A Travellerspoint blog

Belgrade.

Serbia's Capital City.

sunny

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Sweet Smelling Serbian Roses.

Belgrade.

We first went to Belgrade around 1988. At that time there was still a Yugoslavia and Belgrade was its capital city. We travelled there from Istanbul, where my husband was working. It was a hellish journey: train from Istanbul to Thessaloniki - one night in a hotel there to recover - then train from Thessaloniki to Belgrade. The journey was horrific. The train was so slow and very, very crowded and incredibly hot, though I will say our fellow passengers were very friendly and shared food with us. We did not stay overnight in Belgrade. We travelled from it to Ljubljana then onto Austria where we worked in a summer school. At the end of the summer school, we travelled back to Istanbul by train and stopped in Belgrade again. Things I remember about the city are: the fortress, it was more rundown than nowadays and was filled with people playing sports; swimming in the river to cool down; going for a Chinese meal in a restaurant where the Yugoslavian waiters and waitresses dressed up to look Chinese.

In 2015 we returned to Belgrade again. This time we stopped here for four nights. Our original plan was to explore Belgrade plus visit Novi Sad or Smederova or both. In the end we visited neither because my husband injured his foot. One of his toes ended up badly cut and since he has previously had a toe amputated after it developed gangrene following an injury, we had to take it seriously. Thus our first full day, prior to his injury, was hectic and packed with sightseeing, our second day I did a little sightseeing on my own while he rested and our third day we both did a small amount of sightseeing. We were not too disappointed, these things happen and it gives us a good excuse to return.

Belgrade means the White City. It is the largest city in Serbia and its capital. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers. It is a relaxed city with lots of open-air restaurants, cafes and bars. Apparently it is a great place for nightlife nowadays, though being an old fogy I cannot actually confirm this myself.

Restaurants.

The Monument: Excellent Meal.

This restaurant is located in a little park next to an old Turkish baths across from Ascension Church. We only ate here because it was close to our hotel and my husband, having injured his foot, could not walk far. However, we were very glad we did eat here. The service was friendly and the food was the best we had all holiday. I had a pizza and my husband had an absolutely lovely pork dish served with parmesan potatoes.

Hotels.

Hotel Rex: Convenient Location, Good Hotel.

We got an excellent deal on this accommodation and would most certainly stay here again. To reach the hotel from the railway station, exit the main station exit, cross the busy road at the crossing, walk up Nemanjina, then turn right onto Sarajevska. It is only a ten minute walk. We went wrong because we exited the station via the exit in a straight line with the rail lines. This turned out to be a side exit. We should have walked round the corner to the main exit. Check in was fine and we were given a free map of Belgrade. Our room was comfortable enough. The air con worked well. There was free wifi which worked adequately. The room had a fridge. We arrived very late and were very pleased to see the cold beers awaiting us in the minibar. The room was lovely and quiet at night and we slept really well here. Breakfast at the hotel was buffet style. It was always quite busy but there was plenty of choice: cereal, hot food, bread, cheese, cold meat, cake. I especially enjoyed the cheese borek. There was also coffee, tea and juices. We ate in the hotel restaurant one night. There is an outdoor seating area near the car park. The food was good. We both had pork dishes and shared a shopska salad and fries. The beer was good. The only negative thing I have to say about the hotel is that the car park was also the entrance way and it ended up choc-a-block in the evening so you had to squeeze past cars to get in. Hotel Rex is in a good location. It is very handy for the train and bus station. There are lots of convenience stores nearby. There are lots of ATMs nearby. It is not far to walk into the centre from here. The hotel is also close to bus and tram routes. Despite its central location it is nice and quiet at night. Address: Sarajevska 37, Belgrade, 11000, Serbia.

Hotel Rex - Belgrade

Hotel Rex - Belgrade

Hotel Rex - Belgrade

Hotel Rex - Belgrade

Things to Do.

The Church of the Ascension.

This church was not actually on our to do list, but it was quite near to our hotel so it was the first sight we visited. We had a look at the lovely artwork inside, too, but did not photograph it. I think when we visited it was just before a service as there were quite a lot of people standing around waiting for something to happen including some musicians. This church dates from 1863.

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The Church of the Ascension.

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The Church of the Ascension.

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The Church of the Ascension.

Bombed out buildings

We did not notice the bombed out buildings near the church on Kneza Milosa until later on in our stay. These buildings were destroyed during the fighting that led to the break up of Yugoslavia. They have been kept deliberately to show that Serbs were also victims in these wars. They are a sad sight, surrounded as they are by very impressive buildings on all sides.

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Bombed out buildings.

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Bombed out buildings.

Bombed out buildings - Belgrade

Bombed out buildings - Belgrade

Bombed out buildings - Belgrade

Bombed out buildings - Belgrade

Knez Milos Monument.

In the little park near the burned out buildings and the church there was a statue depicting the struggle between Serbs and Ottomans; Christianity and Islam. Serbia was at one time part of the Ottoman Empire and rebelled against the Ottomans on several occasions.

Statue - Belgrade

Statue - Belgrade


Knez Milos Monument.

Statue - Belgrade

Statue - Belgrade


Knez Milos Monument.

The Railway Museum.

Neither of us are overly fond of museums so we had no intention of visiting this sight, but we did like the look of the steam engine outside the front door. The building housing the museum was very very impressive.

The Railway Museum - Belgrade

The Railway Museum - Belgrade

The Railway Museum - Belgrade

The Railway Museum - Belgrade

Pioneers Park.

This is a pleasant little park not far from the National Assembly. As well as having lots of shady seats where you can sit and watch the world pass by, it also had lots of statues and an attractive fountain. There were law courts nearby, too. This park was opened in 1944. Before it was a park, it was a palace garden.

Pioneers Park - Belgrade

Pioneers Park - Belgrade

Pioneers Park - Belgrade

Pioneers Park - Belgrade

Pioneers Park - Belgrade

Pioneers Park - Belgrade

The National Assembly Building.

This is an impressive looking building which I remember well from our previous visits in the eighties. There are two statues of men with horses in front of it. In the eighties I took a picture of one of these. I did not realise this was not allowed and a policeman appeared and threatened to take away my camera and expose my film. We had a huge argument conducted in two languages with lots of shouting and hand waving before he finally let me go. This time I took photos again, but with no consequences. Sadly there was a very long banner outside the National Assembly containing names and phots of Serbs killed in the collapse of Yugoslavia.

The National Assembly Building - Belgrade

The National Assembly Building - Belgrade

The National Assembly Building - Belgrade

The National Assembly Building - Belgrade

Trg Nikole Pasica.

This square has a statue and some quite impressive fountains. I know we visited this in the eighties, too, because I have a photo of a much younger version of me sitting next to it in one of our albums in Hong Kong.

Trg Nikole Pasica - Belgrade

Trg Nikole Pasica - Belgrade

Trg Nikole Pasica - Belgrade

Trg Nikole Pasica - Belgrade

The Hotel Moscow.

I thought this hotel looked pretty impressive which is why I took some pictures of it. We did not venture inside. The hotel is located on Terazije Square. The building is in Art Nouveau style and dates from 1907.

The Hotel Moscow - Belgrade

The Hotel Moscow - Belgrade

The Hotel Moscow - Belgrade

The Hotel Moscow - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress.

The Kalemegdan Fortress is located on a hill overlooking the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers. The first fortress on this site was built by the Ancient Romans. In the first century AD it became the headquarters of the fourth Flavian Legion. Very little remains of the Roman site. The current fortress mainly dates from the eighteenth century. A lot of the fortress walls, gates and towers remain. It is also home to a Military Museum.

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Kalemegdan Fortress.

Kalemegdan Fortress - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Belgrade

The Kalemegdan Fortress has several interesting sculptures. The most famous is probably Pobednik or Viktor which is the symbol of Belgrade. He stands proudly at the top of a tall column. Another famous sculpture is a fountain called The Struggle depicting a man battling an enormous snake. There is also a monument to the French in gratitude to their help during wartime.

Kalemegdan Fortress - Sculptures - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Sculptures - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Sculptures - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Sculptures - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Sculptures - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Sculptures - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Sculptures - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Sculptures - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Sculptures - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Sculptures - Belgrade

From the fortress there are wonderful views over the Sava and Danube Rivers and their confluence. The Sava is lined with many party boats which offer drinks, food and loud music. The best views are probably from the plateau where the Viktor Column is located.

Kalemegdan Fortress - Views - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Views - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Views - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Views - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Views - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Views - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Views - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Views - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Views - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Views - Belgrade

Two churches are located within the fortress complex. One is called the Church of Saint Petka; the other is Ruzica Church. Saint Petka’s dates from 1937 and is located on the site of a miraculous spring.

Kalemegdan Fortress - Churches - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Churches - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Churches - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Churches - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Churches - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Churches - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Churches - Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress - Churches - Belgrade

The Cathedral of Saint Michael the Archangel.

This church dates from 1845. It is located on the site of an earlier church which was destroyed by the Ottomans. The interior was very beautiful, but photographing it was not allowed. When we visited there was a Christening going on. We listened to the service for a while without interrupting. Opposite the cathedral was another beautiful building which dates from 1935 and is the seat of the Patriarch of the Serbian National Church. Near the cathedral there is a restaurant called ?. It is located in one of the oldest buildings in Belgrade dating from 1823. The restaurants strange name comes from the Orthodox Cathedral objecting to its original name.

The Cathedral of Saint Michael the Archangel - Belgrade

The Cathedral of Saint Michael the Archangel - Belgrade

The Cathedral of Saint Michael the Archangel - Belgrade

The Cathedral of Saint Michael the Archangel - Belgrade

The Cathedral of Saint Michael the Archangel - Belgrade

The Cathedral of Saint Michael the Archangel - Belgrade

Princess Ljubica’s Residence.

This is a really stunning building. It is now a museum but we did not go in, just looked from the outside. This building was built around the first half of the nineteenth century by Prince Milos Obrenovic for his family: Princess Ljubica and sons Milan and Mihailo.

Princess Ljubica’s Residence - Belgrade

Princess Ljubica’s Residence - Belgrade

Bayrakli Mosque.

This little mosque was built around 1575 during the Ottoman occupation of Belgrade. Bayrakli is Turkish for with a flag. This name comes from the fact that a flag was raised to mark the beginning of prayer times.

Bayrakli Mosque - Belgrade

Bayrakli Mosque - Belgrade

Republic Square.

This is the main city square. It is home to the National Theatre which was covered in scaffolding and undergoing renovation when we visited. The square also has a monument to Prince Mihailo which dates from 1882. On our visit Republic Square was hosting an exhibition of transformers. These models are made of scrap metal and were created by an artist from Podgorica. We had been expecting to see them in Podgorica and were surprised to find them in Belgrade.

Republic Square - Belgrade

Republic Square - Belgrade

Republic Square - Belgrade

Republic Square - Belgrade

Republic Square - Belgrade

Republic Square - Belgrade



Republic Square - Belgrade

Republic Square - Belgrade

Studentski Square.

This is another very pleasant square with shady seats and lots of statues. The ethnographic Museum is located here. Nearby is the tomb of Sheik Mustapha. We sat here for a while to escape the sun and avail ourselves of the free wifi.

Studentski Square - Belgrade

Studentski Square - Belgrade

Studentski Square - Belgrade

Studentski Square - Belgrade

Saint Mark’s Church.

This is an attractive looking church. It was built between 1931 and 1940. I went inside but took no photographs as they were forbidden. The church is located next to Tasmajdan Park which is a pleasant place for a seat or a stroll. It has a fountain and several interesting statues.

Saint Mark’s Church - Belgrade

Saint Mark’s Church - Belgrade

Saint Mark’s Church - Belgrade

Saint Mark’s Church - Belgrade



Saint Mark’s Church - Belgrade

Saint Mark’s Church - Belgrade

Saint Mark’s Church - Belgrade

Saint Mark’s Church - Belgrade

The Russian Church.

This church is located near Skadarlija the Bohemian restaurant area. It is an attractive looking building. It was lovely both inside and out, but I only photographed the outside. I was surprised to be approached outside the church by a pregnant woman who asked me for money. It was the only time in Serbia I was asked for money and the lady in question looked better off than me, hence my surprise.

Saint Sava’s Temple.

This is a huge building which can be seen from a long way away. Saint Sava was the first Archbishop of Serbia. He lived from 1169 to 1236. This church is built on the site where Saint Sava’s remains were burnt by the ottomans. Although the building is impressive on the outside, it is not finished on the inside and there is still lots of work going on.

Saint Sava’s Temple - Belgrade

Saint Sava’s Temple - Belgrade

Saint Sava’s Temple - Belgrade

Saint Sava’s Temple - Belgrade

Saint Sava’s Temple - Belgrade

Saint Sava’s Temple - Belgrade

Saint Sava’s Temple - Belgrade

Saint Sava’s Temple - Belgrade

Skadarlija.

Skadarlija is a steep cobbled street. In the early twentieth century it was a Bohemian, artistic quarter frequented by poets, artists, writers. Nowadays it is lined with restaurants such as The Two Deers, The Three Hats. It is a popular place with tourists. We did not eat here.

Skadarlija - Belgrade

Skadarlija - Belgrade

Skadarlija - Belgrade

Skadarlija - Belgrade

Skadarlija - Belgrade

Skadarlija - Belgrade

Skadarlija - Belgrade

Skadarlija - Belgrade

The House of Flowers: Tito's Mausoleum.

The House of Flowers is the final resting place of Josef Broz Tito. To visit it you must buy a combined ticket with the adjacent Museum of Yugoslav History. In the Museum of Yugoslav History I watched a film celebrating Tito’s life by showing news footage of his overseas trips and dealings with the leaders of other countries. Upstairs in this building displays of paintings and sculptures showed how Serbia suffered in World War II. This museum complex normally includes The Old Museum which houses gifts awarded to Tito by foreign heads of state. This was closed when I visited. Tito’s tomb is located in a building surrounded by a flower and statue filled garden. His tomb is next to the tomb of his wife. In the same room there is a display of batons presented to Tito on various Youth Days.

The House of Flowers - Belgrade

The House of Flowers - Belgrade

The House of Flowers - Belgrade

The House of Flowers - Belgrade

The House of Flowers - Belgrade

The House of Flowers - Belgrade

The House of Flowers - Belgrade

The House of Flowers - Belgrade

The House of Flowers - Belgrade

The House of Flowers - Belgrade

Posted by irenevt 03:02 Archived in Serbia Comments (0)

Skopje, Capital of Macedonia.

Land of the Giant Statue.

sunny

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Sunset over the River Vardar.

Skopje.

This was really our first visit to Macedonia though we passed through it twice in 1988 on the train. On our train journeys between Thessaloniki and Belgrade, Skopje is the only station I clearly remember. The reason for this is that when we stopped there, bands of ragged children ran up to the train pleading for money. People threw handfuls of coins from the train and the children frantically battled to gather them up. I was glad we were not getting off the train; Skopje looked very poor and a bit scary. The reality of Skope now is very different from my first impressions.

Skopje is the capital city of Macedonia. It is situated on the River Vardar. The most beautiful part of the city in my opinion was the old Turkish area. I also liked the old fortress. The other side of the river around stone bridge and Macedonia Square was very odd. The government has decided to revitalize it by building lots of huge, new public buildings, enormous statues and elaborate fountains. It all looks very surreal like you are standing on a film set for a Batman movie or something. The project called Skopje 2014 should already be finished but is still going on, turning many parts of the city into building sites. It has also gone seriously over-budget. On the plus side for Skopje the development has attracted many visitors and the city could certainly not be described as boring. Another big plus for Skopje is that it has lots and lots of open-air restaurants, cafes and bars where you can sit in the shade sipping an ice cold Skopsko beer.

We did not have a particularly good time in Skopje. This was nothing to do with the city itself. My husband started to feel ill on the bus journey down from Nis - five hours, no toilet on the bus, no comfort stops, big delays at the border. When we arrived, I wanted to eat and he wanted to go to bed. He proceeded to having terrible stomach problems for our whole stay and ended up not being able to wander far away from a toilet at any point, He could also scarcely eat or drink and was up all night, every night ill. We got medicine for him from the Zengin Pharmacy. This worked but it began to kick in just as we were leaving the country, so our whole short three night stay here was blighted by illness. Oh well, such is life, the important thing is he is now recovered. Macedonia will just have to be re-visited in more pleasant circumstances.

Hotels.

Aloha Apartmants: A Stay Fraught with Problems.

I did not enjoy staying here, but this is not entirely due to the place. A lot of it had to do with the fact my husband was so ill for our whole stay. The people here were pleasant enough. The garden and little pool were nice. The room was a bit run down. Fixtures and fittings needed repairs. The location was hard to find, but once you had found it, it was convenient for the Vero Supermarket, the city centre, the bus and train stations. Address: Vardarska 27, 1000.

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Aloha Apartmants: A Stay Fraught with Problems.

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Aloha Apartmants: A Stay Fraught with Problems.

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Aloha Apartmants: A Stay Fraught with Problems.Things to Do.

Carsija & Bit Pazar.

This area's name comes from the Turkish word for market. It is the old Turkish part of town and, in my opinion, the most beautiful part. The narrow winding streets here are filled with little shops and cafes. There are many mosques and several museums. I did not spend my time here looking for particular sites but rather just wandering aimlessly trying to take it all in. This area has also been revitalized just like the areas on the other side of the Vardar River but the old buildings have been retained and the area is extremely pleasant for a stroll and has a lot of character. I loved this area of Skopje. With Peter being so sick during our stay we only came to this area once. I would like to return and re-explore it some day. Directions: Across The stone bridge from the main square.

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Carsija & Bit Pazar.

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Carsija & Bit Pazar.

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Carsija & Bit Pazar.

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Carsija & Bit Pazar.

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Carsija & Bit Pazar.

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Carsija & Bit Pazar.

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Carsija & Bit Pazar.

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Carsija & Bit Pazar.

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Carsija & Bit Pazar.

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Carsija & Bit Pazar.

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Turkish Area.

Sveti Spas Church.

This lovely church is located in the old Turkish quarter of the city. It is partially underground as a church was not permitted to be higher than a mosque during Ottoman rule. It is set inside a pleasant courtyard. There is an entry fee for going inside and photographs of the interior are not allowed. The church dates from the fourteenth century. It has a beautiful and intricately carved wooden iconostatis. The guide pointed out interesting features such as some of the famous biblical figures being depicted in typical nineteenth century Macedonian clothing. The iconostatis was carved by Makarije Frckovski and brothers Petar and Marko Filipovski.

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Sveti Spas Church.

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Sveti Spas Church.

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Sveti Spas Church.

Kale Fortress.

The Kale Fortress dominates Skopje's skyline. It is located close to the old Turkish part of Skopje. It was built in the sixth century by the Byzantines and was later controlled by the Ottomans. Some of the interior is currently being restored. I noticed quite an unusual sculpture inside. One of the best things about the Kale Fortress is that you can go onto its walls and get great views over Skopje. There were also lovely views from just outside the entrance to the fortress. At the moment to get out you have to retrace your steps around the walls otherwise you will end up trapped in a building site like me. I had to scale a wall to get out.

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Kale Fortress.

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Kale Fortress.

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Kale Fortress.

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Kale Fortress.

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Kale Fortress.

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Kale Fortress.

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Kale Fortress Views.

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Kale Fortress Views.

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Kale Fortress Views.

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Kale Fortress Views.

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Kale Fortress Views.

The Stone Bridge: Kameni Most.

The Stone Bridge or Kameni Most crosses the Vardar River in the centre of Skopje. It leads you between the Turkish area and the more modern westernized area. It is believed there has been a bridge at this spot since the sixth century AD, though the current bridge dates from the fifteenth century and was built under the orders of Mehmet the Conquerer. The bridge originally had stone pillar railings which were used by the Ottomans as places to spike the heads of their enemies. There is a memorial stone in the centre of the bridge for Karpos, nicknamed the King of Kumanovo, who led an unsuccessful uprising against the Turks in 1689. I liked the diving girls statue in the centre of the bridge. Kameni Most connects two statue filled squares.

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The Stone Bridge: Kameni Most.

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The Stone Bridge: Kameni Most.

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The Stone Bridge: Kameni Most.

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The Stone Bridge: Kameni Most.

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The Stone Bridge: Kameni Most.

Macedonia Square.

Macedonia Square or Makedonija Plostad is a large open square on one side of the stone bridge. It is dominated by a huge statue of a warrior on a horse and has lots and lots of other statues, too. While I normally like statues, I must admit the quantity of them in Skopje was a bit overwhelming. Near this square there is a triumphal arch. If you face the warrior on a horse statue and walk left along the river, the river is lined with restaurants and bars.

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Macedonia Square.

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Macedonia Square.

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Macedonia Square.

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Macedonia Square.

Square Near The Triumphal Arch.

We walked through the triumphal arch and on the other side of it there was another statue filled square. I do not know the name of this square, but I rather liked the statues in it. One of them was called the defenders; one was called Gemidzii. I don't know the names of the others. There were too many statues in Skopje to get to know them all.

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Square Near The Triumphal Arch.

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Square Near The Triumphal Arch.

Statue Of Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa was born in Skopje in 1910 and later devoted her life to caring for the poor in Calcutta. There is a statue of her not far from Macedonia Square. The statue is next to the Memorial House of Mother Teresa. This is an unusual looking building. It was not open when we visited.

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Statue Of Mother Teresa.

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Statue Of Mother Teresa.

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Statue Of Mother Teresa.

The Orthodox Cathedral.

We decided to visit the Orthodox Cathedral which is an unusual modern looking building. Outside it there is a fountain and a statue of an orthodox priest. We had a quick look inside but there was a wedding about to start so we did not like to get in the way.

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The Orthodox Cathedral.

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The Orthodox Cathedral.

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The Orthodox Cathedral.

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The Orthodox Cathedral.

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The Orthodox Cathedral.

Statues near Mother Teresa statue.

The street with the Mother Teresa statue and its memorial house had several small fun statues offering a welcome contrast to the enormous, serious-looking statues everywhere else. One of them displayed a homeless beggar and was called homeless, one was a little shoe shine boy and one was a group of Macedonian dancers celebrating.

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Statues near Mother Teresa statue.

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Statues near Mother Teresa statue.

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Statues near Mother Teresa statue.

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Statues near Mother Teresa statue.

The Vardar River.

Skopje is divided down the middle by the Vardar River. On one side is the old Turkish/Albanian Muslim side. On the other side is the more modern western side. There are walkways along the sides of this river. We enjoyed walking along it as darkness was falling. It was a good place to watch the lovely sunsets .

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The Vardar River.

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The Vardar River.

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The Vardar River.

Statues.

Skopje is full of enormous, over-the-top statues all over the place. It actually makes the place quite surreal and my feelings were it was too much. I started off photographing them then gave up as it was just endless

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Statues.

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Statues.

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Statues.

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Statues.

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Statues.

Suna Bar: Pleasant spot for a drink.

Directly across from the Memorial House of Mother Teresa there is a pleasant little bar. We sat outside in the shade and enjoyed a lovely cold beer and an iced coffee here. Service was friendly and pleasant.

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Suna Bar: Pleasant spot for a drink.

Old Town Brewery: Lovely, Friendly Pub.

This is a very pleasant bar situated in the Turkish part of Skopje. It is close to Sveti Spas Church and the Kale Fortress. We sat here and enjoyed some ice-cold Skopsko beer. Service was friendly and efficient.

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Old Town Brewery: Lovely, Friendly Pub.

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Old Town Brewery: Lovely, Friendly Pub.

Saint Patrick's Irish Pub: Friendly Pub.

This pub is situated on the Vardar River not far from the Holiday Inn. There are lots of restaurants and bars in this area. We had a light meal here as Peter was having stomach problems and had not eaten for a couple of days. Service was very friendly and efficient. The pub is in a pleasant spot.

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Saint Patrick's Irish Pub: Friendly Pub

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Saint Patrick's Irish Pub: Friendly Pub.

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Saint Patrick's Irish Pub: Friendly Pub.

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Saint Patrick's Irish Pub: Friendly Pub.

Bus to Skopje from Nis.

We travelled to Skopje by bus from Nis. The journey should have taken around four hours, but it actually took more than five. It was a bit cramped and some people who boarded on route had to stand. There was no toilet on the bus nor were there any comfort stops, so not a very pleasant journey.

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Bus to Skopje from Nis.

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Bus to Skopje from Nis.

Getting to Skopje Airport.

I have a massive preference for visiting places that have public transport to and from their airport as airport taxi drivers are renowned for ripping people off. We were able to buy tickets for Vardar Express airport buses from Skopje's bus station. The bus leaves from outside the Zegin Pharmacy near the bus station. It also picks up from other places such as outside Skopje's Holiday Inn.

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Getting to Skopje Airport.

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Getting to Skopje Airport.

London Double Decker Buses.

Skopje had a whole fleet of new looking, bright red London double decker style buses. We did not use them unfortunately, but they looked really neat. I noticed one even seemed to go to the Millenium Hill where the huge cross is.

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London Double Decker Buses.

Shopping.

Zegin Pharmacy: Very Useful When You Are Feeling Ill.

We went to the Zegin Pharmacy at the bus station to get medicine for my husband who was suffering from food poisoning at the time. We are guessing this came from an ice lolly he had in Nis which was almost solid ice in the centre implying it had melted and been re-frozen. The girl at the pharmacy spoke good English and was very helpful. If you are using the airport bus, the stop is right outside this shop. We also used the Zegin Pharmacy at the airport.

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Zengin Pharmacy.

Vero Supermarket: Perfect for all your needs.

This shop was handy for our hotel and we were in it a lot, not least because it had clean, free toilets and my husband had food poisoning during our visit. Vero was within a shopping centre that had ATMs, a bank, a money exchange and other things. Vero itself was perfect for cold drinks, food and toiletries.

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Vero Supermarket.

Posted by irenevt 05:03 Archived in Macedonia Comments (2)

Budva.

Beautiful old town on the Adriatic.

sunny

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View over Budva.

Beautiful Budva.

Our original plan was to try and do day trips to Cetinje and Budva from Podgorica, but we spent more time in Podgorica than we had intended, so we ended up just doing the day trip to Budva. We got to Budva by bus. The scenery on the way was beautiful: lots of mountains, a hilltop castle, a beautiful view over the rooftops of Cetinje and as we neared Budva great views over the town. Budva has a lovely, but small old town, a famous statue and lots and lots of beaches. It also has a sizable, but not very remarkable new town. We looked at the old town and the statue and had a very refreshing swim in the wonderfully cool Adriatic Sea.

Budva is believed to be one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic Coast. According to legends it was founded by a Phoenician prince, Cadmus and his wife Harmonia after they fled from Thebes. Budva was under the control of the Byzantines from the beginning of the sixth century until the twelfth century. After that it was under Serbian control until the Venetians took over at the beginning of the fifteenth century. Most of the buildings in the old town were built during the Venetian Period.

Things to Do.

Budva Marina.

Just before the marina there was a little beach. We had a very pleasant swim there on our way back to the bus station. The marina itself is a mixture of fishing boats, boats offering cruises to tourists, pleasure crafts and boats that take you across to Sveti Nikola Island - a beach resort nicknamed Hawaii by the locals.

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Budva Marina.

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Budva Marina.

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Budva Marina.

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Budva Marina.

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Budva Marina.

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Beach.

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Statue.

The Old Town.

Budva old town is a walled town with several gates. It has a main square, Trg og Crkava, home to several churches and the citadel. It also has some beautiful old narrow streets. It is not a huge old town, but it is well preserved. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars here, too.

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The Old Town.

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The Old Town.

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The Old Town.

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The Old Town.

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The Old Town.

The Old Town Streets.

One of the highlights of the Old Town is just wandering aimlessly around the narrow old town streets. You can get a different perspective of them if you walk the city walls. Despite the influx of tourists, the streets are peaceful and pleasant for a wander.

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The Old Town Streets.

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The Old Town Streets.

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The Old Town Streets.

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The Old Town Streets.

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The Old Town Streets.

The Citadel.

I paid 3 Euros to visit the citadel of the Old Town. This was built by the Austrians in 1836. The best bit about the citadel are the views from it over the sea, the Island of Sveti Nikola and the new and old towns of Budva. Inside the citadel there was a small library and some exhibits ab!out the history of Budva.

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The Citadel.

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The Citadel.

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The Citadel.

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The Citadel.

Budva's City Walls.

I paid 1Euro 50 cents to walk the walls of Budva's old town. This takes around 20 minutes. You cannot walk all the way round. The views from the walls are lovely. You can look out towards Sveti Nikola's Island, look out across the marina or look inland across the colourful narrow streets of the old town.

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Budva's City Walls.

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Budva's City Walls.
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Budva's City Walls.

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Budva's City Walls.

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Budva's City Walls.

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View from the city walls.

Trg og Crkava.

This is the main square of Budva Old Town. Here you can visit the Church of John the Baptist with its towering bell tower. This church dates from the seventh century. Inside in the north altar it houses an icon of the Virgin Mary which is said to have protected Budva from plagues, pirates and other horrors since the fourteenth century. Nearby is the Church of the Holy Trinity which at around two hundred years old is the newest of the Old Town's churches. Also in this square you can find the Church of Saint Mary of Punta, which was built on the site where Spanish sailors placed an icon of the Virgin Mary and two burning candles. The Church of Saint Sava, like the Church of Saint Mary of Punta, forms part of Budva's fortifications.

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Trg og Crkava.

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Trg og Crkava.

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Trg og Crkava.

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Trg og Crkava.

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Trg og Crkava.

The Dancing Girl Statue.

We walked away from the Old Town on the opposite side from the marina and the bus station and, as we wandered along the coastline walkway, we encountered the beautiful, graceful dancing girl statue. She stands on a rock and the more flexible among us may have a go at joining her and imitating her pose. My husband had a go too just to keep us less flexible folk in the picture, too. No-one knows the true history of the statue, though legends claim she was the daughter of a wealthy Budva resident who drowned in the sea off Budva.

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The Dancing Girl Statue.

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The Dancing Girl Statue.

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The Dancing Girl Statue.

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The Dancing Girl Statue.

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The Dancing Girl Statue.

The Prince English Pub: Cosy Bar.

Every day of our stay in Montenegro was incredibly hot, so a nice refreshing drink was very much welcome. We followed the signs for the English pub. It was located down a side street. It was a peaceful, pleasant pub with good service.

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The Prince English Pub: Cosy Bar.

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The Prince English Pub: Cosy Bar.

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The Prince English Pub: Cosy Bar.

Transportation .

Bus to Budva.

We took the bus from Podgorica to Budva. It was fairly cheap. There are frequent buses. Journey time takes between one and a half and two hours. The scenery on the way was stunning. You travel through the mountains and there are great views overlooking Budva as you arrive.

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Bus to Budva.

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Bus to Budva.

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Bus to Budva.

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Bus to Budva.

Shopping.

A Trip to the Market.

Budva Old Town has lots of cafes, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. There was also a little market selling lots of souvenirs and bric-a-brac, though the highlight of it for me was the gorgeous kitten which posed for my shots.

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A Trip to the Market.

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A Trip to the Market.

Posted by irenevt 01:26 Archived in Montenegro Comments (0)

Podgorica.

Capital of the Land of the Black Mountains.

sunny

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The Moraca River.

Podgorica.

Podgorica is the capital city of Montenegro - the land of the black mountains. It is also Montenegro's largest city. Podgorica means at the foot of Gorica Hill. When Montenegro was part of Yugoslavia, Podgorica was called Titograd after the Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito. Podgorica is located at the confluence of two rivers: the Moraca and the much smaller Ribnica River.

Podgorica gets a very bad press. Before going there, I could scarcely find anyone with a positive thing to say about it. I think this is because is not at all like a European capital city. In fact I would go as far as to say it is not at all like a city. If you change your mindset and start thinking of it as a medium sized town, you will be happier with it.

Actually on the whole we liked Podgorica. It had only a small number of sights and some of these were scarcely worth seeing, but others were really very good, especially the area around the Moraca River and the stunning new orthodox church. In the new town area there were lots of nice restaurants and bars. It was a fairly relaxed sort of place. The main downside of it was simply that it was way too hot when we visited.

Ideal Hotel.

We stayed in the Ideal Hotel for three nights. We got there by taking a taxi from the airport. It cost 15 Euros despite the fact the airport information office told us it should have been cheaper. The airport taxi drivers were very aggressive and unpleasant people. Check in was fine. Our room was on the second floor. There is no lift, so we had to carry our luggage upstairs ourselves. Our room, and indeed the whole hotel, was very, very clean. Our bed was comfortable. The air-con in the room worked very well. Thank goodness because it was incredibly hot outside. The hotel provided free wifi and the signal was consistently strong. Some of the fixtures and fittings in our room had seen better days and could have done with replacing, for example the shower door. Our room had a pleasant little balcony overlooking some houses and gardens. The hotel is in a quiet and peaceful location. The room had no fridge, no safe and no tea/coffee making facilities. Breakfast was included in the room price. It was served downstairs in a room near reception, or you could eat it in the hotel garden if you wanted. Everything at breakfast was made to order. I had cheese omelette every day. There was also cold breakfast, sweet breakfast and other omelettes. The Hotel Ideal did the best coffee I have ever had. It was excellent.
The hotel also served dinner in the hotel garden. The menu looked quite good, but we did not eat there. Ideal Hotel is close to a supermarket, an atm and some cafes and bars. To get to the centre of Podgorica was about 20 minutes walk on an easy direct route. It was quite a hot walk in summer, but we managed it. Taxis are available near to the hotel. The hotel is about 15 minutes walk from Podgorica's bus and train station. Check out from the hotel was fine. Overall we enjoyed our stay in the Ideal Hotel and would stay there again.

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Ideal Hotel.

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Ideal Hotel.

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Ideal Hotel.

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Ideal Hotel.

Things to Do.

Our Sightseeing started off badly with each sight being a bit disappointing but it got better and several sights were very enjoyable indeed.

The Roman Catholic Church. The Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus.

This church was the first site we visited because it was between our hotel and the centre of town. It was not open so we did not get to look inside. The church is of an unusual modern architectural design. It is made of concrete and dates from 1969. It was built to replace an earlier church which was flattened in World War 11. It's worth a look but not stunning by any means. The church is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It has around 2000 members.

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The Roman Catholic Church. The Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus.

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The Roman Catholic Church. The Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus.

The Ottoman Bathhouse - Tursko Kupatilo.

Podgorica does not have too many old buildings as it was largely flattened in World War 11, so you would think the city would value the ones it does have. That was not the case with the Ottoman bathhouse. City planners decided to build a road above it and this necessitated removing its domed roof. The building sits forlornly under a road bridge, surrounded by graffiti and, on our visit, next to a dried up river. Despite all of this it still manages to be quite an attractive building. It is currently used as a bookshop and cafe.

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The Ottoman Bathhouse - Tursko Kupatilo.

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The Ottoman Bathhouse - Tursko Kupatilo.

