The story of Belgrade is unfolding along the rivers, which are its centuries-old symbol. Without its shores, islands, and promenades, Belgrade would not be what it is nowadays.
“There is no city located in a better place,” once wrote the famous Le Corbusier, who visited Belgrade in the early twentieth century. The glorious architect didn’t like the city, because his insightful eye noticed inconsistencies in the city’s architecture, so this time we will rely only on a better part of his impression of the capital of Serbia. The uniqueness of Belgrade in a tourist, economic and aesthetic sense is the position on the rivers. On the banks of the Danube, there are four European capitals, and Belgrade is next to Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest one of them.
The confluence of the Sava in the Danube river is located, near the city center, which represents the curiosity of its kind at the lover part of the Belgrade Fortress, to be more precise, the Nebojša tower, between the Great War Island and New Belgrade. This magnificent painting is a centuries-old symbol of Belgrade.
To understand Belgrade’s life on the rivers, three points are crucial – the Danube and Sava promenades and Ada Ciganlija. The Danube promenade extends to the territory of the municipalities of Zemun and New Belgrade. The official division of the promenade should separate the Zemun and the New Belgrade’s part, but this is practically impossible because they continue one to another as the endless line on which this city lives all year long, especially during the summer. It is a place of rest, sport, fun and a meeting point. Lively at any time of day and night, from dusk until dawn. A place that attracts people of all generations and different affinities. The Danube promenade also affects the historical part of the city, since the Danube is literally embracing the municipality Dorćol.
The Danube flow through Serbia is 588 kilometers long and through Belgrade 60 kilometers. The Dorćol part is a story for itself and the 25th of May promenade is one of the most picturesque spots in the old part of the city. There is the famous Marina Dorćol, numerous sports facilities, and green areas. Life near Belgrade promenades as well as in this part of Dorćol is marked by the presence of the river, and their beauty is only part of the advantages they bring with them.
The Sava promenade is located in New Belgrade, in the southwestern part of this municipality. From the south side of the promenade across the Sava river, there are two very popular places, important not only for the tourism of the capital but for the style and quality of life in it – the islands of Ada Međica and Ada Ciganlija. As a river island, artificially transformed into the peninsula, Ada Ciganlija during the summer months is visited up to 200,000 people daily for which it carries the epithet of the Belgrade Sea. Why is all this important?
First of all, to understand the multiplicity of Belgrade’s life, all the opportunities that this city provides to those who know it well. For example, the river Sava through Belgrade flows in a length of 30 kilometers. All the mentioned oases along the rivers make the original wealth of Belgrade. Places for common and individual visits, a wide range of sports, family weekends or evening meetings, endless summer days in cafes and bars that make a continental city smells like a sea city. Exclusively in terms of atmosphere.
At the very end, let’s look at history. The Great War Island was mentioned only as a place of the confluence of the Sava River into the Danube, but it has since been an important military and strategic point in the conquest or defense of Belgrade. For example, during the first siege of Belgrade, in 1521, the Ottomans attacked the Belgrade Fortress from this island.
Historical sources indicate that in 1806 during the liberation of Belgrade, the Karađorđe rebellions used the island for military purposes. Almost the same thing, according to sources, was done by Austro-Hungarian soldiers during the conquest of Belgrade in 1915.
On the Great War Island, the life of rare nature lovers is taking its place today, and on the upper hill, there is located a favorite Zemun beach called Lido. This is a small sandy beach, very popular in the 1980s, located near the rare and protected flora species, which is one of the reasons why The Great War Island is protected from urbanization.
Does Belgrade, taking into account only the points of interest mentioned above, come down to its rivers to a full extent? The answer is likely to give the future. However, without its shores, this city would not be what it is.