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Petrovaradin Fortress Bathed in Fog
Serbia

Petrovaradin Fortress – From Another Angle

If you aren’t from Serbia, the name ‘Petrovaradin Fortress’ probably doesn’t mean that much to you. If you belong to the younger, party generation, then Exit Festival might ring a bell.  But we aren’t here to talk about festivals, but to show you a different side of Petrovaradin Fortress.

Petrovaradin Fortress Bathed at Night

Petrovaradin Fortress at Night

On October 18, 1692 prince Charles Eugène de Croÿ was the first person to set the cornerstone for the present southern part of this amazing fortress. It served as a military object until 1948 and in 1951 it was put under protection of the Republic of Serbia. Currently, Petrovaradin Fortress is a touristic object and has numerous museums, galleries and archives scattered around it.

Backroad to Petrovaradin Fortress

Backroad to Petrovaradin Fortress

Petrovaradin Fortress is a favourite place for locals to visit at weekends and spend their time with their loved ones, couples enjoy sunsets, and, as funny as it seems,a place where many wars were fought is now filled with galleries and artists who draw inspiration out of this amazing building.

Fortress has numerous bridges around it connecting the gaps

Fortress has numerous bridges around it connecting the gaps

Interesting facts about Petrovaradin fortress

The Clock Tower

Road to Tower Clock

Road to Tower Clock

The clock comes from Alsace (France) and it was a present from Duchess Maria Theresa at the beginning of 18th century. It was destroyed in the middle of that century and replaced with the new current one. The clock has to be wind up manually every day. Another interesting thing is that the big handle shows hours and the small one shows minutes.

The Clock Tower Next to a Full Moon

The Clock Tower Next to a Full Moon

People say it’s because ships that pass by on the Danube river have it more important to know what hour it is. Another interesting fact is that during the winter, the clock is a bit late and during the summer it runs faster and that’s why it’s sometimes referred to as ‘drunken clock’.

When you visit this clock you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of Novi Sad.

Tower Clock - sometimes referred as Drunken Clock

Tower Clock – sometimes referred to as Drunken Clock

 

Petrovaradin Fortress Catacombs

Under the Fortress there are more than 20 kilometers of catacombs and four levels of defense depth up to 40 meters. They were used as loopholes, shooting lines, ammunition storage and even as a fridge.

Mysterious View From a Fortress Tunnel

Mysterious View From a Fortress Tunnel

There are stories that the tunnels go all the way to Hungary, under the Danube and that people got lost never to be found again. Trust me, it really is easy to get disoriented not knowing where the hell you are…

Fog Turns Petrovaradin Fortress Into Really Mystical Place

Fog Turns Petrovaradin Fortress Into Really Mystical Place

It was supposed to be destroyed

After the First World War, as the military technology started upgrading, there was no more need for Petrovaradin Fortress as a military base. The military top decided to destroy the fortress. Colonel Dragoš Đelošević was in charge of this ungrateful job of destroying Petrovaradin Fortress and many others, but he decided to spare the Petrovaradin Fortress as it was believed to be “too beautiful to be destroyed”. And the fortress still stands.

Petrovaradin Fortress Bathed in Fog

Petrovaradin Fortress Bathed in Fog

If you are in Serbia this is ‘do not miss’ place

Serbia is a beautiful country and very worth visiting. If you don’t have Petrovaradin Fortress and Novi Sad on your list, make sure you add them.  You will be rewarded with beautiful views, amazing people, awesome history and hopefully it will make you prolong your stay there.

Bonus Winter Photos

Petrovaradin Fortress in Snow

Petrovaradin Fortress in Snow

Petrovaradin Fortress in Snow

kalemegdan fortress
Serbia, Short Stories

Kalemegdan Stories

Belgrade (The White City) is everything but not white. It’s surrounded with grey buildings from communist and socialist era in so-called “blocks” which are made of big ugly apartment buildings. But don’t worry that isn’t all that this town can offer. The downtown of this ‘white city’ tells a different story. Various types of buildings can be seen throughout Belgrade from all eras that this city went through. Knez Mihailova Street, Temple of Saint Sava, Skadarlija – those are all amazing landmarks of Belgrade, but there is one that really stands out with its massiveness and  beauty. It’s the Belgrade Fortress – Kalemengdan! It’s located on the confluence of the rivers Danube and Sava in an urban part of modern Belgrade.

belgrade fortress

Kalemegdan (Hi)story

Although this post was not supposed to be about history of Kalemegdan, I will share a little bit of its story with you. The city was first mentioned when it was founded, around 3rd century BC and it was named Singidunum by the Celtic tribe Scordisci. All this time that it existed, the city/fortress changed many “owners”.

