Slavija square is probably one of the ugliest, busiest and most disorganized squares in the world. If there is a central spot in Belgrade that illustrates how unkind history was to our capital (and just how many drivers have no idea how to behave in a roundabout) it’s got to be Slavija Square. So, why would anyone in their right mind want an apartment there?
Firstly, because the toponym actually encircles a slightly wider area, which treasures quite a bit of Volksgeist. Secondly, it’s easy to get to almost all other parts of the city from there, so if you’re looking for a comfy spot in Belgrade for six at a good price, we have got a little something in Slavija to offer. This little piece of text will attempt to cover both topics. We begin with the apartment and move on to the places worth seeing afterwards.
Slavija Square in Belgrade
A bit on historic irony
Most Belgraders are oblivious to the fact that the center of Slavija square is a not just a temporary residence of the bust, but also of the remains of the uber-hipster Comrade Dimitrije Tucović (the whole square bore his name for almost fifty years). For those unacquainted with his work, it would suffice to say that he was the guy who was a socialist and a “give Kosovo to the Albanians” advocate long before it became mainstream. Now, he probably hasn’t had much rest in there, because if the traffic noise didn’t disturb his eternal sleep, then the bitter irony of the opening of the first McDonald’s restaurant behind the iron curtain right across the street from him in 1990, definitely must have had.
The first thing you’ll notice about Slavija is that it seems kind of truncated, as if parts of it are missing. This is indeed the case.
For one there is the large gaping hole in the urban landscape, named Mitich’s Hole that is nowadays a park. It was supposed to be the spot of a largest department store in this part of Europe almost a century ago, but due to a streak of turmoils it never never came to fruition. You can read more about it in our slang toponymy dictionary.
Second is the open air towed cars lot. Now if Mitich’s hole looks like an alien spaceship dropping, this one resembles a dimensional rift into a parallel universe of horrendously bad taste (mostly because the stuff that used to stand there beforehand was far more sensible). The very first building erected there was the Peace Hall, a cultural center built by Mr Fransis Mackenzie. Mr Mackenzie played an important role in Belgrade’s urban development and the street our apartment near Slavia is in actually named after him. He was very successful in his endeavours to urbanize Vračar, which is why for many years, Belgrader’s referred to this part of town as Englishtown (although Mackenzie himself was quite Scottish). His efforts to ascend Serbian political culture to a slightly higher level were not so fruitful. Being a Nazarene missionary, he was a staunch adversary of kafanas and despised Serbian tendency to do business and politics there. As soon as Mackenzie departed, the Peace Hall was turned into a cinema with an adjunct kafana next to it. In the twentieth century it was also a hub of socialists in Belgrade. The building was eventually demolished in 1990, in spite of its cultural heritage value, and gave way to the needs of the quintessential evil – the Parking Service. .
Apartment for a day near Slavija
Should you happen to want a Belgrade apartment for a day near Slavija, we wholeheartedly recommend Alexandria. The apartment was named back in the days, when we thought it a good practice to name apartments in Belgrade after the world famous cities. In the meantime, experience led us to consider other branding options for apartments as far more feasible (and search engine friendly, for that matter), but even then we were thinking of the antique city and not its modern day dilapidated heir that is ruining the old glory. Truth be told, apartment Alexandria is also approaching antiquity in terms of Belgrade short term rentals aging criteria, but owing to the constant efforts of RENTASTAN’s interior design team, it’s had at least three successful face-lifts that would leave Cher green with envy.
This snuggled abode in Makenzijeva street, a three minute walk from Slavija and St Sava Temple, provides you with enough room and amenities for a comfortable short or medium term stay in Belgrade. The first of these amenities is its own parking spot, which is useful and very uncommon feature in this part of town. It’s a short walk away from the apartment in a closed space, so you ought not worry about your vehicle. On the downside, it is not particularly representative, and even a B class vehicle might struggle to get into it. However, should you manage to maneuver it properly, it will save you additional 10 euros (as the daily parking ticket is 15)
As for the apartment, the spacious corridor behind the entrance door has a standard coat and shoe rack and a large sliding door wardrobe behind it. On the right hand side, it leads to the one of the two bedrooms which is secluded from the rest of the apartment. It hasn’t got much inside, apart from a single bed but may prove quite useful if one person in your entourage requires a bit more privacy.
Behind the door, at end of the antechamber is a spacious and bright living room, which, for the most part, is the highlight of this apartment for a day near Slavija. Its most prominent features are the layered ceilings with halogen luminaries and a really large, L-shaped sectional beige ottoman, equally fine for sleeping and chilling. The room has an access to a small, fully glazed balcony that overlooks the backyard. It might come in handy as a spot for a morning coffee or an instant prison for the smokers in your entourage.The dining area is technically the part of the living room albeit behind the arched passageway. The round table and four comfortable dining chairs serve as a functional partition to the compact and decently equipped kitchen.
