One City, Two Rivers
Belgrade is one of the few cities that sits on two major European rivers – Sava and Danube. At the confluence of these rivers lies an ancient city, which is believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe and the world. It was conquered by the Celts in the 3rd century BC and given the name Singidunum. Later, along the river the Huns and the Eastern Goths came, and even later, the Byzantine conquerors arrived. When the Slavs finally settled, it was named Belgrade because of white stone from which it was built. Stone is no longer white, but the city is all the more exciting and interesting because of everything that it’s been through. What should be seen when you sail Belgrade rivers, read below.
· Vinča Culture
Since Paleolithic to this day, the area surrounding Sava and Danube is inhabited. Boat “Horizont” sails to Vinča on the Danube, where you can see archeological excavations in the museum, which clearly show that this site was a center of trade and crafts in the Neolithic era. Experience an authentic feel of the 5th century BC completed with stories from museum curator who will bring you closer to the lifestyle of this ancient culture.
· Great War Island
River island at the confluence of Sava and Danube is one of the Serbia’s natural resources and is uninhabited to this day. It is a nature reserve for over 150 bird species, and many of them are endangered. Among them, black storks, herons and over 40 species of ducks stand out. Some are migrants, and some are actually inhabited on the island all year round. Flora of the island is extremely rich. Elms, black poplar, hazelnut, callus, hawthorn grow on it. Bats, otters, weasels and marten beetles are also inhabitants of this island and are very rarely seen in Belgrade otherwise.
The only place where you can step on the island is the summer beach Lido across from the Hotel Jugoslavija. For now, there are no organized tours of the island, in order to preserve biodiversity.
· Gardoš Tower
The Tower of Sibinjanin Janko (The Tower of Janos Hunyadi) is located on the right Danube bank in the old part of Zemun. As the part of Zemun Fortress, it represents a cultural heritage. It was built during the Kingdom of Hungary and is one of the two preserved Millennium Towers from that time. The Millennium Towers were located on all four sides of the world on the outskirts of the Kingdom of Hungary and celebrated their thousand years rule in that area.
Gardoš Tower has been restored recently and is one of the most attractive destinations for Belgrade tourists. From the tower you can see Belgrade almost in the palm of your hand and the course of the river Danube until it reaches the horizon. In the tower itself, there is Atelier Čubrilo with a permanent exhibition dedicated to Milutin Milanković, which you cannot miss.
· Nebojša Tower
Nebojša Tower is part of the Belgrade Fortress and dates back to the Middle Ages. It was built as a cannon tower for city’s defense. Later, it was also a dungeon, and today it is a cultural monument and a museum dedicated to the history of the site. In it you can see Nebojša Tower through the centuries – a military facility, a dungeon. There is also an exhibition dedicated to Rigas Feraios, a great Greek revolutionary who was executed in this tower at the end of the 18th century.
An interesting fact is that people mistakenly call this place Nebojša’s Tower, thinking that it was named after a man by that name. In fact, it is a medieval adjective – brave, one who is not afraid. First Name later became popular, and name of the site became colloquial. Whatever you call it, the people of Belgrade will not get angry. Visit this Tower, find out the historical facts and expand your horizons.
Impressive in itself because it connects two large European rivers, Ušće itself represents a part of the city. The power of the Danube is strengthened by the flow of the Sava into it. There are also Great and Little War Island, as well as park and a promenade. Zemun quay connects with Ušće promenade, and numerous restaurants on houseboats offer a gastronomic paradise for everyone’s taste. Of course, you can also relax with coffee. It is important that you enjoy.
There used to be a white sandy beach in this part of town, which people of Belgrade affectionately called Nice, after the French city. It was located between Branko’s and Gazela bridge and was extremely shallow. It was Belgraders’ favorite beach, while in the middle of the Sava there was a barrier reef that was the goal for every excellent swimmer. In order to build an embankment, the beach was closed. The barrier reef was destroyed after the Second World War and the sand was used to irrigate the wetlands and build Novi Beograd, new part of Belgrade.
Today, Ušće is a popular place for people who watch birds, because it is possible to see rare specimens that live on Great and Little War Island. You can see all the birds seen at this locality on Ebird Hotspot website.
• Bridges of Belgrade
Bridges connect the two riverbanks of Belgrade and are an unavoidable part of life in the city. It is best to avoid them in rush hour and watch them from the boat. There is a total of 10 – 8 on Sava and 2 on Danube. Not all of them are open for road traffic, so be careful if you planned to go through them. Some of them can be crossed on foot, so if you are not afraid of heights, walk along Branko’s bridge and feel the pulse of the city underneath your feet. The experience is unique.
· Ada Međica
Sava Island on the edge of the Belgrade beach Ada Ciganlija, Međica is an escape from the city. Today, private houseboats are much wanted oasis for many during hot summer days. There are many people who enjoy a peaceful port, but it hasn’t always been like that. In the sixties, the urban Belgrade Robinson Crusoe revolted and made his refuge in a tree house. The authorities at the time did not approve of that, but as a large number of young people gathered there, it became an ideal place for a weekend vacation. You don’t leave the city, and yet you’re not in the center of the city hustle.
Ada Međica is rich in flora and fauna, and many species are rare and protected. Insects are also on that list. Woodpeckers, pheasants, blue tentacles and wild geese attract visitors.
These are just some of the locations you should not miss when in Belgrade. We emphasized rivers and sites we sail along, but we definitely recommend that you explore Belgrade in detail. While Danube with Sava flows towards the Black Sea, you relax and enjoy all the beauty in front of you.