Wook

Wook Monument and the underground
As a spatial designation in Belgrade slang Wook relates to the neighbourhood in Zvezdara known as Wook’s Monument – Belgraders token of appreciation to Vuk Stefanović Karadžić  (person held accountable for institutionalization of slang  into an official language). When a Belgrader tells you it's near Wook they refer to the whole neighbourhood around Wook’s monument, including the big three science faculties, Belgrade’s State Institute for hyper production of Higher Education Diplomas (also known as Belgrade Business School) and the first Student Hall of residence in this part of the world. Wook  also spreads well below the surface as the largest (of the two) underground stations of Belgrade’s Tube is there. The intricate network of tunnels below the ground hosts the shopping mall “Metro”, which happened to become the largest unofficial public toilet in Belgrade. The shops amount to a half dozen Internet playrooms (of considerable proportions) and a couple of alternative night clubs

On a subtler plane, this toponym is a bright example of the brutal cynicsm inherent to Belgraders humour.  During Socialism, Serbia has nurtured a fine tradition of public branding of geeks. Pupils of elementary schools with extraordinary academical accomplishments used to receive Wook’s Diploma as a recognition. In jargon, they’re called Wookowtsi (Wook’s kids), and were the representatives of the future elite of the society. During the 1990s, which were the economic and social collapse of the former state, the fence surrounding the monument towards King Alexanders Boulevard, used to be crowded by hordes of daylabourers. Those unfortunate fellows from the outskirts of the capital would swarm there hoping to get a meager wage for a hard day’s work in the black physical labour market. Ironically, and somewhat ominously (as the general stance of the public towards education has steadily declined ever since) they were also dubbed Wookovtsi.     

Apart from this dreary connotion, the area at Wooks is quite nice – especially since the whole Boulevard was renovated. 

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