It used to be an unavoidable part of the way into the center of old Belgrade, and today people visit it to get a whiff of the most beautiful things about Belgrade. It never left the conversations of old Belgraders, as well as of all lovers of the history of this city. Specific, quiet, dignified. Today, Varoš Kapija is a knot of the most beautiful streets of Belgrade, to the right of Knez Mihajlova Street if you’re standing at Terazije, or to the left if you’re coming from the direction of Kalemegdan. Knez Mihajlova Street is like a river separating Dorćol and Varoš Kapija – one of the oldest parts of the city.
The first glance at the district brimming with streets named after heroes of Serbian history is most definitely historical. In the beginning, as its name suggests, Varoš Kapija was one of four gates through which one could enter the old town of Belgrade. It was built in Pop Lukina Street, and due to unforeseen historical circumstances, torn down in the middle of the 19th century. In 1862, the Varoš Kapija which had survived both the Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian reign ceased to exist. But its name remained, the name today used to signify the whole area. Geographically speaking, Varoš Kapija, as an area, was the hill between Knez Mihajlova and Brankova Street, as the street which signified the border with Savamala.
Today, Varoš Kapija is considered to include the lower part of Obilićev Venac, Carice Milice Street, Topličin Venac, the lower part of Vuka Karadžića Street, Pop Lukina Street, Kosančićev Venac, the end of Pariska Street, and Kneza Sime Markovića Street. All the way to the slope towards the Sava River. Stylistically speaking, it was, and still remains, a reflection of the lavish 19th-century architecture, brimming with buildings of respectable beauty and rich history. Today, it is going through a transition, slowly turning into a pedestrian zone, especially at its points of entrance (Cara Lazara Street, Gračanička Street), but with utmost respect toward the heritage that makes it what it is.
Another way to experience Varoš Kapija today (it is interesting to note that a tavern at the corner of Carice Milice and Maršala Birjuzova Streets has the same name) is, in fact, hedonistic. We are talking about the modern Belgrade lifestyle which brings hordes of tourists throughout the year. Beautiful restaurants, among which many carry the names of famous places, neat walkways, the Museum of Applied Arts, little bistros, galleries, craft shops located here all make the soul of the city and its authenticity truly unique. In Varoš Kapija, one can live and enjoy in the way unique to Belgrade as it has always been. The easygoing spirit, the serenity, tasty food, gardens which are full both in winter and in summer, benches to rest on, to experience a moment of pure enjoyment in the magnificent patina. These things make the spirit of this part of the capital a reflection of the contemporary cosmopolitanism of the city, because all languages are spoken and there is no such thing as a misunderstanding here.