Photo by Micikitis
Zemun, a city within the city. For locals it represents a separate place, and for the other people from Belgrade, it is a part of the city. Zemun is actually one of Belgrade’s most culturally significant and urban municipalities. That feeling of Zemun today is a direct result of its past. Until XIX century, Zemun was a town in Austrian Empire (Habsburg Monarchy) while Belgrade was under the Ottomans, which explains why cultural differences have survived between the two. Zemun, grew out of a commercial town that set on the border between the Turkish and Habsburg domains. What is obvious at first sight are dominant colorful facades and more western architecture in the Zemun downtown. But the differences with Belgrade are more than architectural. Zemun has always been a place with multinational and multi-confessional commercial society. It used to be the main customs checkpoint on the road from east to west.
If you would prefer to get to know Yugoslav modern architecture in New Belgrade and Zemun we suggest booking bike tours Bike & Beach and even better Zemun & New Belgrade
Photo by Micikitis
In 1918. Zemun became part of newly-made Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Zemun lies on three hills, Ćukovac, Kalvarija and Gardoš. The most famous one, Gardoš, used to be a fisherman part of town and even today there can be seen some nets, and equipment along its steep cobbled streets, and colorful ground houses. Gardoš can be compared to Monmartre, or to Belgrade Skadarlija, with the Millenium tower on the top of this hill, and kafanas as a main symbol of night life for this part of the city.
Photo by David Pujado
Zemun’s quay is located alongside the right bank of the Danube. It is the most visited waterfront in Belgrade, connecting New Belgrade and Zemun Danube coasts. Quay is a place for fun and relaxation. The coast is long for about 2,5 km which makes it perfect for walking, running, cycling, rollerblading… Zemun’s quay is home to few marinas, even a hostels floating on Danube, the formerly glorious Yugoslavia hotel, and Zemun old town is nearby. Offer of bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants on quay is big. Most of them are rafts/pontons (splavovi) on the water. There are a lot of options depending on your taste and budget, some are casual and some feeling more like a posh restaurants than a rafts.
Rafts Savana and Marina Sv. Nikola are very popular among the locals. Very informal, and cozy places for drinking coffee, tea, or beer and chiling on the sun with the view over Danube and nearby isles. Settled in front of the amusement park on the quay and not far away from hotel Yugoslavia, they are very easy to be found. Both rafts are pet friendly.
African ambient is present in Savana. Mostly everything is made out of the wood, and it’s decorated with some African masks and details. This place is perfect for first morning coffee, but also for late night drink with friends, featuring the sounds of jazz, soul, blues. Savana has its own dog named Marta. She either lazy resting or playing with guests dogs.
Address: Kej oslobodjenja 2
Marina Sv. Nikola is more alternative place. It is also a marina for the boats. Maybe it is not the most attractive place on quay at the first site, but the positive, relaxing atmosphere is very attractive for playing card games or yamb on the dock, or just sun gazing and relaxing and enjoying the river. It is not the lonely scene seeing people how drink beer from early morning (I love to say, a little bit of Berlin in Belgrade ) with the sound of funk, rap, hip hop, RnB in background. Also free picado inside the raft is very popular among the guests, especially during the winter time. On the weekend live bands play the best rock, pop and funk hits all night.
Address: Kej oslobodjenja 1a
Crveni rak (Red crab) is a small, cozy, hideout place crowded with locals, offering a nice selection of beer and occasionally live music. There are few places similar to this one in Belgrade, but Crveni rak is definitely unique. As locals would say “it has a soul”, and represents the other house for the specific local crew! It also attracts people from all around the city. Music is mostly mainstream rock and blues, sometimes jazz. Live performances during the weekend. Red walls filled with old, black and white photos and space full of old furniture pieces and many different objects and memorabilia remind on some European pubs. There is only six or seven tables there, plus bar of course, and during the night finding a place to sit can be very hard, and taking reservations on weekend nights could solve this problem. It is a romantic place, with possibility to sit on the huge window benches, with little simpatique curtains, and sharing a place with your lover while drinking some wine and smoking a cigarette! If you’re in need of a warm place with tea/coffee or beer,rakija.. check out Crveni rak. Crveni rak is tucked among the small Zemun streets, but it is still in the center of Zemun and about 50 meters away from quay, and it is nearby the famous Zemun market. So Saturday morning after shopping vegetables, meat or flowers, take some rest and grab some time for drinking coffee and reading newspaper in Crveni rak.
Address: Beogradska 14
In a pedestrian area in the Zemun center, during 2014 one more Rakia bar opens its doors. It brings a totally new spirit to Zemun. As their concept is presentation of Serbian traditional drink, rakija, in new and modern direction, this bar fits in the Magistarski trg street,- an old and historical part. Beside over 50 different tastes of rakia, in this bar are prepared special sorts of coffee, in corporation with famous cafeteria Pžionica.
Rakia offer goes from over 50 different flavors, ranging from the traditional to the unusual plum brandy bananas, blueberries, called hawthorn blossom and others. They are particularly proud of brandy with honey and aromatic and medicinal herbs such as mint, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, and anise and cardamom and others. Definitely worth of trying!
Address: Magistarski trg 10
Girl from Zemun!
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.