Welcome to Belgrade, Serbian capitol which will host Ledeni Kvas IFAF Europe Champions League 2015 Final Four from July 24 to 26th! Maybe you’ll visit Belgrade as a Final Four participant, maybe as a supporter, but despite of your previous knowledge about it, here’s what you should know about it, if you are – true American football fan in heart. Because of that, we’ll use some of American football’s terminology, and some graphics, as well

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As you know, there’s no game in this sport without a ball, and we’ve placed one at this Belgrade’s map, so you can easily catch up with main points in it.
In front of the ball, there’s endzone. Tip of the ball almost touches it, but… it’s not touchdown yet, so we have two separate parts of the field, equally important: one (red one) in red, where defense wants to rule, and another one, located on the other side of the goalline, where offense is.
So, to understand some of vital Belgrade’s points, just remember this ball, and the line. One spot, that one where ball almost touches the goalline, is main square in Belgrade, Republic Square (“Trg Republike” in Serbian). And, second most important spot, is the back point of the ball, where Slavia Square is (Serbs call it just “Slavija”).



Marked with Red on the Map
First down: Republic Square
Serbia became a Republic 70 years ago, then as a part of former Yugoslavia, but Serbia was… Well, almost everything you can imagine, from Principality to Kingdom.
Still, despite its main square doesn’t have super-original name, it has beautiful history, and some important buildings to prove it. At Belgrade’s main square (Serbs just call it “Trg”, which means square), you’ll find National Theatre (and Opera house, in one), National museum, and you’ll easily know you’re there when you see a monument with someone riding the horse. That was one of the most influential rulers in newer Serbian history, prince Mihajlo Obrenovic (1823-1868).
We’ll get back to him a bit later, and for now it’s quite okay to know that in Serbian his title was “knez”, so it was “knez Mihajlo” as his nation remembered him. And you’ll remember that, and that his statue is in the main, Republic Square, as well.
Second down: Kalemegdan fortress
Belgrade was formed by a Celtic tribe Scordisci, in 3rd century BC, and after Romans captured it, they’ve built a light fortress at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube rivers. You’ve heard of Danube, of course, second only to Volga in Europe, but Sava… Well, it was the biggest river of former Yugoslavia, and is 21st on the list of longest rivers in whole Europe. So, those two rivers meet right in front of the fortress, officially rebuilt in 535 AD.
Still, as Belgrade is the most attacked city in the history of our continent, as all kind of imperias wanted it (so they could control both rivers, and location itself, as it is one of the most important crossroads), Kalemegdan fortress was partially or almost completely destroyed during the centuries, but – it held.
So, as it is a defensive strongpoint, it’s obvious why you should visit it, no matter if you choose fortress itself, or big park within it, or some of great museums over there (Military, Museum of Forestry and Hunting), or just to see – why Serbs have one great monument called Gratitude to France.
Third down: Skadarlija
You can’t visit Belgrade and miss it’s main bohemian quarter, Skadarlija street. Just “around the corner”, next to Republic Square, magic of old-style good-drink and even-better-Serbian-cuisine, starts together with the unique notes of music that everybody like. And, when we say it, we mean it.
Officially, that’s the place Alfred Hitchcock ended his diet, and Jimmy Hendrix used to stay. (Despite it’s ‘unplugged only’ place. Street. Magic, whatever). Old Belgrade’s soul, at night, can be founded at Skadarlija.
Fourth down: Knez Mihajlova Street
You’ve heard of Knez Mihajlo? Of course you have, it was a moment ago. His street is a pedisterian zone, and it goes from Republic Square to Kalemegdan park and fortress.
It’s the street everybody walks through when they visit Serbian capitol, so we guess you’ll be, at some point, doing the same. It’s one kilometar long, still have some buildings from 19th century, and is one of main shopping zones in Belgrade.
For 35 years, it’s on the list of Spatial Cultural-Historical Units of Great Importance, and as such is protected by the Republic of Serbia. As “Knez Mihajlova (ulica)” (Prince Mihajlo’s (street)) is a common meeting point for all those who live or visit Belgrade, don’t miss it. Whatever down you’re at.


