Mean Streets of Belgrade - Street Photography from the Heart of Serbia | Nate Robert | Fuji X-Pro1 | Scoop.it


Last time I was in Belgrade, I got bottles of piss thrown at me. Enjoy mate.” Despite what it sounded like, that wasn’t a warning, as such. “I was in Belgrade in 2010, right wing fascists rioted and torched the city, because pride march was on. Cars were burning outside outside the apartment.” That’s what two friends told me, when I announced my trip to Serbia. Now that I’ve been in Belgrade almost a month, I know what the capital city of the former Yugoslavia is like. And, I wish I didn’t. Serbians are all too aware that their international reputation may precede them. “They all hate us, they think we’re butchers”. I’d only met this guy two minutes ago. He opened up his closed bar and poured me a drink. And, he refused my money. Such is the hospitality I have experienced here. Belgrade is a memorable city. A 50 year stint with communism, a three month NATO sponsored bombing campaign in 1999, and a notable millennium or so of history, has created a unique metropolis. Western Europeans think this city is dirty, smoky, and could do with a spruce up. Fortunately, Belgrade is guilty on all three counts. “Those three months in 1999, with the bombs, that was the best time of my life.” He poured another drink as I quizzed him about the bombing. It was only 13 years ago that Belgrade was hit, and I could tell by the smile that beamed from his face – he believed what he was saying. Somebody else had told me a similar story – at first the bombing was scary, but before long “you would see the missiles and bombs flying through the air, and you just get used to it”. Prince may not have been the only one partying like it was 1999. Apart from the stories of the locals, semi-permanent reminders of this period include a heavily bombed pigeon-pair of modernist communist buildings in the downtown area. The former Ministry of Defense buildings must make it  hard for locals to forget that Belgrade, Serbia, and the entire Balkans region, has a recent history of indescribable horror........