Ribnica Bridge and Fortress.

This was the first of Podgorica's sites that I actually really liked. The Ribnica River was not at its best; it was completely dry. The stone bridge across it had the odd graffitti tag. The remains of the fortress are few and far between and the centre of the fortress was filled with large rubbish bins. Despite all of this, this sight is worth seeing. The Ribnica Bridge crosses the Ribnica River just before it flows into the much larger Moraca River. People were wading in the river or lounging around its edges in their swim wear. There was a very pleasant atmosphere here and this felt like a much loved and favourite spot of the locals. The atmosphere rubbed off and made the area very pleasant. Climbing up to the fortress or up to the bridge over the Moraca River presented us with wonderful views. The Moraca River is in a deep ravine. It is crossed by many bridges and it is quite stunning. The Ribnica Bridge was built by the Ottomans in the fifteenth century. The Ribnica Fortress was also built by the Ottomans in 1474. It was once a massive castle; now only a few walls remain.

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Ribnica Bridge and Fortress.

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Ribnica Bridge and Fortress.

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Ribnica Bridge and Fortress.

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Ribnica Bridge and Fortress.

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Ribnica Bridge and Fortress.

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Ribnica Bridge and Fortress.

Parks.

Podgorica has several parks. They tend to join together or be near each other, so I did not really think of them as separate places. None of them were spectacular. All of them were pleasant. They provide seating and shade from the relentless sun. All of them had lots of grass and trees. Some had flowers, statues and fountains.

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Parks.

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Parks.

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Parks.

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Parks.

King Nikola Petrovic Monument.

King Nikola was the last king of Montenegro. He lived from 1841 to 1921. He was a general, a politician and a poet. The statue shows him seated on a horse. It was sculpted by Risto Radmilovic and was unveiled in 2005. Fortunately we saw it before we visited Skopje - a city guaranteed to destroy your interest in statues of men on horses.

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King Nikola Petrovic Monument.

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King Nikola Petrovic Monument.

The Clock Tower - Sahat Kula.

The Clock Tower is one of Podgorica's few remaining historical buildings. It is set in an open square. It is worth a look, but is not overly impressive. It dates from Ottoman times and served to remind people of the five daily calls to prayer. There are two little mosques nearby it.

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The Clock Tower - Sahat Kula.

Statue to Alexander Pushkin.

When we visited Podgorica we liked this statue. I especially like statues you can join in with and this one is a perfect example with its extra chair between the main figures. At the time of our visit we had no idea what this statue was. We were unable to read the information next to it which was in Cyrillic. We have since discovered it was a monument to Alexander Pushkin, the great Russian poet. The seated lady is his wife. The statue was a gift from the city of Moscow to Podgorica. The inscription on the statue is a line from a Pushkin poem about Montenegro. It says "Who are these Montenegrins and why they are so tough and dangerous?"

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Statue to Alexander Pushkin.

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Statue to Alexander Pushkin.

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Statue to Alexander Pushkin.

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Statue to Alexander Pushkin.

The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ is also known as Saborni Hram Hristovog Vaskrsenja. Due to the intense heat we took a taxi to this church then slowly wended our way back via several sights. This cathedral is stunning. It is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen and unlike many others in the former Yugoslavia, no-one seemed to mind if you took photos. The church is surprisingly very modern. Construction of it began in 1993 and it was completed in 2013. The church has two towers and a large dome. The inside of the church is covered everywhere with the most beautiful paintings. Next to the cathedral there is a small chapel and a large graveyard. I would strongly recommend a visit to this church if you are ever in Podgorica.

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The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

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The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

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The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

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The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

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The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

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The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

Small Church Next to Cathedral.

There was a small church next to the cathedral. When we arrived it was open, but it closed before we could visit. This was not a problem as you could look through the windows to see the lovely interior. Behind the church there was quite a large graveyard.

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Small Church Next to Cathedral.

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Small Church Next to Cathedral.

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Small Church Next to Cathedral.

Vladimir Vysotsky Monument.

This statue is located on the western side of the Moskovski Pedestrian Bridge. Vladimir Vysotsky was a Russian poet, singer and actor. He wrote more than 800 songs, many of them political in nature. He died in 1980. This memorial shows him clutching his guitar. A frame surrounds him and near his feet lies a skull. This supposedly reminds people he acted in Hamlet a few days before his death. The statue was a gift to Monenegro from Russia. Many Montenegrins are not even familiar with Vysotsky and simple refer to the statue as 'the Russian guitarist'. Vysotsky visited Montenegro and fell in love with the country. He even wrote a poem about Montenegro and a line from it is etched into this monument: “I regret in this life that I don't have two roots, and I can't name Montenegro as my second homeland.”

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Vladimir Vysotsky Monument.

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Vladimir Vysotsky Monument.

The Millenium Bridge - Most Milenijum.

Completed in 2005 this beautiful 140 metre long cable-stayed bridge has become the new symbol of Podgorica. We viewed it from the nearby Moskovski Pedestrian Bridge. It is a very impressive structure with its 57 metre high pylon supporting 36 cables. The bridge crosses the stunning Moraca River. Well worth seeing.

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The Millenium Bridge - Most Milenijum.

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The Millenium Bridge - Most Milenijum.

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The Millenium Bridge - Most Milenijum.

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The Millenium Bridge - Most Milenijum.

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The Millenium Bridge - Most Milenijum.

Monument to Petar 11 - Petrovic Njegos.

This is located in a little park near the Moraca River. Petar 11 Petrovic Njegos is seated and has a book. He was a bishop, writer and philosopher. The statue was created by Sreten Stojanovic in 1954.

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Monument to Petar 11 - Petrovic Njegos.

Saint George's Church.

St George's Church is located at the foot of Gorica Hill. It is the oldest church in Podgorica. There is an icon inside depicting George and the dragon. It is a lovely little church dating from the sixteenth century. Outside it is surrounded by a little graveyard.

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Saint George's Church.

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Saint George's Church.

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Saint George's Church.

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Saint George's Church.

Partizan Memorial.

I walked up Gorica Hill from Saint George's Church to the Partizan Memorial. This monument was quite impressive. It was built in 1953 by architect Vojislav Dokic and covers the remains of Partizan fighters. The text on the monument says " They loved freedom more than life. In the war of national liberation from 1941 to 1945, 6780 fighters from Montenegro fell and 7479 sons and daughters of Montenegrin people were killed by fascist occupiers and domestic traitors." The monument is guarded by two large statues. The monument is a short easy walk from Saint George's Church and is well worth a visit.

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Partizan Memorial.

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Partizan Memorial.

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Partizan Memorial.

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Partizan Memorial.

Karadorde Petrovic Monument.

This statue depicts Karadorde Petrovic a famous general and politician. He lived from 1768 to 1817. The monument is made of bronze and is 3.5 metres high. It was built by Sreten Stojanovic. Karadorde Petrovic was the leader of the First Serbian uprising against the Ottomans in 1804.

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Karadorde Petrovic Monument.

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Karadorde Petrovic Monument.

Podgorica has some good restaurants and interesting pubs to visit.

The Nag's Head: Entertaining Bar.

