Imagine a street with artists sitting in front of their canvas, Belgrade ladies walking in their classy dresses and gentlemen with hats on saying hello. Just walking around here will make you feel like you’re in 1830s… Kosancicev venac is the neighborhood that still lives in the time when it was built – two hundred years ago.
Kosancicev venac (venac meaning wreath) is a part of Belgrade, bordered by Knez Mihajlova Street, Kalemegdan, the Sava river and Brankova Street. After you turn left from the crowded and popular Knez Mihailova Street, you’ll enter a quiet part of the city center, not yet known to tourists, with the cobblestone streets and old buildings that bear the hallmarks of the old epochs, the hallmarks that never changed.
Here are a few points that you should mark on your map. This will be an interesting outing for one afternoon in Belgrade!
Kralja Petra Street and the oldest kafana in Belgrade
We wouldn’t be wrong if we called this street a true exhibition of architecture in open space, because as you walk here you’ll come across different style epochs. Going from Knez Mihailova Street towards the Sava river, you will see the oldest kafana (an “old school” Serbian restaurant where you can have traditional meals and drinks) in Belgrade, called “?” (Question Mark), which was established back in 1827. That was almost 200 years ago now! Having lunch here is an amazing experience, especially because it hasn’t changed its interior much ever since.
Here’s a story of how “?” got this name: Through the years, it changed its name many times, and guests couldn’t remember it, so they used to call it “Kafana next to the Cathedral Church”. Government thought that this name was inappropriate and asked the owner to change the name, so the owner, lacking inspiration, temporarily named the kafana “?”. The name hasn’t been changed ever since!
Next to Question Mark were the oldest pharmacy and bookstore in Belgrade.
Speaking of bookstores, close to Kralja Petra Street is one cute bookstore café – you can take a book and read it while you drink your tea. If you like the book, you can buy it.
Beautiful Cathedral Church of Belgrade
If you’ve ever seen a painting of Belgrade panorama, you’ve noticed a couple of symbols of Belgrade: The Winner, St Sava’s Temple and Cathedral Church. Cathedral Church is right here, in Kralja Petra Street, and it stands out by its typical bell tower. This is also a place where two of the greatest Serbian educators are buried– Vuk Karadžić and Dositej Obradović.
Kosancicev venac the Street, and New Belgrade panorama
It is the historical part of Belgrade that is full of the spirit of old Belgrade more than any other place. Upon the very entering the street you start feeling like a true poet – you’re gonna wish to sit in some of the cute café’s, read an old book and watch the fog rising above Sava and New Belgrade. Why not, stop by at Skica or Winery and enjoy the view!
Paris has Montmartre, and Belgrade has Kosančićev venac. It’s just that it is not yet as popular as Montmartre, so we suggest you enjoy it while there are not so many tourists around!
This is the street where the old library used to be, the library that was completely destroyed in bombing in 1941. The library building was very modern and beautiful. Almost 300.000 books were lost in that fire. Part of our history vanished with them.
Today, at the place where the old library used to be, a festival is held, which has an interesting tradition – exchanging old and used books.
Many cats that are sneaking around, looking for food, complete the feeling and also create a great symbolism for us, Belgrade CAT authors. We cuddled one of them, surprised that she even let us touch her.
Muzej primenjene umetnosti – Museum of Applied Art
This modern museum is at the other end of Kosancicev venac, as a contrast to a neighborhood where it is placed – full of history and spirit of the old town.
For more info about the present exhibitions, we suggest you visit museum website.
If you are tired after this walk through history, stop by at a modern cafeteria called Koffein, and try freshly ground domestic coffee blend!
Here’s a few more photos to inspire you for a visit: