today, we went on a walking tour of underground Belgrade. there is actually a city underneath Belgrade? why? well each area serves a different purpose! the first stop was called the roman well. although it is neither roman nor a well, it travels 60 km down.
story: the roman well was dug during the austrian-hungarian empire. they dug this well for their army and named it after the romans in hopes of becoming as great as the roman empire. after digging 60 km, they found no water and they gave up. there are many haunted stories behind the roman well that you can read about! Roman Well
snowy view below the Belgrade fortress
next stop was actually a bunker built right after the second world war in 1948! why after the war? Yugoslavia was actually having strained relations with Russia after refusing to join them in a communist union (Serbia was a part of communist Yugoslavia at this point). the bunkers were built for threat of being bombed by Stalin!
third stop was a storage underground with a rich history itself. believed to have been built by the austrian-hungarians for storage of their weapons, it now serves as an exhibit of Roman artifacts from the Balkan region!
fun fact: it was one of the top 5 nightclubs in the world at one point in time. the acoustics were fantastic inside the cavern. however, the volume of the music was causing the ceiling and walls to crack, making it very dangerous. they now have their raves in the lawn 🙂
a roman tombstone from approximately 200-300.
final stop was a tavern that was built as a wine cellar! once a functional wine cellar, it now serves as a tavern for tourists. it was also a public tavern at one, but the acoustics were again too good and neighbors were complaining about the noise. this was the end of the tour, and they served us some wonderful Serbian wine!
next on the agenda was lunch at Skadarlija.
brief history: this area of city center was home to many artists and performers. it was a cheaper area of town, and the artists loved to drink. the street boomed with taverns and restaurants. today, it is a very traditional Serbian restaurant where performers play music right in your ear.
fun story: when tipping the performer, you’re supposed to stick the bill to the forehead (say 1000 dinars). this is supposed to encourage them to play faster and with more energy. if so, they will sweat and the bill will remain on their forehead. if the bill falls off, they have not played well. you can take your money back!
a picture on the street of Skadarlija!
here’s a picture of me and Victor by the Belgrade fortress