First urban plans that envisioned expansion of Belgrade to the left bank of the Sava river were made in 1923, but the lack of resources and manpower for drying wetlands postponed the whole process for indefinite time. In order to meet the needs of a growing population which occurred due to migration and high birth rates, the main goal of the New Belgrade project was from the very start to build as many buildings as soon as possible. The city on the left bank of the Sava river was conceived as a residential but also as an administrative center of the new Yugoslavia, and it was supposed to become, metaphorically, the embodiment of new social relations. Over time, New Belgrade evolved into a completely ‘culture’.Our pocket guide aims to present some cool places that will be worth your while.
Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade (MoCAB)
Unlike other contemporary and modern art museums around the world, MoCAB is in the building designed at the beginning of 60s, dating back to the time of former SFR Yugoslavia. This unique architectural masterpiece was made exclusively for the needs of Yugoslav contemporary art back in the days,and was opened to the public on the 20th of October 1965. The architects Ivan Antić and Ivanka Raspopović won the most prestigious Yugoslav award for architecture that year and the building has ever since remained one of the landmarks of high modernist architecture of socialist Yugoslavia.
Read more about the museum here.
West Gate of Belgrade– Geneks Tower
The construction of Geneks Tower, the tallest building in Belgrade located right next to the highway, lasted for 10 years. It was designed by architect Mihajlo Mitrović. His most significant building, built using modern building techniques, was symbolically named West Gate of Belgrade (one of the most famous buildings in brutalism style, Reynor Banham also associated the term with Art Brut and Le Corbusier’s béton brut, meaning raw concrete in French).
The building was functionally and physically divided into two towers, commercial and residential. A circular restaurant was built at the top of the building, but the equipment for the rotation was never installed.The total height of the building is 124 m, the higher tower (intended for housing) has 30 floors and a total of 184 apartments, and the commercial tower (closer to the highway) has 39 floors.
Unfortunately, the commercial tower and the restaurant aretoday completely out of order. It is unbelievable that this tourist potential (a unique perspective for viewing the city), which would certainly attract both tourists and Belgrade residents themselves, remains empty.
SIV Palace (Palace of Serbia)
The Federal Executive Council (SIV) is one of the three firstly built facilities in New Belgrade, and it was completed in 1962 after several years of work. The construction of the building, in block 13, began by following the winning competition design in classical style by the architect Vladimir Potočnjak and his architectural team from Zagreb. However, the building was completed following the project of the architect Mihajlo Jankovićin the spirit of international style of architecture and today it is considered an important example of the Yugoslav post-war architecture.
The first conference of the Non-Aligned movement in Belgrade
was held in the newly opened building of SIV, which was, at that time, the most
beautiful and the most authentic modern space in the country.
The building had 956 working rooms, 79 halls and ceremonial
rooms, 91 utility room and two garages. Six main halls symbolically represent
the six states of the former Yugoslavia, and the interior design was supposed
to express the power, size and stability of the then new Yugoslavia.
Today, this is an administrative building which hosts
several ministries, some governmental bodies, a few institutions and a lot of administration.
Block 45-Mecca of Belgrade Graffiti & Street Art Scene
Belgrade graffiti and street arts scene emerged in the mid 80’s. Decision-makers from municipalities and city festivals planned to make the city more creative, colorful and interesting. Together they commissioned murals from famous local and foreign artists. This initiative led to the popularization of the street art in Belgrade. At the same time Fantastic Boys or RCC (Rap City Crew) popped up as the first Belgrade-based graffiti crew and inspired the work of Miša (later known as Jens), who is now the longest serving street artist of Belgrade having created his first work back in 1988. At that time, graffiti mostly served to make humorous comments about local culture, with a focus on music bands, sport teams or some personal love stories. During the 90’s Belgrade was struck by culture and economic crisis, which caused the initiative of commissioning murals to stop until the mid-2000. Then the scene bloomed in Belgrade’s Blok 45 and the block became an epicenter of Belgrade graffiti. Anonymous Graffiti Crew popped up in 1996, and their leaders were Jens and Cobes. AGC were influenced by early 90’s Parisian graffiti artists, and their work was simple lettering and forms in characteristic color silver and a black frame. Using less colors made the art affordable and the popularity of this style slowly rose.
Oliva is a popular vegetarian restaurant, where Novak Djokovic is a regular, and is situated in the neighborhood of New Belgrade. It offers healthy food with vegetarian and fish dishes mixed with local wines and must try cheese. Interior design is a mix of modern and rustic. When it’s sunny outside, guests can enjoy the atmosphere of the lovely green garden.
Address: Omladinskih brigade 86, New Belgrade
One of the most popular restaurants for children, families and people working in big corporations located in New Belgrade is definitely Pizza bar. Here, you can try Italian cuisine with a touch of American and International specialties. Dough melting in the mouth, delicious flavors and cozy interior, what more would you like?!
Address: Bulevar Mihaila Pupina 165v, New Belgrade
Iconic Belgrade splav (river raft) is located on the banks of the Sava river. It works all year round, regardless of the weather conditions. This is my favorite place to go clubbing, especially in the summer season when the dance madness kicks off on the boat deck. The raft offers stunning music selection ranging from Detroit techno and soulful to disco, funky,house and dub step. 20/44 hosts one of the best clubbing nights in Belgrade, called Disco not Disco featuring local stars DJ Brka, Toshke, Schwabe and other special guests. During the summer months the splav offers a wonderful view of the old city and bridge at night, when all the lights are on. In the morning hours you can catch one of Belgrade’s breath taking sunrises. Over the winter, parties are held under the deck, where it’s warm and cozy no matter how cold it is outside. The atmosphere is always super sexy: red lights, a few screens and lots of smoke. Boat 20/44 hosts the best local DJs and also world famous stars such as Detroit techno-master Mike Huckaby and trendsetter Peggy Gou. The crowd is friendly and relaxed. The entrance fee is between 2 and 8 euros, and drinks are quite affordable.
Address: Usce BB, 11000 Belgrade
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.