Why Belgrade is called White City?

Do you know, why Belgrade is called White City? Belgrade original name is Beograd. The name consists of two words.

The first one, ‘beo’ in Serbian means ‘white’. The second part, ‘grad’ refers to ‘city or town’.

If we examine its name in other languages, we can see that in English name ‘Belgrade’ has a close link to its original name. First three letters of the name ‘Bel’ means (Beli – white in Serbian). The rest ‘grad’ means (city).

Analysing Belgrade name in Italian, BELGRADO, the first three words ‘Bel’ refers more to abbreviation of word ‘bello – beautiful’ but not to ‘white’. There is no doubt that Belgrade is beautiful city!

Why Belgrade is called White City

The word ‘white’ in Belgrade name links  to Kalemegdan fortress. There are two important elements, that contributed  to this name.

The first one, was a material of which it was built. The second, but no less important, is its position.

Built on the ridges that dominated over the confluence of two rivers, Sava and Danube’ was clearly visible from  the distance. 

The material of white limestones of witch the fortress was built, contributed to even clearer visibility.

From the first written sources mention of the Slovenian name Belgrade (Beli Grad) dates from 878 A.D. As  a Roman settlement, named Singidunum.  The first part of the word, Singi means ’round’ and ‘dunum’ means ‘fortress’ or ‘town’.

This is the only known explanation of Belgrade’s name so far!.

Belgrade names through history

For more than two thousand years old history, Belgrade has changed various names. Read more about Belgrade history!

From Singidunum, Alba Graeca, Alba Bulgarica, Taurunum, Darul Jihad, Griechenchinch Wiessenburgh, Nandor Fehervar to Beograd. 

All of these names bear witness of the great wars and battles that have taken place on this area. But, the name Belgrade (White City) has remained!


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