In our new column Meet a local we present interesting individuals from different professional fields living in Belgrade. The idea is to get to know some locals and their favorite neighborhoods and venues in the city.
Please introduce yourself to our readers:
I’m Aleksandra Popovic, a violinist, a member of RTS Symphony Orchestra and the founder and member of Wonder Strings – string quartet whose goal is the popularization of classical music by playing instrumental arrangements of well-known pop, rock, tango and latin songs, but also world music. I also like to write about different topics related to music, write musical arrangements for strings and organize and manage everything around Wonder Strings.
Has there been a new project lately?
I’m on vacation right now, but I never stop working. I’m working on a big project with my string quartet and I hope it’s going to be very interesting for our fans. In addition, I’m making plans for our new recordings of original world music and applying to various festivals around the globe.
What do you like about Belgrade?
This is the easiest question. I like the fact that when I go to work by foot (it takes about 45 min) I usually meet at last 10 people I know. The fact that I can walk at night, at 2,3 or 4 am and that I feel safe. The city is “alive” all the time and I can easily meet people that I need for my job.
Where do you like to go out?
I used to go out a lot when I was younger. I love underground places with good music. Nowadays, I work a lot, however my job is very exciting and it feels like a constant night out. I play not only classical music, but also pop and rock and as my friends noticed “I’m actually out at work”. Each week there are so many gigs in Belgrade and I can pick whatever I prefer. The place I enjoy most is called Strogi Centar in 43 Jevremova St. The club is situated in an old, very interesting house on Dorcol and has quite amazing interior design. The walls were painted by the owner in an unusual style. There are live gigs every weekend and people can listen to different music genres- soul, funk, jazz, rock, indie…..People who come to those gigs are very friendly, and the crowd is made of foreigners as well. Prices are affordable too.
Name 3 of your favorite restaurants in the city?
Only 3…..Frans – Belgrade classic. Cubura – Vracar’s classic, Ambar – modern version of Balkan cuisine, Tri-cities’ hidden gem, Fish & Zelenis at the riverfront
Where do you drink coffee?
Usually at home because I drink only morning coffee and it’s my ritual. But when I’m tired and in need for coffee I like to drink it in a place called Koffein in Uskočka street.
Where do you spend your free time?
When I’m free on the weekends I like to spend time in the nature, especially on Belgrade’s rivers. I like walking with my daughter along the rivers, riding a bike and rollerblading. I also like to visit Ada lake and take a walk from old the Railway bridge to Zemunski Quay, or from Belgrade fortress over 25th May and up to the Belgrade Waterfront.
Name your 3 favorite locations in Belgrade and justify your choice
Kalenić pijaca (open air green market) – this place is always crowded and full of life. Colors of fruits and vegetables are so appealing especially during spring and autumn. If you dig deep, you can find whatever you want there. Njegoseva street is just around the corner and it’s full of bars and coffee shops. It’s a place where locals from Vracar like to hang out. For me it’s one of the most beautiful avenues in the city.
Kosančićev venac is a place where I can feel history under my feet. It’s so quiet and peaceful and has a wonderful view to the river. I find it simply magical at night.
Karađorđev park – also located in Vračar. I grew up there so that’s the place I love most. There used to be an old church, but it was demolished and it was forbidden to enter. We as children loved the secret and forbidden things so we entered the old church and often played there. Now there is a new church at that place – the temple of Saint Sava next to the big park and the National library.
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.