A brief history of Belgrade

Today we took a bus tour of Belgrade. Up to now, we have learned quite a bit about the Serbian culture and business environment, what was missing from our experience however, was our understanding of the country’s history. We learned today that Belgrade holds the distinction of being the most rebuilt city in the world, this is a consequence of Belgrade’s other title, the city that has been bombed the most in the world. The many conflicts that Serbia has faced has greatly shaped the culture and has also made a great impact on the landscape of Belgrade. We visited a large outdoor market where the locals sold Serbian grown fruits which are known to be some of the best quality in the world, however, often this fruit is exported through Italy where the Italians profit from Serbian handiwork. We then visited St. Sava Cathedral, an engineering marvel, that has been in constant construction since 1985. The original cathedral was demolished during World War II and under the rule of communism, the Serbs were forbidden to erect religious buildings. Today, the partially finished cathedral is a source of pride for Belgrade. Throughout the tour we saw many partially destoyed buildings, standing amongst the traditional, yet modern landscape as if left on purpose. Our guide informed us that these buildings remain because there are no funds to finish the demolition and rebuild. Story after story told us about the hardships that Serbs have faced throughout the ages, and the many groups that have occupied the city. As recently as the late 1990’s the city was bombed multiple times. Despite this history of conflict and violence, it is striking to see just how warm and fun-loving the Serbian people are. This rich culture is definitely one that has learned to overcome.

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