Old Belgrade: Photographs from the 1920’s and 1930’s (Part 1)

I’ve seen many pictures of old Belgrade and I happen to have a decent family collection of them right here at home. Yet I have never seen the likes of those I ran into a couple of evenings ago on Ivan’s “Unkool” blog (via Belgraded.com again). I spent at least an hour going over them and reading up on some of the locations I knew less about. Ivan has been kind enough to allow me to copy and translate the photos and his blog post to my blog and I’ve taken the liberty of rearranging and adding some explanatory text to each of the photos. As there is a total of 19 wonderful photographs in the original post and much to be said on most of them, I will be dividing this post into two or three parts. I’ll begin with the translation of the original post on “Unkool” and the first set of photographs:

“Since it’s been a long, long, long while since I’ve written here and even longer since I’ve posted some photos of old Belgrade, either from my archive or found on the Internet, I’ve decided to make amends for that with some exceptional material.  So far there have been some photos of Belgrade here in high resolution, but you haven’t seen this kind of quality yet. Americans have Shorpy [Photo Archive] for their photos, while we unfortunately still don’t have a unique site on which people could post quality old photographs, but rather have to make do and find other ways to do this on-line. All the photographs in this post are here thanks to Vukoman and all odes for this post are directed at him. Without further ado, let’s move on to the photos.” (see original post with full set of photos here)

University Park / Student’s Square
(Univerzitetski park / Studentski Trg)

View of the market where the University Park stands today

View of the market where the University Park stands today

A Roman forum was located here from the late 1st to the mid 5th century AD, surrounded by thermae.  During the Ottoman Empire, it became the location of a Turkish cemetery, which was removed in the first half of the 19th century and a market was placed there. Only a couple of decades later, Belgrade’s first urban planner, Emilijan Josimović, decided to reduce the space of the market and make room for a park dedicated to Josif Pančić, botanist and first President of the Serbian Royal Academy.

View from the University Park

View from the University Park

The park continues to grow and the market is entirely torn down by the late 1930’s, when the statue of Dositej Obradović, 18th century Serbian reformist and educator, was moved here from Kalemegdan in 1897. The baroque balustrade and fences, seen in the second photograph, were made in the same year and still stand today.

The first gardens of University Park

The first gardens of University Park

University Library “Svetozar Marković”
(Univerzitetska biblioteka “Svetozar Marković”)

University Library in Belgrade

University Library in Belgrade

In the early 1920’s, through the ingenuity and proposal of through a Serbian diplomat in Washington DC, Slavko Grujić, Ph.D., The Carnegie Foundation for Advancement in Teaching donated the first USD 100K to the Serbian government for the construction of the University Library in Belgrade. Knowing there was great necessity for an institution of this kind in the country, the Dean of the University of Belgrade at the time, Professor Slobodan Jovanović, Ph.D. went to great lengths to collect more funds through personal and professional resources. Two University professors, architects Dragutin Đorđević and Nikola Neštorović, volunteered their time to design the building and the Library opened its doors on May 24th, 1926. It remains one of the largest libraries in the Balkans.

Hotel “Moskva” & Terazije Square
(Hotel “Moskva” & Terazijski trg)

View of Hotel "Moskva" from Terazije

View of Hotel "Moskva" from Terazije

Hotel “Moskva”, designed by architect Jovan Ilkić, was built in 1906 and remains one of the architectural gems of Belgrade. The Hotel reached a golden era just around the time this picture was taken. The Hotel is located on Belgrade’s downtown Terazije Square.

Procession on Terazije

Procession on Terazije

During the rule of the Ottoman Empire, this became a central spot for craftsmen and their shops and remained so until the 1840’s. The Ottomans devised a way to bring fresh water to all areas of the city from the natural springs of Veliki Mokri Lug (Great Wet Grove). This watering system was connected by a chain of towers, one of which was where the Terazije Fountain is today. The word “terazije” comes from the Turkish word for water scales, “terazi”.

Radio Belgrade & “Politika” Building
(Radio Beograd & zgrada “Politike”)

In front of the "Politika" buiding, view of Radio Belgrade

In front of the "Politika" buiding, view of Radio Belgrade

The “Politika” newspaper, founded in 1904 by Vladislav Ribnikar, is one of the oldest dailies in the Balkans. The daily has had it’s headquarters in Makedonska Street for nearly a century while the building on the cross section of Makedonska, Hilandarska and Svetogorska streets has been home to Radio Belgrade since it was constructed in 1931. The building was designed by architect Bogdan Nestorović and represents one of the first true examples of modernism in Belgrade. Radio Belgrade has been on the air since 1929.

View of Radio Belgrade and Hilandarska Street

View of Radio Belgrade and Hilandarska Street

6 responses to “Old Belgrade: Photographs from the 1920’s and 1930’s (Part 1)

  1. Super je ispalo, nadam se da ću se ovih dana nakaniti da okačim drugu ediciju pa ti prethodno javljam, a veruj mi da fotki ima za mnoooooooooooooogo, mnoooooooooogo postova

  2. Drago mi je da ti se dopada🙂 Hoćeš da ti šaljem srpsku verziju teksta na mail? Mogli bi i ovi naši ponešto da nauče o Beogradu😉

  3. Odlično, samo tako nastavite (oboje🙂
    Btw, ja učim o Beogradu i na engleskom😉 right here.

  4. Odlicno i lijepo.
    Beograd je uvijek bio VELIK i ZNACAJAN.

  5. I to što kažeš. Ko hoće da nauči, će da nauči i na stranjskom ako treba😉

  6. Hvala, Zeljko. Bice opet dobrih novih/starih vremena!