The second door leads you to the sleeping and bathing area of the apartment. The left hand side is reserved for the comparatively spacious bathroom. Coated in soothing light grey tiles, it is furnished with a shower cabin and has a space reserved for the laundry. As it also holds the only toilet, it might get a bit hectic in the mornings when all six guests are in the apartment. The last in the row is the second, master bedroom. It has two beds for three people, a built-in wardrobe and two cute night stands to serve all the people sleeping there.
To sum it all up:
PROS of this apartment for a day near Slavija
1. It accommodates six people at a starting price lower than 9 euros per person
2. It has a flexible sleeping arrangement that will suit many different types of visitors
3. It is suitable for medium term and longer term stays as it has got a washing machine and quite a bit of wardrobe space
CONS of this apartment for a day near Slavija
1. It has a single bathroom and the toilet is in it as well. Might become a bit messy during mornings if all six guests are present and awake.
2. The parking spot is a bit away from the building, charged extra, and crammed.
When all is said and done, this apartment near Slavija is among the affordable peers in Belgrade’s short term rental market, and a fine spot for four, which can accommodate two more. If we were to recommend it to specific groups of people those would definitely be families or groups of young adult friends, on a journey through Belgrade.
So if all of the above-metioned fits your criteria, you may proceed to book it here. If you need a bit more persuasion or just want to know more about this part of Belgrade do proceed skimming through our ramblings.
A Day near Slavija?
Saint Sava Temple
We have dedicated a whole series of articles to this landmark, so if you can read and understand half-academic Serbian, feel free to check it out. If not, we’ll tell you that it’s among the largest Christian Orthodox Temples in the world, dedicated to Saint Sava the Illuminator, a historical figure revered by the Serbs and respected by other peoples of the Balkans. The Temple took approximately 70 years in the making and its interior is still quite barren as the ambitions of the builders and their monetary means stand in screaming discrepancy. The plateau in front of is congregation ground during Orthodox Christmas and Old New Year as well as a nice park in the summer. Worth a visit.
This place has a unique atmosphere. At the same time it has a unique, mysterious, artistic and intriguingly nice ambiance, and once you actually get there, you may be a wee bit overwhelmed as to where to look ( the stunning trendsetting youth of Vračar or the equally appealing interior).
Mask is quite original in a sense that everything you see in it you may buy (at least as far as the furnishings are concerned). The film noir atmosphere predominant in the cafe and the lovely back garden covered in greenery. The food and drinks are more or less sensibly priced and damn fine (albeit their Long Island Ice Tea gets a wee bit watered down because of the excessive ice they put in it).
Some of us who grew in socialism, always felt awkwardly melancholic when presented with Edward Hopper’s Night Hawks. Namely, it felt like one of those places that you will only ever get to see in movies. Twenty years later that has changed and Intergalactic Diner transcends this experience into local frames….. The staff are friendly and all meals come with fries,onion rings and two types of dipping. By all means try the toffee shake as it will transform your perception of sweet forever after. And staying in Belgrade apartment for a day near Slavija, makes the experience even more accessible.
One thing many a foreign visitor has noticed, is that it’s almost impossible to walk for more than two hundred meters trough the center of Belgrade and not run into a bakery, an exchange office or a pharmacy. Although the perception of locals as dough devouring, euro-stashing hypochondriacs has a certain plausibility, the reasons for their omnipresence has a lot more to do with the tax system than anything else. However, the tradition of pastry shops in Serbia is a long one, seemingly impervious to the penetration of corporate chains. Belgrade has quite a few bakeries that have became brands, and one of them just a hundred meters away from Slavija roundabout, down Nemanjina street. It boast over 113 years of tradition – and it’s called Trpkovich after the family name of the founder.
There are basically two things you’ll be able to recognize it by. The first is red wrought iron cloister hanging above the entrance embelished with a number of small lanterns. The second is the long queue of people who are waiting in the burek line which made the bakery famous in the first place. If you don’t want to treat your palate with a century old flavour you can skip the queue and go for pretty much anything else you lay your eyes on – as it’s guaranteed to be quite delicious. Mantijas (meat pies) covered in garlic and yogurt dressing are also quite amazing.
Those are indeed just some of our suggestions of what you may do if you decide to stay in our apartment for a day near Slavija. Your experience of Belgrade is entirely up to you, and this humble opinions of ours are given to hopefully inspire you.