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Serbia One journey, millions of impressions

Serbia has always straddled East and West, not only in a geographical sense, but also politically and culturally. In the path of conquering armies from both sides led to constant migrations and mixing of populations for centuries, which resulted in a multi-ethnic, multicultural and multiconfessional society in Serbia. Although Serbia has, for centuries, seen frequent wars, devastation, fires, and mass-migration, a rich cultural and historical legacy has remained. Serbia is both ancient and contemporary; traditional and modern; mountains and hills contrast with lowlands and plains. Its vibrant capital and cities contrast with the relaxing tranquillity of its provinces and beautiful natural surroundings. Its rich cultural and historical heritage, stunning nature, warm, friendly and hospitable people and delicious local cuisine are just some of the reasons to discover Serbia.

The first postcard of Belgrade was printed in 1896 after which countless images of the Serbian capital followed. This selection of postcards depict eye-catching views and significant places in Belgrade at the beginning of the 20th century and serves as a keepsake.

Souvenir de Belgrade, 1889, V.Valožić, National Library of Serbia, CC BY-NC
Souvenir de Belgrade, 1889, V.Valožić, National Library of Serbia, CC BY-NC

This postcard belongs to one of the first series of Belgrade postcards issued by the publisher Valožić around 1895. The photographs were partially redrawn and hand coloured using the chromolithography technique. The featured motifs are: the Gate of Karlo VI, located in the Lower City below the Belgrade Fortress, which is an example of a unique Baroque-style building located south of the Sava and Danube rivers; some of Belgrade’s best known leisure places, such as “Čiča Toma’s Shack“, a tavern located in Kijevo, which today belongs to the Belgrade municipality of Rakovica; and Prince Miloš Obrenović’s Residence in Topčider (forms part of the Historical Museum of Serbia).

Belgrade,1900, Jevta M. Pavlović, National Library of Serbia, CC BY-NC
Belgrade,1900, Jevta M. Pavlović, National Library of Serbia, CC BY-NC

This is one of the oldest Belgrade postcards, published by Jevta M. Pavlović; the redrawn photographs represent prominent city buildings. In addition to the view from today’s new section of the city that reaches the Belgrade Fortress, the building of the Military Academy, the Ministry of Defence, Saborna Church and two important streets of Belgrade from the late 19th century, Dubrovačka and King Milan street, are shown as well.

Belgrade, 1897, Jevta M. Pavlović, National Library of Serbia, CC BY-NC
Belgrade, 1897, Jevta M. Pavlović, National Library of Serbia, CC BY-NC

A composite postcard issued by Jevta M. Pavlović, dating from 1897. In addition to the panoramic view of Belgrade from the bank of Sava, it also contains redrawn photographs portraying the National Theatre, the Military Academy and the Ministry of Defence, the Grand School (which is now the University of Belgrade Rectorate building), the King’s Park (nowadays the Students’ Park) and the Knez Mihailova Street.

More postcards from Serbia can be viewed at europeana.eu.