This was an interesting pub. The owner is a big fan of the British TV comedy 'Only Fools and Horses'. He based his pub on the pub in this TV show. The menu depicts scenes from the show and the walls are covered with pictures of the characters from the TV show. Quite an interesting place to visit.

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The Nag's Head: Entertaining Bar.

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The Nag's Head: Entertaining Bar.

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The Nag's Head: Entertaining Bar.

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The Nag's Head: Entertaining Bar.

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The Nag's Head: Entertaining Bar.

Captain Jack's Bar: Pleasant place for a drink.

We stopped in this very pleasant new town bar to cool down and have a refreshing drink. The girl who served us was very pleasant and friendly. The bar is themed on Johnny Depp as Captain Jack in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. There are pictures of him everywhere.

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Captain Jack's Bar: Pleasant place for a drink.

The Sherlock Holmes Pub: Good spot for a beer.

This bar was not too far from our hotel. It had an outside seating area which is where we sat. I went inside to use the toilet and liked the way it was decorated with wood panelling, typewriters, rows of old books, paintings of Sherlock Holmes. It was quite interesting. This is just a bar. I don't think it does food. Address: Bulevar Peka Dapčevića 1, Podgorica, 81000, Montenegro.

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The Sherlock Holmes Pub: Good spot for a beer.

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The Sherlock Holmes Pub: Good spot for a beer.

The Forma Restaurant: Very Enjoyable Setting and Meal.

On our first evening in Podgorica we wandered through the new town and found the Forma Restaurant. We sat outside the restaurant on a pedestrianized street. We had a very pleasant meal. Peter had four cheeses pizza and I had chicken and vegetable risotto. We drank Lav beer ­ unaware that it was Serbian(We had intended to try the local tipple). Service was fine, food and drink were good. Overall cost was cheap.

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The Forma Restaurant: Very Enjoyable Setting and Meal.

Niksicko Beer.

This is the beer of choice in Montenegro and very good it is too. If you can not pronounce it, ask for a Nik. One problem with beer in Montenegro was that in the supermarket you can not purchase a bottle unless you return one. We tried to ask how you got on the bottle ladder if you had just arrived in the country, but people just got angry with us and we never received a satisfactory answer. At one point we saw a crate of empties outside a supermarket and were tempted to steal some, but we behaved and limited ourselves to draft and cans.

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Niksicko Beer.

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Niksicko Beer.

Transport.

Podgorica to Belgrade.

We left Podgorica by train. The station, like the airport, is a disgrace, but that aside the journey was OK. We had comfortable seats. The scenery was beautiful especially in the area around the border with its mountains, rivers and viaducts. The journey should have taken ten hours but in reality took eleven and a half.

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Podgorica to Belgrade.

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Podgorica to Belgrade.

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Podgorica to Belgrade.

Arriving in Podgorica by air.

We arrived in Podgorica by air. I can honestly say that the airport is a disgrace and gives a terrible first impression of the country. At passport control there is no queuing system. It's like a free for all rugby scrum to get through. Once we got through and reached the luggage belt, we watched as all the luggage fell off it into a heap and the whole belt ground to a halt with its emergency alarm blaring. Surviving all that, we got to find there is no public transport into Podgrica from the airport. You have to go by taxi and, as I am sure we all know, airport taxi drivers are generally the scum of the Earth. Podgorica was no exception to this rule. We were told at the airport information desk that a taxi to Podgorica should cost 8 Euros. The taxi drivers demanded 15 Euros. When we complained, they turned really nasty and aggressive, screaming that we could get the information lady to drive us into town if we did not like it. A dreadful welcome to any country. A terrible first impression.



Posted by irenevt 23:40 Archived in Montenegro Comments (0)

Zagreb.

Croatia's Vibrant Capital City.

sunny

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The Botanic Gardens.

Zagreb.

Zagreb was the last port of call of our two and a half weeks of travels around Europe in the summer of 2014, so we arrived there absolutely exhausted. Fortunately, it is a very manageable city with most of the attractions within easy walking distance of each other, so we did manage to see a lot of it at a relaxed and enjoyable pace. Zagreb was a city of outdoor cafes, restaurants, green spaces and vast, impressive, ornate buildings. Old Zagreb consists of two areas: Kaptol with its wonderful cathedral and colourful market; and Gornji Grad with its towers, funicular and St Mark’s Church. These two areas were originally different towns separated by a river. They were rivals and sometimes fought each other. There is also a beautiful green horseshoe shaped area with botanic gardens forming the bottom of the U shape. One prong formed by Trg Kralja Tomislava and Trg JJ Strossmayera with their art pavilion. The other prong formed by Trg Marka Marulica, Trg Antuna, Ivana i Vladimira Mazurinanica and Trg Marsala Tita with its theatre and state archives.

Our only forays off the beaten track were to visit the stunning Mirogoj Cemetery with its ivy clad domes. We had intended to also try to get to the lakes at Jarun for a swim, but we did not manage that. This was our second visit to Croatia. Last year we spent three nights in Dubrovnik. Personally, I vastly preferred Zagreb to Dubrovnik. It was cheaper, friendlier, less touristy and much more a real, lived ­in place.

Back in the eighties I almost ended up in Zagreb by accident when I took a Yugoslavian Airways flight from London to Istanbul. I knew the plane landed in Belgrade and that I had to change planes there, but I did not know it landed in Zagreb first and almost got off there. It was fortunate I had been chatting to a Croatian man who told me where we were and that I was to sit back down.

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Sculpture.

Hotel Central.

We stayed in this hotel for two nights in July 2014. The hotel is close to Zagreb's main train station. Exit the station and go right to find the hotel. We were able to check in at 11 am without any problems. Check­-in was reasonably friendly. Our room was fine. It was at the top of the hotel and had a few oddly placed pillars. I suppose the decor was a bit dated, but such things do not bother me. It was clean, comfortable and quiet. We slept really well here. The hotel's location is also great for the historic centre of Zagreb which you can very easily get to on foot. The bus station is about 15 minutes walk away or you can take a tram. There are tram stops near the hotel. The breakfast staff at the hotel were pleasant and friendly. Food at the hotel was fine with various breads, cheeses, meats, cereal, fruit. The big negative was that the coffee was awful. The liquid they called coffee only resembled coffee in colour. It neither smelt nor tasted like coffee. As someone who needs three coffees to get going in the morning, even I was on the tea. Wifi was rather unreliable at this hotel. It worked on and off and was not consistent. We would be happy to stay here again. Address: Branimirova 3, Zagreb .

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Our Room.

Steam Engine.

An old locomotive steam engine is located outside Zagreb's Main Train Station. We also noticed when we were in Slovenia that Slovenian stations also always had an old engine on display.

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Steam Engine.

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At the Railway Station.

Zagreb Cathedral.

Zagreb Cathedral’s full name is the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a beautiful building located in the Kaptol part of the city. The cathedral has two tall spires which can be seen from a long way away. One of the spires was being restored during our visit. The cathedral dates from 1093. During its long history it has been damaged by fires, earthquake and a Tartar invasion. After Zagreb experienced a dreadful earthquake in 1880 the cathedral was restored by Hermann Bollé, Outside the cathedral there were two pillars: one restored and one not. At the end of the Communist era the whole cathedral was in the same state as the non-­restored pillar after years of neglect. Nearby was a clock stopped at the time the earthquake of 1880 struck the city. During our visit there was a service going on inside the cathedral, so we could not wander round and look at things. Instead we listened to parts of the service. Zagreb Cathedral was visited by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.