The name Kalemegdan comes from two Turkish words – “kale”, which means fortress and “meydan”, which means battlefield – literally “battlefield fortress”.

From Romans to Byzantine Empire, Slavs, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Turks Austrians and finally Serbs. The life of the fortress/city was mostly lived inside its walls and until the recent times it equals the Belgrade history itself. The name Kalemegdan comes from two Turkish words – “kale”, which means fortress and “meydan”, which means battlefield – literally “battlefield fortress”.

kalemegdan fortress

People’s Story

When you enjoy Sunday afternoon at this beautiful fortress you will notice lots of people. Kids in groups with their teachers, foreigners not wanting to miss out the beautiful monument and locals enjoying chess, views, sharing kisses… But, then again, when you meet people you hear interesting stories.

 

The Victor

The Victor (Pobednik) is probably the oldest occupant of the Fortress with an amazing story. He was built to commemorate Serbia’s victory over Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empire during the Balkan War and the First World War. It was sculpted in 1928 by Ivan Meštrović and it’s one of the most visited monuments in Belgrade. Make sure to check it out when you visit the city.

He was built to commemorate Serbia’s victory over Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empire during the Balkan War and the First World War.

kalemegdan fortress

Foreigners

If you are visiting Belgrade, Kalemegdan is something you don’t want to miss. I was astounded to see how many foreigners actually come to Kalemegdan even during the winter. I haven’t been in Belgrade for a long time and I don’t remember it being so open to strangers. When you walk the Kalemegdan fortress, Knez Mihailova Street or anywhere downtown you can hear so many languages! Awesome, right?

belgrade forest tourists

Souvenirs Guy

I was checking out some souvenirs to bring back home (I collect magnets and buy them wherever I go, I also accept them as gifts if you want send one 😉 ) so I ran into this little shop. I had a nice chat with this man and I must say he had the nicest souvenir shop I have ever seen! The magnets are also realy beautiful, they show photos of old Belgrade and how it used to be, which is a very nice touch. He told me that his wife makes those magnets but when I tried to find out how she applies those images to the wood, he couldn’t tell. Maybe he is keeping secrets of the trade to himself.

souvenirs at belgrade fortress

The Lonely Ones

To be honest I have seen quite a number of people just enjoying their time alone. Sitting on the bench smoking a cigarette, walking, feeding pigeons or looking at the river… Maybe they are thinking about the new ideas that come to their mind, or have many problems and just come to relax or they just love this fortress and enjoy its greatness.  As Douglas Coupland would say: “The time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself.”

lonely people at belgrade fortress

The Couples

You can see Kalemegdan is full of couples. Well, the Fortress is kinda romantic place despite the fact that in its history there were lots of battles here. It is a place where many had their first date, first kiss and, who knows, maybe a first breakup. Lets just hope that didn’t happen to the couple I ran into while I was walking back to my room. I noticed this just married couple, being happy and smiling. I went for a shot and they noticed and smiled. Never thought of being a wedding photographer, but hey, who knows….

just married couple at belgrade fortress

And many more…

There are many more stories of people on Kalemegdan. There are the guards, keeping Kalemegdan safe, street cleaners, guides and many more that make this place so special. I’m sure you have your own story or experience you had at Kalemegdan so why not share that experience in the comments section below?

National Park Zasavica - Serbia
Adventure, Motorbike, Serbia

Zasavica – Hidden Gem of Serbia

Just under the town of Sremska Mitrovca there is one, also not known, gem of Serbia called Zasavica. Along with Obedska Bara and Carska Bara it’s one of main refuge of wildlife and one of the best kept swamp areas in Serbia. If think having a swim there is a good idea you are gonna have a bad time. Depth is around 2.5 meters but sludge is deep up to 8 meters! Just 2 kilometers of park is available for tourists and rest of it only for biologists and caretakers. If you visit this place you will meet a little eccentric but great biologist – when you visit this place for sure you will notice him.

Birds of Zasavica

First glimpse on the water and you will notice lots of birds and most common one is little Grebe. Everybody thinks it is a duck but it is more in a family of chicken. They can not fly they can skid few centimeters above the water. They are very clumsy on land so they lay their eggs very close to the shore.

little grebe in the national park zasavica

Little Grebe

There is a special bird at the national park Zasavica named golden oriole. She is famous for building hanging nests for a female to lay her eggs. When male finishes building the nest female inspect the insides and outside of the nest and if she doesn’t like she just chops the hanging thread and destroys the nest and the male needs to build another one.

