There is a saying that the best days in Skadarlija are spent at night. Prague is fond of Zlata ulicka (Golden Stree), Vienna of Gricik, Athens of Plaka, Paris of Monmartre and Belgrade is fond of Skadarlija. In the beginning, throughout the 20th century, there was another saying: “If chance brings a foreigner to Belgrade, you’ll surely find him in Skadarlija.” i“.
Cafes are the best social institution in our country. Dimovic’s hat workshop used to be in our Skadarlija. The company logo made of three tin sheet hats was displayed on the house. When some time later this place turned into cafe, the owner didn’t bother to take off these tin sheet hats and thus the cafe got its name “Three Hats”. This cafe lives not only through many works of art but also in many anecdotes. A popular actor of that time, Cica Ilija Stanojevic lived in Skadarlija and used to say that he may not drink water, since his well (iron) health could rust of it. He also joked and instead of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be,” he used to say, “To drink or not to drink.” Another fine anecdote is when Djura Jaksic, a bit boozed took off with a friend to his Skadarlija home, a woman put the wrong man to bed thinking that he was her drunken husband. One of the most famous women in Skadarlija was Olga Jancevecka, Russian singer and the queen of Russian love songs who claimed to be so famous, that even Tito didn’t dare to interrupt her singing when he suddenly would enter the “Great Skadarlija “.
I believe that Skadarlija is the soul of Belgrade and that soul should returned to. Dusko Radovic used to say, “We love life more than it loves us”. Well, if we love it then there is no point in gossips and blemishing it. Just the same, if we like Skadarlija, it is not nice to say that it ruined, but to make an effort to make it beautiful, clean it to revive and shine by keeping the patina that makes it special and atmosphere of diverse cultural events; like the events going on at Djure Jaksic’s home.
I made my first steps in this street, live in it, welcome there my friends from all over the world and it is interesting that everyone pronounces – Skadarlija in its own, special way. My grandfather was born in Skadarlija, although he spoke all of his life that he comes from Lika; my mother and aunt grew up there, my parents took me to that street directly from maternity ward, so my Belgrade family has a three generation history at Skadarlija. This part of my city, somehow resembles Paris, and on the other hand is very original and reminds only of Belgrade. This is not nonsense but unity of diversity.
Returning to Skadarlija means coming back to soul and heart of the city, specific for any great metropolis Moscow with Old Arbat, Kiev with Andrejevska spuska. There was an idea to make the “Republic of Skadarlija”, a passport for Skadarlija, which is very nice and funny and would be unusual welcome to every tourist visiting Belgrade; who, in my opinion, must and ought come to Skadarlija…and so they do.
Writen by: Vjera Mujović