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Zagreb Cathedral.

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Zagreb Cathedral.

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Zagreb Cathedral.

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Zagreb Cathedral.

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Zagreb Cathedral.

Dolac Market.

Dolac Market is also located in the Kaptol area. The market is a colourful assortment of stalls selling flowers, fruit, vegetables, baskets, wooden goods and souvenirs. I liked the statue of the lady carrying a basket on her head as she set off to market.

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Dolac Market.

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Dolac Market.

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Dolac Market.

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Dolac Market.

The Funicular.

The Funicular up to Gornji Grad is supposedly the smallest funicular in the world. We did not use it and instead climbed up the stairs next to it. There were good views from the top. A ride on the funicular costs 5 kuna.

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The Funicular.

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The Funicular.

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The Funicular.

The Lotrscak Tower.

The Lotrscak Tower stands at the top of the funicular. You can go up it for views over Zagreb but we did not do so. This tower dates from 1266 and contains the Gric cannon which is fired daily at noon; just as it has been every day since 1877. The tower is open from 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday and from 10am to 9pm Saturday and Sunday. Different exhibitions are held inside the tower.

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The Lotrscak Tower.

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The Lotrscak Tower.

The Church of St Catherine.

This church is located in Gornji Grad. It is a baroque church and was originally built in the seventeenth century by the Jesuits. St Catherine’s was totally destroyed in the 1880 earthquake and was completely rebuilt by Zagreb architect Hermann Bollẽ;. It was closed during our visit.

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The Church of St Catherine.

The Church of Cirila I Metoda.

The Church of Cirila I Metoda was also closed when we visited, but we liked the colourful icons on its façade. This church was built in 1880 by Zagreb architect, Hermann Bollé who was born in 1845 and died in 1926.

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The Church of Cirila I Metoda.

St Mark’s Church.

This church dates from the fourteenth century. Its most notable feature is its colourful roof depicting the Croatian, Dalmatian and Slavonian coats of arms. Inside there are sculptures by Ivan Mestrovic, Croatia’s most famous sculptor. As the church was closed during our visit we did not see these. On the same square as the church sit the parliament and presidential palace.

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St Mark’s Church.

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St Mark’s Church.

The Botanic Gardens.

These beautiful gardens form part of Zagreb's green horseshoe area. They are free entry and have beautiful turtle filled ponds and beautiful water­lily filled ponds. I love plants and thought the gardens were a lovely, peaceful place for a seat or a stroll.

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The Botanic Gardens.

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The Botanic Gardens.

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The Botanic Gardens.

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The Botanic Gardens.

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The Botanic Gardens.

The Green Horseshoe.

Zagreb is a city with lots of greenery even right in the city centre. One prong of the so called green horseshoe stretches from Zagreb Railway Station past the Trg Kralji Tomislava, the art pavillion, the Trg JJ Strossmayera to the Trg Nikole Subica Zrinskog. Near the railway station there is a statue of King Tomislava sitting on his horse. The art pavillion is a very attractive bright yellow building. This area also has statues and fountains. There are plenty of seats here to relax on in the shade. Both sides of this green area are lined with beautiful buildings with ornate facades.

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The Art Pavillion.

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The Art Pavillion.

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The Green Horseshoe.

The Green Horseshoe Prong Two.

The other prong of the green horseshoe stretches from the state archives - ­ a beautiful building with owls on its roof. This is on Trg Marka Marulica. The green area also covers Trg Antuna, Ivana i Vladimir Mazranica and Trg Marsala Tita with its lovely Croatian National Theatre.

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Croatian National Theatre.

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Croatian National Theatre.

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State Archives.

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Roof of State Archives.

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Fountain by Ivan Meštrović.

The Stone Gate.

The Stone Gate is near St Mark's Church in Gornji Gradec. In 1731 a great fire destroyed most of the gate but a painting of the Virgin and Child by an unknown 17th century artist inside the gate survived. The painting is part of a shrine inside the gate nowadays and many people come here to pray and place flowers.

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The Stone Gate.

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The Stone Gate.

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Praying at the Virgin and Child Shrine.

Mirogoj Cemetery.

We walked to Mirogoj Cemetery from the old town. It was quite a long way and took around 35 to 40 minutes. You can also get here by bus. The cemetery is surrounded by domed walls covered with green ivy. It is a very well kept cemetery in excellent condition and an interesting place for a stroll. Outside the entrance there are shops selling flowers and candles. I found the war areas at the bottom of the cemetery particularly interesting. There was a sculpture on top of a mass grave of victims of World War I and an area of white crosses for the dead of World War II.

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Entrance to Mirogoj Cemetery.

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Mirogoj Cemetery.

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Walls of Mirogoj Cemetery.

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War Memorial.

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Monument to Victims of World War I.

Saint George Statues.

We found one St George and the Dragon Statue near the Croatian National Theatre and another one outside the stone gate in the old town. Both were well worth seeing and very good to take photographs of.

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Saint George Statues.

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Saint George Statues.

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Saint George Statues.

Statue Of Marija Juric Zagorka.

On Tkalciceva in Kaptol we noticed a statue of a prim looking lady holding an umbrella. All around her were bars and cafes. To us she looked rather like Mary Poppins, but, in fact, she was Marija Juric Zagorka ­ Croatia’s first female journalist. Marija Juric Zagorka was also an author and wrote nineteen novels. In addition to that Marija Juric Zagorka was the founder of Women’s Papers, the Austro­Hungarian Empire's first ever magazine which focused on women’s issues.

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Statue Of Marija Juric Zagorka.

Statue Near Market Place Zagreb.

I found this statue near the market place in Zagreb, but I am not sure what it depicts. Two of the men in it are prisoners and look injured or dying, one is playing a musical instrument.. I wrote the above part of this tip when I had extremely limited internet access. I now know the statue is of Petrica Kerempuh. He is a fictional character who is known for his extremely unconventional sense of humour. He travels the world and laughs at people suffering adversity. His role is not so much a sadistic one but a way to teach people that humour is a means of getting through adversity.

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Statue of Petrica Kerempuh.

The Changing Of The Guard.

There are various ceremonies on Saturdays and Sundays in the old town revolving around the changing of the guards. They start at noon and continue in various parts of town until about two. We caught up with them just as they were leaving St Mark's Church.

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The Changing Of The Guard.

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The Changing Of The Guard.

Cravats.

The term cravat derives from the French word for a Croat person. Croatian mercenaries in France wore brightly coloured scarves as part of their military uniforms. The soldiers in the changing of the guards ceremony wore colourful cravats.

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Cravats.

Faces Of Zagreb.

I love carved faces on buildings and monuments etc. Here are two of my favourites from our trip to Zagreb. One is from a building near the botanic gardens and one is from the fountain in front of the cathedral.

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Faces Of Zagreb.

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Faces Of Zagreb.

Posted by irenevt 17:45 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

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