Belgrade is a city at crossroads. Cities at crossroads can be recognized by the fact, that you often travel through them and not to them. But a rule of thumb is that those cities are worth spending some time in them. Because cities at crossroads are usually very old and experienced by fate.
So is Belgrade. I have travelled through it several times, but only once on my way back from Turkey I have spent there a night and a morning. Only a night and a morning. Belgrade is worth more. Archaeological history of Belgrade is about 7000 years, a night and a morning seems obviously ridiculous.
The city lies at the mouth of the River Sava to Danube. You can look down at those two great rivers from the fortress contemplating the breath of a night wind. It is therefore no surprise that not only water of two rivers mixes in this city. Night-life with orthodox churches, Cyrillic and Latin letters, peace and war.
Because war, like elsewhere in Balkans, has left here visible scars. At the crossing of two main streets there are still ruins of government buildings destroyed during NATO bombing — left here in memoriam and as a warning. Just imagine a colourful lively city with bombs being dropped in its heart. Not in a distant past which no one remembers. Less than 20 years ago. Imagine that this happened to your city. I don’t like any sign of religious patriotism, an therefore I have mixed feelings about the building site of a new huge national cathedral of Saint Sava, the greatest of Serbian patron saints. But at least it seems easy to me to understand it. Looking at those visible scars in the tissue of this city it is easy to imagine their fear and humiliation. It is not so easy to come across such a recent fear in Europe. The war is terrible. It sounds trivial, but it is so true here. The war is inexplicably terrible.
Fortunately you can go further. Fortunately you can sigh with relief looking at this lively city. Looking at the illuminated stronghold and historic churches. At the streets full of life even in the middle of night and busy in the morning. You can really sigh with relief, at least for a moment.