I call it Old Belgrade neighborhoods, primary to make a distinction with New Belgrade. This city area is clearly related to the part of Belgrade on the right bank of Sava river.
From one side New Belgrade constructed during the socialist era with the network of blocks (blokovi), maintaining its Brutalist architecture feel. On the side of Danube river, stands Zemun always considered, a town of its own.
Belgrade city has an dual character. Sava river divides the city in two halves: the old heart of the city and the new part. In the old one first settlement had its origin between 50,000 and 20,000 years ago.
Thanks to its strategic location at the confluence of the Saba and Danube rivers, this part had a very turbulent history. It was demolished to the ground 44 times.
A guide to Old Belgrade Neighborhoods
No matter how you are coming to Belgrade, the only way to enter the city core is by crossing one of the bridges. There are five bridges over Sava river. All connect New Beograd with Stari Beograd.
Brankov most (bridge) is the most famous bridge in Belgrade, the one that connects the old center with the New Belgrade center. All tourist tour should start here.
Although, the city of Belgrade consists of 17 municipalities, for tourists only few of them will be ‘must to be visited’. Tourists prefer to visit, only those in the very heart of the Serbian capital, where its vibe can be felt to the fullest.
Stari Grad municipality - the essence of the city
Old town known as Stari grad is a historical and the oldest area of Belgrade. Here you can find main Belgrade attractions. In particular, this is the area of famous pedestrian street Knez Mihailova, The Republic square, Belgrade fortress and Skadarlija, bohemian quarter.
Stari Grad is a municipality of the city of Belgrade. It covers some of the oldest sections of urban Belgrade. For this reason , gets its name ‘stari grad’, Serbian for “old city”).
Stari Grad is one of the three municipalities that occupy the very center of Belgrade, together with Savski Venac and Vracar.
Stari Grad municipality hides two particularly old and interesting district. The first one is Dorćol, that begins from Kalemegdan fortress all the way to the right bank of the Danube.
The second one is Kosančićev Venac. Practically, it’s the oldest section of Belgrade outside the walls of the ‘Kalemegdan’ fortress.
If you are looking something different to fascinate your curiosity, Dorcol is at the top of old Belgrade neighborhoods. Don’t miss to read how theculturetrip.com describes this old district.
Gornji (Upper Dorcol) stretches from Studentski trg (Student Square) to the Cara Dusana street (King Dusan street). Donji (Lower Dorcol) occupies the part between Cara Dusana street and Bulevar despota Stefana street including the right bank of the Danube.
During the Turkish occupation of Belgrade, Dorćol was a renowned trading center, with many markets and traders of different nationalities. It was a center of Belgrade’s Jewish community. Even today exists Jevrejska (Jewish) street in Dorćol. Discover Belgrade’s Jewish history with an art historian guide!
Dorćol has its particular charms. Though, some old low houses and narrow streets were changed into modern buildings, still some parts, resemble the old look.
Some streets in Lower Dorcol, such as Cetinska street has become Belgraders new hot spot. Cetinjska area is newest hipsters place in Belgrade, that started to develop since 2016. It is located next to the Skadarlija Bohemian quarter.
Kosančićev venac (wreath) is a small district inside Stari Grad (Old Town) municipality. It’s practically the oldest section of Belgrade outside the walls of the “Kalemegdan” fortress.
It extends from Kalemegdan fortress and overlooks the port on the Sava river, bordering with Savamala neighborhood.
The whole area holds some of the oldest Serbian buildings. Some of them represent , the most important place in cultural and spiritual life of the city.
- Residence of the Princess Ljubica.
- The Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel.
- The seat of Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
- Znak Pitanja (Question mark) the oldest kafana (restaurant) in Belgrade.
- Manifaktura restoran – If you want to try real local food, this is the place to go.
The name Savamala comes from the name of the Sava river and ‘mahala’, the Turkish word for neighbourhood or block of houses. The heart of Savamala district is Karadjordjeva street. It stretches from Kalemegdan fortress walls all the way to Old Belgrade Railway Station.
Vračar is the smallest of 17 Belgrade’s municipalities. With an area of only 297 hectares this municipality is the most densely populated. In addition to its central location, it has the highest real estate prices.
This Belgrade district houses several most important Belgrade’s highlights. Sometimes to get to know one area, the best way is to trust the locals who live there.
In Cvetni Trg you will probably visit a popular cafe and cocktail bar called Vesele Domacice (Cheerful Housewives). It’s a place where people come for a coffee and also for incredibly famous housemade cocktails.