Serbian Nobel laureate Ivo Andrić wrote a lot about bridges. We single out one of his quotes: “From everything that a man in his life instinct raises and builds, nothing is better and more valuable in my eyes than bridges.”
Bridges are a place of meeting and unfortunately parting. Bridges are also a symbol of a new beginning, something that marks a new era in our lives. They used to be a symbol of the defense of the fortress. Today, they are all that, plus the symbols of the cities in which they are located.
You can cross Sava river from one side of Belgrade to the other across the Old and New Railway Bridges, Branko’s, Old Sava Bridge, Gazela, Ada Bridge, Ostružnca Bridge and the bridge connecting Obrenovac and Surčin. Most bridges are designed for road traffic. But let’s do this in order.
Old Railway Bridge
It was built in 1884 and the railway connecting Belgrade and Zemun near the Belgrade Fair originally ran across it. You can see it when you cross Gazela bridge. It was demolished twice during world wars and rebuilt after that. It’s still in use today. Via it, trains arrive from Srem. The last major reconstruction was in 1986, with minor repairs in the mid-1990s. Wooden railway sleepers were replaced with synthetic ones in 2009.
New Railway Bridge
When the construction of Prokop began, the New Railway Bridge was built in 1979. It is located 250m upstream from the Old Railway Bridge. This bridge has two tracks and two pylons, and even the natives of Belgrade mix it with Gazela bridge, for completely unknown reasons.
In 1934, the suspension bridge of King Alexander was built, which served as a road between Belgrade and Zemun. That is why it was once officially named Zemun Bridge. In order to protect themselves from the Nazi invasion into the center of Belgrade, the army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia demolished this, according to many, the most beautiful, Belgrade bridge. On the remaining pillars, Branko’s bridge was built in 1956.
During the socialist government, it was called the Bridge of Brotherhood and Unity, but the people of Belgrade never called it that. They used the name Sava Bridge or the bridge in Branko’s Street because you enter the aforementioned street through it. Street is named after the poet Branko Radičević. After the fall of socialism, the bridge was officially named Branko’s Bridge.
Today, there is a panoramic elevator on it, and on the Belgrade side, there are clubs and cafes in the pillars. It’s easily crossed on foot or by bicycle and is one of Belgrade’s sights not to be missed. Especially in the summer, during Carnival of Ships, the view is breathtaking.
Old Sava Bridge
This bridge flows from New Belgrade into Karađorđeva Street near the main bus station. It was built during the occupation in 1942, because the bridge of King Alexander was demolished. The German occupiers mined him during the withdrawal in October 1944, but they were noticed from his window by the Belgrade teacher Miladin Zarić. He climbed the bridge himself and broke the detonator wire with the ax he found on the bridge, thus saving it.
It was the only tram bridge for a long time, until the opening of Ada Bridge. The rails were laid in 1984 as part of the construction of the tram line to Block 45 in New Belgrade.
It was opened to traffic in 1970 as part of the Brotherhood and Unity highway. It got its name because it looks lika a gazelle that crosses the Sava River. It has three lanes in both directions and is the busiest Belgrade bridge. It is part of European route E75.
The people of Belgrade can’t avoid it and that is why it is mostly crowded at any part of the day. When you cross it at night, you can see the lights of the metropolis and enjoy the view.
It was officially opened on New Year’s Eve 2011/2012 as a link between New Belgrade and Čukarica. It flows into Čukarica at the lower peak of Ada Ciganlija and represents a much faster road from New Belgrade to Banovo brdo. There are several exits on each side and is the part of the Belgrade Inner Highway half-ring that would connect New Belgrade and Zvezdara.
In the competition for the name in 2011, the name “Most na Adi” received the most votes, and regardless of the fact that linguists determined that it was incorrect, it got that name. It is also colloquially called the New Bridge.
With three lanes in both directions, it relieved Gazela Bridge a bit. And by opening the road in Heroja sa Košara Street, it connected Bežanijska kosa, Tošin bunar Street and New Belgrade “blocks” with the city.
This bridge was built in 1998 as a railway connection between Surčin and Čukarica. During the NATO bombing in 1999, it was completely destroyed and rebuilt in 2006.
Obrenovac – Surčin Bridge
The road bridge connecting Surčin and Obrenovac has been started many times, but construction was halted. The Obrenovac – Surčin bridge is the only bridge on the Sava from Šabac to Ostružnica, a section 70 kilometers long. Travel time between the two municipalities has been reduced from one hour to 10 minutes and allows additional time savings for all who go to Nikola Tesla Airport from that side.
One of the two bridges over the Danube in the city of Belgrade was opened to traffic in 1935 and was named after King Peter the Second. On the same day, the first train from Belgrade to Pančevo started on that route, and a new tram line was opened. Just like today’s Branko’s Bridge, it was demolished in 1941 by the Yugoslav army in order to slow down the Nazi occupiers.
The bridge was renovated in 1946 with two lanes in each direction for road and two railway tracks. Until the opening of Pupin’s Bridge in 2014, it was the only Belgrade bridge on the Danube and the fastest connection between Belgrade and Pančevo. That is why he was often jammed, especially during the morning and afternoon rush hour.
This bridge connects Zemun and Borča and for the residents of New Belgrade, Zemun, Surčin, Batajnica and the municipalities on that side of the river, it’s a real relief when it comes to going to Borča and further to Pančevo and Zrenjanin. From Zemun, it’s reached at the “elbow” curve in Galenika neighborhood.
The bridge has one larger span for the passage of ships. With a total of six lanes and pedestrian and bicycle paths on both sides, it was opened in December 2014.
Belgrade bridges are best seen and experienced from the rivers, so if you get the opportunity for that amazing experience, use it.