What Zasavica has more to offer

In 2004 beaver was reintroduced to national park Zasavica. 31 beavers were let go in the national park – families and singles. Strapped with GPS they noticed some of the beaver migrating and one female went all the way up the Sava near the town of Brčko and had the babies there.

Horse At National Park Zasavica

Just beside the national park fence there is pasture for cows and horses which walk freely. Horses are mostly tamed and you can approach and pet them. While I was photographing, one of the kids ran few meters away from the parents and started walking in the horse dung. By the time they noticed he was already ankle deep.

Boat ride along the swamp of Zasavica

In Zasavica you can take a boat ride through the swamp area. While we were in a boat we were waiting for an elderly couple to arrive. All of a sudden they were almost running towards the boat thinking we will go away. Lady said sorry and she said they went to see the horses and stayed longer than planned. All of a sudden her husband added that they could not miss the chance to visit her relatives…

biologist of zasavica

An interesting history fact – Zasavica was a hiding and commanding place for Zeka Buljubaša. He was national hero from First world war. At the battle near river Drina, against the Ottomans, Zekas company ran out of bullets and they decided not to go quite into the night, they took their knives and rushed the Ottomans – and that’s how they died.

When you finish the visit of the national park there are lot’s of souvenirs to choose from but also lots of local foot to by – mostly made from donkey milk – soap, liquor, cheese and lots of pig products.

After my trip people asked me where I was for the weekend and when I told them nobody had a clue where is it and what the hell is Zasavica. After explaining them and showed them the photos they were very excited and wanted to go there. I consider this one of the places that is awesome to go for a day and enjoy and learn that even in Serbia there are places where some species can be seen only in a few places and one of them is a hidden and unknown gem of Serbia – Zasavica.

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Adventure, Motorbike, Serbia

Amazing Stories In The South And West of Serbia

The famous one beer

As the quote goes “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans”. So it goes for this adventure, every aspect of this adventure that I had planned has gone wrong.

My plan was to go on this adventure with my motorcycle fixed… Guess what… with lack of the parts bike could not be fixed and I decided to go on this adventure with a shaky motorbike… when I say shaky I mean it’s shaking like never ending earthquake. After half an hour driving it you get used to it. I did not have to go on the trip but I did not want to miss last beautiful days of the summer. for any one asking motorbike model is Kawasaki KLR650.

That night I went for a famous one beer, as I have not learned that there is no “one beer”

Story begins a day before the go-off, I had planned to wake up at 5-6 and arrive at Uvac in the evening hours. You can tell it did not happen like that. That night I went for a famous one beer, as I have not learned that there is no “one beer”. I woke up at 9 packed my stuff and went on my way. They say you can not forget first love and I can not forget the first time I went up the mountain Tara. So I decided to go to Uvac over mountain Tara. Known road, beautiful landscapes  and all of a sudden sign for a canyon of a small river. Unplanned turn to dirt road. Nice little creek, nice views… Should I continue or go back to the main road…
Tara View with KLR650

Tara mountain and being low on fuel ‘somewhere’

I continue down the creek, up the mountain, passing small villages and children. As soon as they see me they run to the streets and wave. I reach the top of an uphill road and I am rewarded with a beautiful view on mountain Tara. Few minutes after that motorcycle is trying to tell me something… no more fuel! I panic a bit and then remember the reserve… I turn it on and thinking to my self  ‘please work’ (I was afraid since on this motorbike lot’s of stuff that you would think should work normally… don’t….) and to my surprise motorbike continues like nothing happened!

Few minutes after that motorcycle is trying to tell me something… no more fuel

 

Tara view with Kawasaki KLR650
With motorbikes need under control I start the descend to the main road hoping reserve will last… 15 minutes later asphalt! I reach city of Bajina Bašta, fill up the fuel into my thirsty animal and stop at the famous Drina house to rest.

 

House on the Drina river

House on the Drina river

Reaching Zlatibor mountain

It’s starting to get dark and I’m half way to Zlatibor and not even near Uvac – my planned destination. I decide to find a place somewhere on Zlatibor. After finding a place I decide to go for a walk and check out downtown of Zlatibor. I have seen some nice beer tavern and decided to go there after dinner. Finished my dinner and noticed domestic music has taken over and decided to skip it and go to sleep.

Small creek on the mountain of Zlatibor

Small creek on the mountain of Zlatibor

Early in the morning there was fog, you can see 20m. I wait for the sun to disperse a bit of fog, as soon as it happened I drive to check out more of Zlatibor. Not many people can be seen, mostly people working on constructions for upcoming season. I wrap up the tour and went on my way to Uvac. As soon as I get on my bike I notice I have lost one glove, I ran to the Chinese shop and get myself skiers gloves. I continue the ride and find some dirt roads and have fun on them a bit.

