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Exploring Savamala in Belgrade

“You have to go before it disappears. Who knows how much longer it will be there…”

The local’s remark was pessimistic and ever so foreboding, but that is what Belgrade’s residents have come to expect when talking about Savamala.  Lorries, dust and layers of street art hide an area that is desperate to get noticed under the incoming shadow of a €3bn riverside development that could end its culture.

A guide to Skadarlija

Only 300 metres away from Republic Square, Skadarlija in Belgrade is a world apart from the city’s busy centre.

We first came across it when our tour guide turned around a corner and started offering our group homemade rakija (a type of fruit brandy) to accompany her story about the painters and philosophers who previously inhabited the so called Bohemian quarter.

Whilst listening to her and choking on a drink that was 50% alcohol, I also noticed how much the cobbled streets and colourful flower pots contrasted with the concrete buildings and retail pedestrian areas I’d quickly associated with the rest of Belgrade.