Marked with Blue on the Map
First down: Slavija
Slavia square, or as Serbs just call it “Slavija”, is one of the most vibrant traffic places in Belgrade. It’s rare point in Serbia where all three types of public transportation (trams, trolleybuses and buses) meet, and therefore, traffic jams can be observed sometimes, but don’t worry: if you are just an observer, you’ll find more interesting things really quick, and if you are a participant, don’t worry also, as jams last just a moment or so.
Slavija is really important point in Belgrade, as wherever you’re going, or coming from, it seems like you have to enter it, and chose your next path. Slavija and Republic square are connected with almost straight line, street that changed name several times during Belgrade’s history, but both squares remained two crucial points in Serbian capitol, points that everyone in or near the downtown uses as orientation.
You can remember them both as two opposite sides of dumbbell. Or, as two starting/ending points at the ball for American football.
Second down: Terazije
Once a sole point of Belgrade’s downtown, which consisted of little and bigger mini-squares, Terazije is now “just” part of the street that connects Slavija Square and Republic Square. But, it remains true downtown, as unique net of streets connects in it. It’s closer to Republic Square than to Slavija, but all three points are integral part of – main line that define urban downtown of Belgrade.
Terazije literally mean “scales” in English, but coming from Turkish word, Serbs used it for “Water balances”, tower-like structures which maintained water pressure to the neighbourhoods. There’s nothing like that there, for decades already, but name stayed.
As stayed Terazije’s soul, with mix of old buildings and newer, with mix of history, like Albania Palace, once tallest building in Balkans. Why that name? Aw, Belgrade is full of interesting things, connecting past and future, despite ongoing life. For example, Slavija square was initially founded by one guy from Scotland, so… Yes, historical place it is. Just like Terazije.
Third down: Main train & bus station
Located relatively near the Terazije, there are, next to each other, main train and bus station. Belgrade’s subway system has just started to develop, so this is a classic inter-city and international train station, just as main bus station is, as well. But, that little piece of land in Belgrade, next to Sava river, is maybe the most frequent, as it connects old part of Serbian capitol and, with nearby bridges, New Belgrade, which is across Sava, and Zemun, which was once city for itself, but now is Belgrade’s municipality, across the Danube.
Since both stations are, literally, in in the top corner, almost on the north of old Belgrade, “whole city” must pass around them to reach New Belgrade (200,000+ citizens of million-and-a-half Belgrade) or Zemun (170,000). Maybe you’ll miss area near those two stations, but… it’s quite impossible.
As Agatha Christie traveled though it, she got inspiration for her book about Orient Express, so you’ll find some of your motivation there, we’re pretty sure.
Fourth down: Tasmajdan
One of most interesting parts of Belgrade is the Tasmajdan park and area around it. And, around it, you’ll find National Assembly, then one of oldest hotels, then Radio-Televison of Serbia, Faculty of Law, main Post office building, and many other things.
Despite it got that name by the Turks (Turkish taş = stone and meydan = square), Tasmajan was used for two thousand years as stone extraction place, but beneath it – and beneath whole Belgrade, there’s real labyrinth of caves and catacombs. Researches are still going on, but if we say that during WWII about 1,000 troops could live under Tasmajdan, in catacombs, for six months without making any surface contact, you’ll understand a bit what mystery place that was. And still is, as all entrances were closed and ruined after WWII, so Tasmajdan’s underground was “rediscovered” recently and today it slowly turns into one of Belgrade’s tourist attractions.
But, above it, you’ll enjoy for sure – in big Tasmajdan park, and its surroundings. You can take your break there, and plan your next move. And, there’s no good offense if there’s no good plan. This was ours, to help you enjoy Belgrade while you stay in it during Ledeni Kvas IFAF Europe Champions League 2015 Final Four.