Having nice dirt ride on Zlatibor hills.

Having nice dirt ride on Zlatibor hills.

 

Beautiful view on Zlatibor mountain

Finally arriving to Uvac

I reach some bridge and I notice the sign for river Uvac… Finally I reached the river that made me go to this trip. Checking out the bridge, nothing special… I go to the dirt road on the left hoping for something better… anything… road takes me under the bridge, right, left up the hill and WHAM…. beautiful view on the bridge. The simple bridge that looked like nothing special has its own beauty. Sometimes getting closer to stuff doesn’t mean you’ll see more, going back a bit gives you the bigger picture.

Beautiful view on what seemed like a boring bridge.

Beautiful view on what seemed like a boring bridge.

I reach the Uvac dam and ask them where should I got? They explain to me dirt road that doesn’t follow the Uvac all the way but there are beautiful landscapes. I continue the ride and again small beautiful villages, mostly muslim and every of them has nice small mosk. I seem to be interesting to the children that see me, they run along my side and older people seeing me and thinking “what the hell are you doing here”?

The simple bridge that looked like nothing special has its own beauty. Sometimes getting closer to stuff doesn’t mean you’ll see more, going back a bit gives you the bigger picture.

 

There are more beautiful view not just on the meanders!

There are more beautiful view not just on the meanders!

Canyon of river Uvac is one of those places that is not talked about much, it is not known as Tara or Zlatibor but it’s actually one of the nicest places in Serbia. I have not visited Uvac as much as I have planned though… There are no photos of griffon vulture (vulture that was almost extinct 20 years ago and now there are almost 300 of them), there are no photos from viewpoints on beautiful Uvac meanders and photos of people living there in villages consisting of 3-4 houses. Uvac is also known to be home of the many bird species, brown bear and wolves!

 

Pasture at the end of the Uvac national park

Even at the exit of national park Uvac there is farewell view on beautiful pasture and just behind Sjenica lake. Only thing to do is sit, take a deep, mountain air, breath, rest and get back on the road and think about Uvac… how is it like here in winter, spring, or summer… and when am I gonna get back here again? I started my ride to Kragujevac and I make the wrong turn and go to the unplanned visit to the city of Novi Pazar. Nervouse becuase it’s night and mountain roads I finally go out of Novi Pazar and I speed to the Kragujevac. Night was cold but as I enter the city it starts to be warmer. Just in front of the hotel I notice half of the licence plate is missing… how? I have no idea.

 

Kragujevac forgotten history

In the morning I go for a coffee with a friend and she reminds of something that we learned in the school but totally forgot. One sentence was enough for me to remember everything “It was in country of a peasants in a mountainous Balkans where died company of students in one day”.

German forces shot few thousands innocent people among whom were students. In that time there were rebellions against german forces and germans started killing 50 civilians for every wounded and 100 civilians for every dead soldier. First they did it in villages because that’s where most of the rebellions started and after that they started doing it in Kragujevac. People were taken under excuse of changing their ID’s so there was no resistance.

 

Kragujevac

In the museum can be seen messages left by the students to their parents and of them goes like this: “Don’t send bread tomorrow”. Not much of a message, no emotions but then again evokes so much of it, message doesn’t say what will happen tomorrow but still it’s obvious.

In that time there were rebellions against German forces and Germans started killing 50 civilians for every wounded and 100 civilians for every dead soldier

In Kragujevac you can visit museum called 21. October and memorial park “Kragujevac October” to learn more about what happened here. For this article the photo of the monument to the kids of class V-III would be better but I did not have enough time to go there.

 

Long way back

On the way back I visit the monument for the Partizans in Second World War – Kosmaj. On this place was formed “Kosmajska Posavska” company in order to act around Danube and town of Mladenovac.

 

Kosmaj Monument - Also could be seen in articles about 'futuristic' Yugoslavian monuments

Kosmaj Monument – Also could be seen in articles about ‘futuristic’ Yugoslavian monuments

There was about two hours to reach home but that doesn’t matter… In my head I’m thinking what we have in our backyard but we don’t appreciate it,  we don’t show anything to our people or the international tourists. We can say we have the most beautiful national parks in Europe, monuments and events that send tinglings down your spine when you hear stories behind them and history that we have to learn first and then be proud of it.

Motorbiking Tara Mountain
Adventure, Motorbike, Serbia

Motorbiking Tara Mountain in Serbia

Friday morning. I packed the stuff, went to the garage and packed a recently fixed Kawasaki KLR 650. I started riding and thinking in the back of my mind if everything would work fine with my motorbike, but in my stomach it was a different feeling – it was just pure adrenaline and enjoyment.  Riding to Šabac and Loznica from Novi Sad is a dull and boring road but just after Loznica I arrived to the river Drina and started riding along the side of it. The scenery got more and more beautiful by every new kilometer.

