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Traveling to Belgrade, Serbia

Not one to deny its tumultuous past, the Serbian capital of Belgrade is putting its troubled decades behind it and emerging as one of the most up-and-coming cities in Europe. Situated at the joining of the Danube and Sava rivers, Belgrade has a history dating back nearly two and a half thousand years. Long the epicentre of Serbian culture and power, Belgraders will be the first to acknowledge that the twentieth century wasn’t overly friendly to the city. From the communist regimes in the years that Belgrade served as the capital of Yugoslavia to the now-infamous presidency of Slobodan Milošević, Belgrade Serbia Belgrade is certainly no stranger to adversity. However, with the 21st century came a new era of freedom and prosperity for Belgrade and Serbia as a whole, and the tribulations of the past have only served to strengthen the character and uniqueness of both the city and her citizens, and today Belgrade enjoys the status of being one of the premier economic and cultural centers of south-eastern Europe, and a travel destination not to be missed.

The city population of Belgrade is over 1.5 million people, making the city a bustling metropolis. Sightseeing opportunities abound all across the relatively compact city center of Belgrade, making it easy and convenient to walk nearly anywhere you need to go. Republic Square is located directly in the middle of the city, making it a natural starting point for your Belgrade expedition. You will notice an interesting blend of architecture throughout the area, with ornate buildings dating back many centuries at odds with the Soviet-esque, brutal block-style buildings that are the legacy of rule during the twentieth century. Belgrade is a city of grand squares, and indeed many of these are in and of themselves an attraction. Should you need to venture out of walking distance, the area also features a popular tram system. Navigating the city is also easier than it may first appear to be, and English is commonly spoken throughout the city, especially by younger Belgraders.

<The most important ancient monuments in the city can be found on the grounds of Belgrade Fortress. While there has been a fortress in one form or another on the grounds since the third century BC, the site we see today was originally constructed by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in 535 A.D., the fortress is located in the center of Belgrade in a beautiful, expansive park located directly at the confluence of the Saka and Danube rivers. The most well-preserved section of the fortress is called the Kalemegdan Citadel, and is the focal point of the grounds. For many centuries, the whole of Belgrade existed within the walls of the citadel, and it remains a major landmark for the city to this day. Continuing the rich historical offerings of the city are the Serbian National Museum, which houses hundreds of thousands of works of art from both Serbian and Western European artists including Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso. However, if you’re after something more local, the Historical Museum of Serbia, located next door to the country’s National Assembly, has the world’s most expansive collection of Serbian art and historical artifacts dating back more than two thousand years. If that isn’t enough, travel to Belgrade would not be complete without a trip to St Sava Church, the largest Eastern Orthodox church in the entire world.

Belgrade also features some of the tastiest food in south east Europe. Carnivores can rejoice in the ubiquitous Burek, which are pastries that include anything from meat and cheese to vegetables and fruits. Also not to be missed is ćevapi, which are packages of minced meat which are grilled street-side and spiced to taste. Belgraders also have a love of good beer and wine, and travellers will be very pleased with the price of delicious, Serbian-brewed lagers available all across the city. When at a pub in Belgrade, it is quite common and accepted to look your companions in the eye as you clink your glasses and let out an enthusiastic “Živeli!” (Cheers). Belgrade also has a booming and historic cafe St Sava Church Serbiaculture, which is most evident in the quaint and remarkably picturesque Bohemian quarter of Skadarlija, whose cafe and artist-lined streets have often been compared to similar districts in Paris and Prague. The entire neighbourhood is pedestrianized as well, only adding to the timeless quality of the winding, cobblestone streets.

It is often said that the hottest fire forges the strongest steel. In no place is this more apparent than Belgrade. The character and uniqueness of the city, combined with the warmth and welcoming of Serbian hospitality despite decades of adversity, make Belgrade a truly one-of-a-kind destination. In addition to the plentiful and memorable attractions, Belgrade remains a very budget-friendly destination, making it ideal for the young traveller. In Belgrade you find an irrepressible spirit, as evidenced by the numerous music festivals and art exhibitions you’ll find scattered about the city throughout the year. The city is continuing to go about the exciting and invigorating process of re-discovering and re-defining its identity, not shackled to the past, but rather looking forward to the bright future. As a traveller in this day and age, it is truly a unique opportunity to visit this captivating city and be able to witness this re-birth first hand.

