Every Belgrader has to eat, right? In order to fulfil that natural need, food must be bought! Buying food and after that preparing it at home is a nice way to develop your shopping, cooking and creative skills and also to, potentially, prepare a tasty and a healthy meal for yourself and your family or friends. The most popular place to buy food and ingredients (although this statement could be more of a wish of the author of these lines than the truth, as the hypermarkets have taken the market over) and the place where you can feel the spirit of Belgrade in all its colors, crowd and gourmand are our numerous greenmarkets, with Kalenic greenmarket being our today’s target.
Kalenic greenmarket is located in Vračar, one of the central municipalities of Belgrade. It is named after Vlajko Kalenic, Belgrade’s 19th and 20th century businessman who lived in the area in which the greenmarket is located now and who, well, actually owned the area. He left most of his property to the public use, including the place where, around two decades after his death, our greenmarket was built. The year was 1927.
Kalenic greenmarket welcomes its guests every day during the week. It is popular on working days as well (with many Belgraders being unemployed), but the attendance peaks on Saturday and Sunday. Those days are not perfect as well – people sometimes work on Satruday, or they prefer going to church on Sunday, or they just want to use weekend mornings to sleep as long as possible (yes, of course, greenmarkets do not work whole day, and it is the best to visit them as early in the mornings as possible as the best goods could get sold out). But, in general, weekend mornings are our greenmarket mornings.
An average Vračar housewife wakes up early and, after drinking coffee and maybe executing some work at home, takes off to Kalenić greenmarket. During the walk she might stumble upon many different and interesting spots – from St Sava temple and monument dedicated to Serbian duke Petar Bojović, to stores which sell fish and aquariums or Chinese table sets. Once she gets to the greenmarket, the first thing she notices is the fresh and warm smell of fresh and warm bread and pastry products from one of the bakeries which surround the greenmarket. Then, she’ll step into a completely new and different world. Into a world of fruit and vegetables smiling from the counters, salesmen who stick to a good old marketing tactic – shouting and thereby advertising their goods, and cobble which will make a potential uninformed lady who came in high heels curse the day she bought them. In short – into a true street shopping atmosphere. She might buy, depending on the season, many different products: from domestic, such as plums, grapes or apples, to more exotic like pineapple or mango, or she will buy something for lunch – fish, meat or maybe pasta. She will probably bargain a little bit with the vendors, but as they are definitely the contractual party with more experience, it is unlikely that she will accomplish a significant price reduction. But, never mind – greenmarkets and in general a place where everything is cheaper than in regular markets. Definitely a place where you can shop well.
Make sure you don’t miss visiting Kalenic or any other Belgrade greenmarket, even if you visit out capital only for a couple of days.