranging from wardrobe, fashion, cars, furniture to chocolates and nutella jars with old expiration date. The pearls of flea markets are various pieces of art decor furniture and accessories, vintage clocks, retro-pop items manufactured in the former Yugoslavia, communist memorabilia related to the cult of Tito, badges and military objects.
The chances of finding some work of art is not great, but don’t exclude the possibility of surprise, especially in the domain of the Yugoslav modern. Records are highly in demand with a return of analog, from ex you musicians to foreign rock and disco. For those who have skipped some interesting decades in Yugoslav publishing should try digging through piles of books or magazines from the 30’s to the 70’s that can provide quite unexpected conclusions about the culture and lifestyle of that time. If you are searching for old photographs or some stupid painting Belgrade flea markets are the right choice. Cheap second-hand branded clothes, leather jackets and boots, grandma’s jewelry and old teapots are just one part of the “treasure hunt” …..
Vintage is my inspiration, my lifestyle and the main reason I like visiting flea markets around the globe. One can always find a bunch of interesting items here which are not exhibited anywhere else, says Bojana Bošnjački owner of the first vintage shop in Belgrade.
Photos: Sanda Vitorovic
Dragana Kostica is the Belgrade-based editor in chief and founder of Still in Belgrade art, culture and club scene magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Management in Arts (MA of Arts) and a Bachelor degree in Archaeology.