Traveling to Sofia Bulgaria

Sofia Bulgaria
Sights of Sofia

As the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia is a city with a population of well over one million residents. Situated in the western reaches of Bulgaria, Sofia is a city well worth the travel time to get there – you will marvel at its beauty. The city sits comfortably at the base of Mount Vitosha, and is a sightseeing treasure for anyone who enjoys adventure. Sofia is a culturally rich and diverse area with everything from ancient monuments to cutting edge high tech companies. It also happens to be the biggest city in the country of Bulgaria. Prepare to be amazed by the architecture as well as the extraordinarily friendly people that make Sofia their home. The city has a multitude of parks and greenbelts as well as many wonderful gardens. The parks and gardens come alive in the summer, with lush green landscape and lovely flowers blooming. The streets bustle with shop owners and intrigued tourists. The city gives you a warm and inviting sense of relaxing pleasure. Sofia, Bulgaria is a unique and special city in so many ways.

Sights of Sofia

The parks are especially wonderful and should not be missed. Borisova Gradina is one such park tucked away in the center of town. Culturally, Sofia is well represented, with such sites as the National Opera and Ballet. This wonderful venue is actually a combination ballet and opera house. In terms of the arts, the National Gallery of foreign Art is a must see while visiting Sofia. Yet another well-known art center is the National Art Gallery. Any one of these institutions will have you delighting in the arts for days on end. Sofia also is home to a number of international culture centers such as, the French Cultural Institute, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Russian Cultural Institute, and the Hungarian Cultural Institute, to name but a few. Sofia has so much to offer that it is hard to imagine seeing it all in a few days. One should think in terms of weeks when planning a visit to Bulgaria’s capital city. The sites and sounds of Sofia will keep you inspired and in awe as you see so much history in a city this size.

Getting around is quite easy and the abundance of public transportation makes sightseeing an easy task. Road and Rail are easily accessible and well organized. With over a half dozen different train stations, easy access to train service is assured. The largest of the stations is the Central Railway Station. The Sofia Airport is modern and centrally located. The city is also abuzz with a number of public transportation options. These include trolley busses, regular busses and trams. The main train service is the Sofia Metro with over a dozen stations citywide. Regardless of if you have your sights on the ancient monuments, the museums, the cultural centers or the lush parks, the city of Sofia is very easy to navigate. You will feel right at home in this pleasant and inviting place. And likely find yourself wanting to return for a second visit. If you are looking for opportunities to learn about history and art, this city can help you do just that – as it is rich in both.

Rail map of Sofia

rail map of SofiaSofia has produced some very well known names in the past, including Alexis Weissenberg (a well know and accomplished pianist), Evgenia Radanova (the world renowned ice skater), the gold and silver medallist in ice dancing, Albena Denkova, and Maria Gigova, a world champion gymnast. All these names and more are just one small reminder of how diverse and talented the people of Bulgaria really are. Beyond talented, the genuine people of this country are always eager to assist a friend or a neighbour. You can’t help but feel the friendly air of the city as you stroll through town. It is a place one could easily call home. It makes you that comfortable, and puts you immediately at ease to enjoy all that Sofia has to offer. Making travel plans to visit Sofia is one of the best options for an extended holiday. With easy access via airport, rail or road, there is every reason to visit Sofia, and little reason not to visit. Walking off the airplane, you will immediately sense that you have arrived in a gentle peaceful city.

With over a dozen colleges and universities, Sofia is no stranger to higher education. A diverse list of higher education institutions includes such names as Rakovski Defence and Staff College, Saint Clement of Ohrid University of Sofia, New Bulgarian University, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Arts, and the Technical University of Sofia. These schools are a testament to the great diversity that comprises the city of Sofia. In terms of sports, the Bulgarian Volleyball Federation is just one of the better-known sports represented in Bulgaria. With several large stadiums such as the Vasil Levski National Stadium and the Armeets Arena, there are plenty of sports always on tap in Sofia. When the time to plan a truly wonderful and meaningful holiday or vacation arrives, consider the delightfully exciting and rich city of Sofia. Once you have had a chance to know Sofia and all her charm, you will be compelled to return again and again. Sofia, Bulgaria is a city with few rivals, and now is a great to visit.