IMG_5912

I had a pause by Zvornik lake for some rest and a bit of photographing. I ran into a man who was also resting there and he told me that it was going to rain. I told him I had checked the weather and there was just a possibility of light rain… I continued riding, the landscape was getting better and the light rain started getting stronger.

Just in front of  Bajina Bašta I arrived to a small house on river Drina that was in most of the papers, TV shows and even in National Geographic. It was built by swimmers and used as a place for resting after long swims. First they built a platform and as the time passed they made something more serious. Sometimes it could withstand the river Drina and sometimes it needed rebuilding… And it went on like that for 40 years.

I arrived at a gas station in Bajina Bašta and waited for a few minutes to see if the rain would stop… Murphy’s law set the stage and it was showering like crazy. When I saw it will not stop, I asked the worker at the gas station if he knew a good place to sleep at and he gave me the directions to a place called “Kod Kurte“ (“At Kurta’s”). By the way, there were twins working at the gas station, so it was hard to talk about something with one of them that I already talked about with the other…  The rain got weaker and I was back on the road again… I failed to follow the instructions from one of the twins and ended up on a forest road reaching a monastery.

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A Monk gave me the directions through the forest and the dirt road was amazing… It started showering but I did not mind, the trail was awesome, going up the mountain Tara, ears cracking because of the pressure change, passing small villages, seeing beautiful landscapes…. After a 20min ride I saw an asphalt road, turned right and hoped it was the right way.  A 10 minute ride and I arrived at “Kod Kurte”, soaked. The interior of the place was all wooden, with photos from rallies and motocross competitions. I settled in my room, had a shower, changed clothes and put plastic bags on my feet before I put my wet shoes on. I went to eat and by recommendation I ate “Bun set” (literal translation from “komplet lepinja”) with some kind of butter milk. It was so good I ate it for breakfast also.

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I spent my night drying my shoes for the next day. In the morning I packed the stuff and went to Zaovine Lake. Normal asphalt road… When I reached Zaovine Lake I started riding on dirt roads hoping to go all around the lake but with no luck. At the end of the road I reached somebody’s yard.

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An old man whose house it was, looked at me strangely and I asked him “Any more road?” and he said “No more road my child. Where would you like to go”? At that moment a lady came out of the house telling me, by the sound of my motorbike, that she thought a helicopter landed. I laughed and answered that I would like to go to Zaovine Lake and the old man told me to go to the asphalt road. I found a few more dirt roads around the lake and after some time I decided to go to Wooden City. I checked the map and saw that there was a dirt road to that place and I did not know how exciting the road was going to be!

A few wrong turns and I passed one left turn asking myself “Is that road that I have seen on the map?” and thinking that I cannot even drive up that road. After a few kilometers I figured that was the road… Checking out the steep road adrenalin helped me hit the throttle and with no problem the main obstacle was beaten. KLR  650 ate everything under it.

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Mud and rocks were on the track all the time while going up, until I reached the road peak. Made some photos and was happy that my KLR made it up and it was probably the hardest one by far. After that easy forest trail I reached the clearance and I saw 3-4 quad bikers and asked them the way to Wooden City. I said goodbye and continued my ride reaching the city.

DCIM100GOPRO

The Wooden City is a beautiful place, not a man made marble but a place very worth seeing. Names of the streets are “Bruce Lee’s Street”,  “Novak Đoković’s Street”, “Diego Maradona Square” and so on… The city has its own tennis courts, sports center with its funny name “The Damned Yard” (named after a book by a Serbian Nobel prize winner Ivo Andrić), a church, a restaurant and a few cafés.

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I bought some souvenirs from an old lady and got some rakija made from walnut. I got out of the Wooden City and saw a girl on the bicycle, with the saddle bags totally full, going up the steep hill, I smiled and said “Hi” and she nodded back. In the Back of my mind I was feeling a bit sad since I couldn’t ride my bicycle that much since I did not have much time on my hands.  I decided not to sleep on Tara since locals told me there would be rain and this time I believed them. Going the same road back I stopped at the Drina house from the beginning of the story and at gas station where the twins worked.. I had few words with one of them, thanked him and went on my way.

 

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The ride back was cold and I got caught by the dark and rain. Slowly but surely familiar places started showing up… Ruma, Irig, Novi Sad… I arrived home, wet, frozen, hands cramping but happy since my  Kawasaki KLR 650 after many repairs finished the ride without a problem.