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:
Hello, my name is Ivan, but many close friends call me Ajdar, by the nickname that I got after my last name. I’ve been exploring the city for more than a decade in terms of culture and hedonism.
However, this exploration is not limited to Belgrade only, since I am also curious about stories from the region which did not get the deserved attention. Judging by the people’s reactions I found out that locals are in general thirsty for more content.
Has there been a new project lately?
Recently I give myself a project to discover as much as I can about places that are around 1-hour drive from Belgrade. My conclusion is that it’s difficult to imagine how many times visitors can get surprised by some genuine places, and their offer and how locals don’t know anything about them and these places are here just “around the corner”.
The idea is to explore places with a certain historical, cultural and natural value, as well as search for a hidden culinary scene.
What do you like about Belgrade?
I love Belgrade since there often are venues and events to explore if you are curious enough. In my mind, Belgrade consists of people and things who wait to be discovered. Usually, there are “mainstream or most popular” places, which one can easily notice, but for the real treasure, one should “dig” a little. I often notice how many people from the city really believe in their visions and how they brought their passions to a higher level, regardless of circumstances that usually don’t seem to go in their favor.
Where do you like to go out?
I really used to go out a lot for a decade, but when I entered my 30s I slowed down a bit.
Now I rarely go out, but when it happens I pick places where I can enjoy culture and art.
The first that comes to my mind are live music events at the Bitef, or the Soul society club.
I would also like to mention Belgrade market, Vila Maska, Lemon Cili, and Polet.
But in the last 2 years, I am more oriented to less noisy events, usually associated with food, wines, and history. So I regularly visit Ukus fest, Nocni market, Wine jam or places where you can listen to lectures on the history of Belgrade and its notable citizens. Maybe the most positive surprise was the Wine jam that was held in the Botanical garden some time ago. As well, I feel sorry for places like Share square which has been closed for some time. It was really unique initiative.
Name 3 of your favorite restaurants in the city?
Hanan, Mezze dvoriste and Piazza( also I’ve to express regret for Mala fabrika ukusa restaurant)
Where do you drink coffee?
There are other drinks I prefer more than coffee, but I enjoy domestic coffee chains such as Kafeterija ( was more fan of Aviator but they are merged now). I think Aviator had really tried to offer something that can satisfy even people with the most demanding taste. I’m an avid tea drinker, so I can recommend Apropo tea house, next to Kafeterija (or Aviator).
Whenever I prefer to have some more “private atmosphere” I drop by Filter at Banovo brdo.
Speaking about Banovo brdo, the good thing is to start the day with coffee on Ski staza (ski-run). This venue is unique due to its stunning view of the city.
Where do you spend your leisure time?
I’m not connected with a particular part of the city, and since I became a driver I prefer to spend my time in all quarters of Belgrade.
Also, I’m a dog owner, and I prefer to spend time in nature. There I usually find peace from the city bustle and I’m able to hear my thoughts without being interrupted. So I like places such as Kosutnjak, and especially Zvezdarska suma (forest) because it’s closer to the place where I live.
The botanical garden is also a real treasure.
As well I’m a fan of cinemas such as Kinoteka, Zvezda, Kolarac, and DKC.
I am happy to live in a city where movie lovers can find those kinds of cinemas. In general, Belgrade has a rich cultural offer and it’s a shame that some events, venues, and even people did not get the attention that they deserve.
Name your 3 favorite locations in Belgrade and justify your choice.
Museum of Yugoslavia. I discovered that venue in 2015 and it was love at first sight. It is not overcrowded and I find it just beautiful. The most beautiful fountain is there. Then the museum and the view from the square are also nice. The museum is surrounded by a beautiful park, houses, and embassies. Also, there is a beautiful park called Hyde much larger than other parks in Belgrade.
A restaurant named after that park also adequately fits the surrounding, there you can have either a drink or a meal. I am not the only one who discovered the potential of this city quarter, since from recently you can attend concerts or even cinema events right there.
As well, I like Zemunski kej and Gardos. It is a really nice location to walk next to the river and then climb to the top of the tower. That walk takes you through really unique architecture so it’s easy to imagine yourself in some different period of time.
For the third place, I can’t choose only one, but I can choose things that connect different parts of Belgrade. I believe that Belgrade used to be a more appealing city before WWII and that the most beautiful buildings were built at the beginning of the 20th century. So I would choose the parts of the city where architecture is still preserved in some way. The neighborhood of Kosancicev venac- where you can take a walk through the oldest buildings in Belgrade, catch the view of the river and see ruins of the National library which in some way symbolizes the destiny of Belgrade. Next to Kosancicev venac I enjoy (because of the architecture from the same period) Vracar neighborhood; Neimar and; Profesorska kolonija – where you can still see how family houses used to look before WWII.
To sum up, my beliefs are that true values can never be outdated, so I love to recognize that in the urban landscape of the city where I live.