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  Psychogeographical Portrait
Pedestrian Area,
Beograd, Srbija

[Open Trg Republike Square in full screen]

  Pedestrianized area of
downtown Beograd, Serbia
started with Knez Mihailo Street
back in 1960. Initially street
was just closed for motorized traffic, initially on Saturday evenings, and eventually completely reconstructed
in 1980.

  Trg Republike is starting point of this tour,
specifically monument to Knez Mihajlo, Serbian ruler from 1839 to 1842, and then again between 1860 and 1868 when he was assassinated.

Surrounding pedestrianized ares
are full of very attractive patios.

Studentski Trg, oldest trg in Beograd.
Along the street reproductions from the
nearby National Musem are hang on the
walls and street vendors are selling
antic books.

Delijska cesma [drinking water fountain] was reconstructed from the old photos and it is now fully functional and loved.

Spasicev Pasaz consisting of two building on opposite sides and connecting passage was built in 1913 by rich Beograd's merchant Nikola Spasic.

  Trg Republike is an old square in the downtown Beograd, built on a previously empty lot in front of the main gate of the Beograd fortress [middle of the map bellow].

National theater, national museum and some other important buildings are on this square. Main venue for public gatherings, protests, celebrations even concerts. Trg Republike, is still today the main dating space, in a same way as when we were young many years ago.

In 1807, during the Austrian occupation, Aleksander Platz was the name for this section of the modern day Republic Square.

The earliest recorded mention of the area is quite dreary, as an execution spot for local rebels. As you can see on the map bellow from 1878 square already existed except that it was expanded after 1949 when numerous older buildings were demolished.

Panorama above was taken around midnight and shows how well used and loved this space is today. Well lit, with sound of water and a lot of available enjoyment. The large letters on the building in the background spell out “Cultural Center of Beograd”, which this square truly is. There is an excelent gallery in that buildung itself [where I exhibited many years ago] and several significant others along this walk – stroll – dérive, call it as you please.

This space is in the same pedestrian area, connected to several other squares [Trg Republike, Studentski Trg, Delijska Cesma, Spasicev Pasaz and Plato].

Whole area is very cleverly planned and some of the oldest structures, that survived numerous destructions last one NATO bombing of Beograd in 1999, are blended perfectly with contemporary architecture.

But look at the people in this street, beautiful, aren't they? That's a reall value of public spaces like this one.

Studentski Trg [Student's square – top middle on the map bellow]] is the oldest square in Beograd, created in 1824 when the first attempt to regulate the city streets was made. Previous to that it was the “grand market” inside a fortress, on the main road to Carigrad (now Istanbul). Today it has lost most of its functions and it is pleasant only during the night when all the busses are gone.

The square is the last stop for all busses serving downtown Beograd. Its name refers to several buildings of Beograd University and the rectorate built in 1893.

Other buildings are the Ethnographic museum, a few concert halls and a charming park on the spot where an old Turkish cemetery remained until 1860.

The square is connected to the main pedestrian area of the Knez Mihajlo street with very pleasant piazzetta called Plato. It was named Plato after one of the best bookstore in Beograd. Over time it become a cult place where famous writers, musicians and sometimes even politicians could be frequently found.

Plaza is incorporating few cafes, antique and second hand booksellers and remains of the Roman bath. Bath was excavated when the main structure of the square, building of the Belgrade University, School of Philosophy was built.

It was created by one of my favourite professors Arch. Sveltislav Licina in 1977. Monument to Petar II Petrovic Njegos philosopher and ruler of the neighbouring state of Montenegro is also on the Plato.

Today it is main gathering space for the students of the nearby schools and book lovers in Belgrade and beyond.

Connected to the plato is a small public space around drinking water fauntain [Delijska cesma] reconstructed from the old photos that stood there until 1889 when it was first time destroyed. The next one was at the same spot until 1913 when the still standing building of the Serbian Academy of Sciences was constructed.

At the first block of the Knez Mihajlo street there is a passage called Spasicev Pasaz with special significance for me.

For 20 years between 1960 and 1981 I used to live here. Most of my youth and teenage memories are connected to this downtown location. In 2001 underground area and surrounding inner yards are converted to shopping mall. Unbelievable underground space, used today for this shopping centre, belonged to the buildings that stud on this spot before being destroyed by German bombs at the beginning of the second world war.

After the war new building was erected on the foundation of the old one.

Today this inner court, connecting busy street and main parking garage with pedestrianized area of the downtown is very busy day and night. Don't be fooled with the emptiness on this photo. This photos were taken on the very hot sunday morning. On the small photo right you can see original look of this passage when it was built in 1913 by rich Beograd's merchant Nikola Spasic.

There is another story connecting this space with some of my memories and experiences around the world. If you are interested you can read it here on my psychographs site.

With few more photos I'll try to describe the specific atmosphere in this ever expanding pedestrian area.

At the begining in 1960 it was popular corso [street for walking and meeting], then in 1970 when it was converted to the strictly pedestrian street it was meet with resistance and protests around delivery convenience and effect to the local bussines. In 1980 when very smart and atractive reconstruction started, after inital problems and disruptions, whole Beograd and visitors fell in love with it.

It is still expanding to the surrounding streets encouraged by everybody, and last visit in 2016 to the area confirmed that the expectation are fullfiled.

This should be a lecture, specially to the North American cities, how downtown can be revitalized by leaving it to pedestrians.

    On our map of Beograd from 1878 most of the streets and squares are defined and pedestrian area we are talking about is marked in light blue. Red is marking urban squares in our collection and dark blue line is marking city walls that were mostly removed before time when this map was made.  
  Psychogeographical Portrait
Pedestrian Area,
Beograd, Srbija

[Open Plato Square in full screen]

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Last time updated on February 15, 2019 22:50