This is an extremely unique district in Belgrade which strives to preserve the old-town ‘Bohemian’ spirit. It is located close to the National theatre and back in the day it used to be the gathering place for primarily artists of all branches – actors, poets, painters, performers and all other artistically inclined professions. These were free-spirited people who enjoyed their fair share of indulgence and often engaged in philosophical debates over lunch in many taverns of this district. Great care was taken to preserve this unique spirit – the street is still paved in old-Belgrade style cobblestone which used to line all the streets of the city but is nowadays only found here. The walls are vividly painted and in the evenings all the taverns and cafes open and light up the entire street with lanterns and colorful lights of their gardens.
In the very end of Skadarlija street is a small area known as the ‘atrium’, most of it occupied by the brewery once owned by one of Belgrade’s most distinguished families at the time, the Bajloni family. (Incidentally, the nearby marketplace is also named after them, the Bajloni marketplace). The brewery used to make “Alexander” beer, unique for the fact that it was made from the water coming from a thermal spring in the brewery’s backyard. The brewery eventually came into ownership by the BIP brewery but was eventually shut down. Another interesting fact is that there exists a complex of ‘lagums’ (subterranean galleries or catacombs) underneath the brewery. They used to be utilized as a storage area but today are abandoned and slated for demolition.
Today the Skadarlija street is not only still beautiful and preserving in the old-town spirit, but also a home to some of Belgrade’s most well-known restaurants and hotels. Quite regularly this is the place to see music bands dressed in traditional Serbian garments playing brass instruments and traditional urban music.
There is an old belief that one is likely to break their neck in this street. Don’t be alarmed, though! It is only an old inside-joke for those who frequent the taverns here which originated from the fact that many a drunk actor took a tumble down the sloping cobblestone street after a night of drinking with their fellow artists, following a successful performance.