Tungate, Publications

Belgrade la belle

A short sketch of a city with potential

Belgrade needs rebranding. To be fair, it has already tried, in the form of the slogan “Belgrade – because I love it!” adopted by the local tourist authority. It’s a nice try, even if it sounds vaguely familiar, but I don’t think it really gets to the heart of what Belgrade is all about.

Let’s be honest: this is not an easy city to love. It lacks the architectural harmony of Paris or Rome, and many of the buildings are Cold War era slabs. Nobody is going to come to Belgrade for luxury shopping, monuments or museums – although Tito’s mausoleum is not without a certain grim charm.

No, Belgrade needs to be promoted as a party city with a creative edge, a bit like Berlin. The place is incredibly cheap, with taxis that cost a couple of Euros. There is a thriving underground club scene; in fact the open-air party boats along the Danube are already a cult favourite. For slightly more mature audiences, there are the lively restaurants of Skadarlija, where you can eat cevapcici sausages while being serenaded by a gypsy band straight out of a Kusturica movie. And the residents have hearts as big as their appetites.

© 2018 Mark Tungate
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