Serbia 4

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The new edition of my Serbia guide is published today. It’s fully updated, of course, with revised text and lots of new listings, especially for Belgrade, a city that despite considerable setbacks seems to drive itself forever onwards and upwards. Here’s a snippet from the new edition that describes a possible future development for the Serbian capital. It looks quite remarkable (although probably hugely expensive too).

A ZAHA HADID DEVELOPMENT FOR KALEMEGDAN?

A large plot of land between Kalemegdan Fortress and the Dorćol riverfront is currently awaiting development. Originally owned by Beko, a company that went bankrupt, the land has been bought by Lamda development, a Greek company that is part of a holding company with EFG Bank and EKI Petrol. The Greek company approached the studio of Zaha Hadid to come up with a project for the land and the Iraqi-British architect has come up with a stunning plan for the development: a sweeping modernist design that connects with the surrounding landscape and incorporates essential public spaces and public transition between the fortress and the riverfront. At the time of writing, the proposed project was still awaiting public review (www.beobuild.rs). The design can be seen on line at: http://www.zaha-hadid.com/architecture/beko-masterplan.

Belgrade’s not a stranger to developments that never quite get off the ground. Here’s another snippet from the Belgrade chapter of Serbia 4:

GOING UNDERGROUND – THE METRO THAT NEVER WAS

At the edge of Ćirila i Metodija Park in the city centre, under the whiskery gaze of Vuk Karadžić whose statue graces the western corner, are several entrances that lead down to what appears to be an underpass. But there is more to this than you might imagine: this is the location for the only station on Belgrade’s metro. The station, known simply as Vukov Spomenik (‘Vuk’s Statue’) was to be part of an underground system that never came to fruition, and which, as things turned out, ended up being one of the city’s biggest white elephants. It was built during the Milošević period in 1995 as the first component of what would be a comprehensive underground network but the turn of events in Serbia in the late 1990s resulted in the country having far more pressing needs than that of a highly expensive underground railway. The part that was completed is well worth seeing, even if it is a bit surreal. A number of entrances lead down to a stylish atrium in brushed steel from where escalators plummet down further to the platform. The station has since found use as a stop on the Beovoz line that plies between Zemun and Pančevo and a few shops have opened for business in the atrium.

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13 Replies to “Serbia 4”

  1. Congratulations, Laurence. A book with little or no competition, I’m sure, as demonstrated by this being its 4th outing. Your description of the Metro that never was is typically evocative. Wishing you continued success with it – Duncan

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words, Duncan. Congratulations to you, too, for your ever expanding ‘Only In’ series. I like to think that I have a hint of the ‘Only In’ approach and philosophy in the city sections of Bradt Serbia. ‘Only In Novi Sad’ – now there’s a thought!

    1. Absolutely you do. And I think that’s part of what sets Bradt guides out from the crowd: a mainstream travel series with a penchant for getting off the beaten track. A winning formula!

  3. Hi!

    Things are crazy with the baby….. We are having a great time…..

    How exciting about YOUR newest child!

    Nan

    Sent from my iPad

  4. I love those Bradt Guides – nothing else like them. That cover photo is extraordinary – it looks like Hungarian Art Nouveau but more lurid! I haven’t been to Serbia – Croatia, Romania, Hungary but no closer.

  5. Thanks all for you kind words. The book is supposed to be out right now but I don’t quite know when it will get to the bookshops (usually a couple of months later outside the UK itself). The cover shows a building in Subotica in the far north of Serbia right next to the Hungarian border – culturally speaking, its a very Hungarian town. There are lots of crazy turn-of-the-century secessionist buildings here, as there are just across the border at Szeged in Hungary.

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