Belgrade parks are lungs of this metropolis situated in Southern Europe.
The life in big cities is always bustling. Big buildings, roads, heavy traffic, and noisy streets. One big concrete jungle. Every day more and more roads and buildings are built and surfaces paved. But, luckily every city has an oasis of nature called park. There you can find your peace and break from the bustle of everyday life.
The parks are the lungs of the cities. They influence the climate, especially of a large metropolis, by reducing air pollution, providing clean air and reducing heat in cities during hot summer days. We can say city parks play a very important role in the life of modern man. They have social, medical, biological and ecological values. These are the places where we can enjoy in a nice stroll, relax, meet new people, entertain our self, learn about nature and connect with it without leaving the city.
Recently I have visited Belgrade, the main and largest city of Serbia. I’ve been in Belgrade several times and it is really a huge and lovely city. There are many things to do and places to visit. This time I decided to go sightseeing of lesser-known location in Belgrade. I’ve checked out the map and I saw so many big green areas in the city, and then it occurred to me, I could visit parks. So, after a couple of days, I found myself strolling through the green oasis of Belgrade!
The Park of Friendship
This is one of the biggest parks in Belgrade. For me, it’s even most interesting! It’s situated on the junction of Sava and Danube river, in part of town known as New Belgrade.
There is a great and inspiring story how this park was built. The construction of the park started on the initiative of the youth environmental organization “Mladi Gorani Beograda”, who thought that the importance of the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement and the realization of its first conference in Belgrade (back then the main city of SFR Yugoslavia) in 1961 should be marked in a symbolic way.
Therefore, in the central part of the park 26 trees were planted by representatives of the member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement. The countries that fought for the independence, poverty eradication, economic development and opposing to the colonialism, imperialism, and neo-colonialism during the Cold War.
Presidents of the Non-Aligned Countries Plant Trees
The first tree, an oak, was planted by the Mladi Gorani Beograda and next 25 Plane trees were planted by the presidents of countries, as the symbol of their friendship in joint dedication to the world peace.
This, 180 meters long tree alley was named Peace Alley and park got its name “The park of friendship”. During the time of SFR Yugoslavia, and also after its dissolution, the noble gesture of planting the trees continued and became a tradition. Therefore, the list of the eminent people who left their mark in the park became big. Just some of them were Francois Mitterrand, Josip Broz Tito, Jawaharlal Nehru, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Queen Elizabeth II, Fidel Castro, Muammar Gaddafi, Emperor Haile Selassie, Leonid Brezhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Nicolae Ceausescu, Kim Il Sung, Indira Gandhi, Royalty of Benelux and Scandinavia, members of American band the Rolling Stones and many others.
In the park, there is also a beautiful monument called “The Eternal Flame”, dedicated to the victims from the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, that lasted 78 days.
While walking along the banks of Danube river I enjoyed in the view over Kalemegdan fortress. For cycling fans, there is a great bicycle path along the Danube. The park of Friendship is quite big and flat, making it perfect for running and nice easy walks with children and dogs. From here I continued across Brankov bridge to the center of Belgrade and Belgrade fortress. My next stop was Kalemegdan park.
The Kalemegdan Park
Across The park of friendship, on the junction of Danube and Sava river, rises glorious Belgrade fortress. In it is situated Kalemegdan park, consisting from one smaller and second bigger park. I enjoyed in a walk through the history of Belgrade, stunning views and beautiful nature. There are many things to sightsee in the fortress, so the park is perfect spots for a nice break.
The Zvezdara Forest
Zvezdara is a forested hill that rises above the Danube river on the eastern part of Belgrade. Entering into this 80-ha big forest empire will blow your mind! It’s unbelievable how is possible in a couple of minutes to go from paved roads and traffic jam into a peaceful green zone. Completely another world!
In XVII and XVIII centuries on this area, wealthy Ottomans built their summer residences and planted vineyards, orchards and magnificent oriental gardens. They called it “Ekmekluk”. One century afterward, as the foothills were not still urbanized, they were used by the Belgrade’s like a resort and picnic area, named Baba Ružin Kraj (Grandma Ruža’s neighborhood).
On the top of the hill, known as Veliki Vračar, in the 1930s, it was built an observatory designed by Czech architect Jan Dubovy. The name of the hill and developing municipality was named into Zvezdara (“star-house”), and the area around observatory was afforested, so one of the largest green zones was made in the urban core of Belgrade.
In the heart of Zvezdara is a playground for children and many paths through the forest, used for walking and running. Near observatory, there is a Viewpoint with an amazing view over Danube river and Belgrade. This so-called lung of the city is just appr. 15 minutes of driving by car from a center or you can use bus line 65 from New cemetery and get out at last station.
Zvezdara forest is excellent for running, walking and playing with children and dogs.
The Topcider Belgrade Park
Besides Zvezdara, Topcider Park is one of the largest forested areas in Belgrade. It’s situated southwest from the center and beside Dedinje and Senjak, two wealthiest neighborhoods of Belgrade. The name of the parks derives from the Turkish and it means cannon valley because in the early XVI century Ottomans cast their cannons here for the attack on Belgrade.
The most famous attraction in Topcider is Prince Milos’s residence, built by the order of Prince Milos Obrenovic in 1834. This was the place were the most important socio-political event occurred, such as Parliament sessions. Today, it is a Historical Museum of Serbia.
The residence is situated in the valley of Topciderska river, a tributary of Sava river. In front of it is a London Plane tree, one of the biggest and most beautiful ones in Europe. Also, it is quite old, around 160 years. It is part of a protected spatial cultural-historical unit of Topcider-Kosutnjak.
Behind the Residence is a small residence, used as a summer house by Miloš’s son Mihailo, who later became the Prince. Next to it is a beautiful Church of a Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and Parish House.
In the valley of the Topčider river, there are paved trails that go around the few monuments, fountains, ponds and two restaurants with traditional cuisine. There is also a glasshouse, that seems unfortunately abandoned.
Topčider park is more popular then Zvezdara forest. I enjoyed the nice stroll while sightseeing monuments and attractions. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to visit bordering Košutnjak park. But, now I have an excuse to come again to Belgrade.
The Hyde Park
Hyde Park is situated close to Topčider (appr. 20 minutes of walking) and Museum of Yugoslav History. It was named after the famous park in London and its development started in the 30s.
I like it very much because one part of the park has forest tracks good for running or walking and it’s not crowded. In the other part are appliances for fitness and recreation. So, perfect for the athletes. Also, there is a playground for children.
Hyde Park isn’t that big, but you can get a really relaxing vibe while walking through this forested area.
This is a list of just few Belgrade’s parks I had the chance to visit and enjoy in them. I’m sure more green empires are tucked somewhere between the crowded streets of Belgrade. Sightseeing of the city architecture, museums, and other stuff is great, but sometimes is tiring so I would recommend you to put at least one of this parks on your list things to visit in Belgrade because it’s very relaxing and it will inspire you for sure.