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Key to the City

Visit Serbia with a Designer Who Grew Up There

Key to the City BY courtney conway 08/15/2018

 

The now-Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Jovana Djuric doesn’t get to go home to Serbia as often as she’d like, so when she is there, she soaks in as much of the stunning nature, super fresh food, and charming culture as she can. “We gained our independence as a country in the late 14th century, and then we were conquered by the Turks for 500 years. So there is a very large influence of Middle Eastern culture in our food, music, and way of life,” Jovana explains. “When you go there, you really step into another era.” If that appeals to you as much as it does to us, plan your trip to this breathtaking place (that’s not already all over your friends’ Instagrams!) and use what follows as your guide.

 

Stay

SQUARE NINE HOTEL BELGRADE

“Once you land, stay couple of days in Belgrade to absorb the life of the Serbian capital. This is my favorite hotel, located in the center of the city which is also historical center and university center. The college where I studied art history is just around the corner! It’s refined and minimal and yet still imbued with all things traditional.”

 

HOTEL MOSKVA

“This hotel is from an earlier era, before all the new and cool hotels sprouted up. It’s another one of my favorites in the center of the city, with a large outside café right on the street that is great for people watching.”

 

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Eat

ZLATNI BOKAL

“A lot of the food in Serbia is influenced by Turkish and Hungarian food. Turkish food is pretty straightforward, lots of grilled meats and fresh salads. The historical area called Skadarlija has so many small restaurants, like Zlatni Bokal. It’s been famous since the Bohemian times of the late nineteenth century, and it’s where our literary and art greats used to go and spend their time debating and drinking. Cobblestone streets, authentic interiors, music from that time, and great food make this still a gem, and not a tourist trap, because locals still spend their time there.”

COMUNALE

“For the nightlife and music, another great area is called Savamala. Any spot you choose there it is great. Try Comunale, or you can go bar-hopping.”

 

Do Things

ETHNO VILLAGES

“There are so many rivers and mountains to visit, and it makes for a beautiful road trip. Last time, I took a drive down to the Ethno Villages in Uvac, which is a beautiful nature park with the river going through it.”

 

ZLATIBOR MOUNTAIN

“On your way down, you go over the mountain Zlatibor, famous for the traditional foods like kaymak, a type of thick clotted cream, and roasted lamb. The nature is pristine, and the mountain hills have beautiful meadows with many healing herbs that a lot of people use.”

 

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MILEŠEVA MONASTERY

“Famous for its White Angel fresco, Mileševa Monastery is one of those places that takes you to another era and into the meditative place of the past that merges with the present. It is just so beautiful and peaceful to be in the presence of it.”

 

AVALA TOWER

“As you drive out of the Belgrade and take the side road over the Mountain of Avala, you can see Avala Toranj (or Avala Tower), an example of Brutalist architecture, and on the way down the mountain to Uvac, you can visit the monuments of WWII.”

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