Belgrade Must Be Loved
If you are a newcomer or a passer-by, be careful with this city. It will enchant you by surprise and you will always have to come back. If you are born or live here, if you didn’t’ have a choice or if this is exactly what you have chosen, it is an obligation. Obligation to love Belgrade and everything in it, locals and guests. And that is already as if you were working in the Tourist organization of Belgrade

By: Miodrag Popović

When you are born in Belgrade, you don’t have much choice. You were born here, you will stay here forever, it is your destiny. When you are born in Belgrade, come to terms with the fact that everyone will envy you. And you will also, if you had to go somewhere, envy the most those who stayed inn Belgrade. Born in Belgrade, you realize quickly that you are proud of the coincidence that you came to this world exactly here. You are aware that already in your lifetime Belgrade will change and that it will certainly be demolished, so from earliest childhood you remember and nurture your Belgrade, and you keep it in yourself for your children and everybody who come here in good faith. To those who were conquering it, it has remained forever in their eyes, as a curse and a dream that never completely comes true.
In the year when we celebrate one hundredth anniversary of the day when the first gun was fired from ship ”Bodrog” on Belgrade, which started World War One, we rediscover the history in which this city was truly a crossroads of the worlds. Historically speaking, Belgrade is a cosmopolitan city, forever defined by his position, eclectic by its nature, wide in geographical and every other sense. The city that remembers a lot, even the relatives and ancestors of those who are today coming to visit. That is why these people always find themselves here, on Kalemegdan or any other place.
In modern times looked through Google or Facebook, Belgrade looks just as beautiful when it is photographed and described by those who come here and those who live here. Last year, this city was visited by 638,179 tourists from the entire world. In comparison with 2012, it is 15 percent more. In December last year, there were 24 percent of guests from abroad more that in the same period of the previous year. Someone will say, New Year is in December, no wonder that there were so many tourists. Just as a reminder, New Year comes every year, and it is quite possible that last year it arrived in approximately the same time. Anyway, we earned almost 700 million Euros from tourists last year in Belgrade, and that is only what we were able to count. It seems to me that, besides money, we also earned good reputation, because Belgrade is one of the most attractive tourist destinations, and not only in Europe. At least this is how we are seen by reporters who visited us recently.


Belgrade is a city that changes and develops rapidly. The city where everybody is welcome. The city that leaves nobody indifferent. The city of culture. Full of inspiration. The city of sports and enjoyment, festivals and music, the most dynamic night life and entertainment in u Europe. An inexhaustible source of energy. Belgrade is on the crossroads of European roads and it celebrates the unique combination of culture, architecture, natural unity of eastern passion and European refinement. It is filled with positive energy of people, love, joy, images and sounds. Everybody comes back to Belgrade, with a reason.
The capital of Serbia, third largest city in Southeast Europe, after Istanbul and Athens. It has a population of a little over 1,700,000. Belgrade is the city of young people. More than 40 percent of people in Belgrade are between 15 and 44 years old. The spirit of Belgrade is something that every Belgrader will gladly talk. Spontaneous and in mood for entertainment, many Belgraders will claim that they are true hedonists, that they know everything about good food, wine, music. Some of them really do.
Belgraders enjoys everybody and everything, pleasant conversations and long walks, drinking of morning coffee, non-working days, they are happy when in the bakery they find hot bread fresh from the oven. They like to be on the road and that is why the streets, promenades, cafes, restaurants and shops are always full of people. Even more importantly, Belgraders look forward to everybody. That is why guests of Belgrade realize that it is maybe the most important to get to know Belgraders in Belgrade.
In occasions like this, more or less in a place like this, in is a convention that the author of the text should recommend what must be seen, where people should go and what they should try in Belgrade. Personally, I am from Lekino, or Pašino brdo. That part of Belgrade, during my childhood, was the end of the world. As Belgrade was spreading, Lekino brdo, formerly comfortably sunk in the pastoral atmosphere of the suburbs, are now in a wider centre. Although, at least for now, it is not known as a place of importance, it has kept its specific charm. I, and several thousand of people who live in this part of the city, believe that Lekino brdo is worth visiting, thanks to local-patriotism, very specific to Belgraders, because everybody will tell you that their part of the city is the most beautiful and most interesting. Every part of Belgrade nurtures its legends, its urban stories, its history, and so Belgrade lives many lives and has many histories.
Still, one should be objective and practical and say that this year the Tourist Organization of Belgrade will specially promote and affirm Ada Ciganlija, Savamala, Kalemegdan Fortress, as well as everything else that represents a unique feature of Belgrade attractive for tourists, people who are by default curious and prone to travel.


In the upcoming period, we will try tor return to Belgrade what has belonged to it forever, such as Belgrade taverns, music that exists only in Belgrade, pastry shops, bakeries we used to visit in the time when the last taverns would close, because all these think that we have forgotten bring us back to ourselves, and the way we are, you will not believe it, we are attractive to the entire world. It is nice and necessary to have the world in Belgrade, to have sushi bars, international restaurants, but it is even more necessary that the world comes to Belgrade. And it will come for everything that exists only here and in us.
And, once again, the year ahead of us will prove that we are worthy of Belgrade that has always been a place where people greet one another in the street and drink Belgrade coffee with their neighbors, where everything is shared with other people, and especially what you like the most. In such a Belgrade tourists will come and will always return there, partially because of Belgrade, and partially because of us.
If you happened to be born u in Belgrade or if you live in it, if you didn’t have a choice or this is exactly what you have chosen, it is an obligation. Obligation to love Belgrade and everybody in it, locals and guests. And that is already as if you were working in the Tourist organization of Belgrade. s

(The author is the director of the Tourist organization of Belgrade)


For a Year of Optimism
The year ahead of us, maybe more than any other year in recent history, should be the year of optimism, year in which we will prove that not everything is about money, because there is something also in creativity and positive atmosphere. We hope to create this atmosphere thanks to what we have already prepared or are preparing. Application ”Belgrade Speaking”, organized city tours, open tourist buses, discovering attractive sites, sometimes unexpected even for people from Belgrade, and finally a large number of events, concerts, exhibitions.


Tourism on the Rivers
The fact is that the city lives on two big rivers. It is high time that we go down to their banks, even during the day and not only at night, which will create conciliations in which tourism in Belgrade will become equally important for everybody and not only for those who are involved with it in this or that way.


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