Going underground in Belgrade.
Today we decided to do all the bits that we couldn’t do as part of the walking tour. We wanted to have Burek for breakfast and wandered for ages trying to find a bakery! We had seen loads the previous days but now we were actively seeking one out they were hiding! Finally we found one and got huge buttery, cheesy Bureks washed down with a coffee. They were worth the wait!
We found ourselves near the Hotel Moscow and it was around midday so we went in for the recommended cake. We both got walnut inspired traditional cream cakes and they were amazing. The design inside the hotel was beautiful and we felt quite posh sat there. The orange juice was also yummy.
Once we had finished off the cake we went over to Kalemegdan park again. Walking through the fortress we found out that before the Romans had settled there they had to conquer the Celts that had built the first fortress; Singidunum.
We noticed you could climb one of the towers so up we went and we were greeted with great views out over the City and surrounding areas.
I don’t know whether it was because it was Easter or it’s usual but there was loads going on in the park and fortress. Sarah had a go at archery and we found a random dinosaur park! You can also find Belgrade military museum in one of the outer walls. It was nice to get a bit more time to wander around this area as it was beautiful.
From the vantage points around the park we could see the bridge that people partied on during the NATO bombing. It started off as people holding up giant target signs and standing on the bridge to ensure it wouldn’t be bombed and soon turned into party central every night. It’s a real testament to human spirit and we loved hearing that story.
We had decided to do another tour today, this time a paid one visiting some underground elements of Belgrade. We soon found ourselves back at the republic square, we met up with the guide and it turned out there was only one other person on the tour.
We found ourselves being questioned quite a lot on our existing Belgrade knowledge as we walked back up towards Kalemegdan park. After being told about the monument honouring France’s assistance in WW1 we arrived at our first underground stop…the Roman well that is neither Roman, nor a well!
The ‘well’ was actually thought to be built by the Austrians in 1700/1800s and it’s notoriety comes from it’s use as a dungeon. Although it’s more likely that prisoners were thrown down the shaft and left to die. We could wander around the upper level but the staircase leading down the outside of the well is closed.
It’s pretty cool being underground but it would be better if the whole thing was open. We heard a rumour while we were there that they’re thinking of opening up a lot more of the underground sites in Belgrade.
The second location on the tour was Tito’s bunker. Tito was the 1st president of communist Yugoslavia after WW2. He was the leader of the partisans, a rebel group against the Nazis. Once in his role as leader he made an enemy in Stalin and built these bunkers across the Balkans in fear of a strike against him from the East but also possibly the West.
The bunker was mainly designed for a few men with Tito getting his own personal room. It wasn’t a huge place but it was interesting to learn about the history a bit more.
We walked around the whole place, guessing what certain rooms were and seeing where they would have had anti-aircraft machinery kept.
The next spot on our list was an old gunpowder store. Located at the bottom of the hill that Belgrade fortress sits upon, it’s a huge open cave that was turned into a nightclub in the 90s during the war. With gum all over the floor and graffiti on old Roman ruins, there was even an old stone tomb that was used to keep drinks in and an old stone table where the DJ played.
This place was used as a museum before the nightclub and now still holds music concerts, just maybe not quite as wild as before. Sarah couldn’t believe the historical pieces were left there when the club was around!
The final stop was a bar in an old cave under the hill, on the way was a famous piece of street art.
It represents peace, war growth and struggle in Serbia which after spending a few days here and learning some more of tge history we could understand. In the chilly cave we tried some Serbian white wine which was lovely, and played a traditional Easter game. Our guides had brought some hard boiled eggs and we had to try and crack each others eggs, whoever won got the eggs. Our guide won overall and was really happy about it, but it was nice to sit in a cave chatting to Serbians about a range of things.
That was the end of the tour! It was really interesting and we had a lot of fun doing something a bit different. After all the walking we were starving, one of the guides had recommended pljeskavica…basically a burger but huge and with your choice of toppings. Think like five guys but far tastier and better value.
It was amazing, exactly what we needed. We got it from a small place near republic square where we could sit down outside. We ordered ours with a big lump of cheese and all the trimmings!
We absolutely devoured it before heading to Casablanca, a film themed pub on Skadarlija. I watched the football and we played some heads up, the barman also looked like Serbia’s most famous export…tennis player Novak Djokovic. Loving food like we do, we got pizza later on and went back to the hostel with a few beers to keep us going. Tomorrow we were off to Novi Sad for our last proper day of travelling!