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Serbia - Selective History in Bombed Belgrade

sunny 30 °C
View Euro trip 2013 on travellinglise's travel map.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain

Foodie moment

A hearty lunch of Goulash and Mousaka at the strangely named '?' restaurant.

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Cultural moment

After travelling through Croatia and Bosnia we eagerly anticipated seeing the 'other side to the story' once we reached Serbia. So far we had developed a pretty dark and dismal picture of the Serbian government and armed forces, but were willing to remain open-minded. Unfortunately there didn't seem to be another side to the story - just a whole lot of denial and cover-up by the government. There were no related museums or memorials (in fact the 90's seemed to be a chunk of time missing in Serbian history!), and considering the population was kept in the dark and fed a lot of lies about Serbia's involvement, no one could really tell us much (nor did they want to, we guess).

The only evidence we found that Serbia had been involved in any kind of conflict in the past couple of decades were right in the centre of the city we stumbled across two decimated buildings. They looked like they had been ripped apart by a bomb, with main walls missing and floors falling down on top of each other. We looked around for some sort of sign or notice to tell us what had happened there, but there was nothing, and the residents of the city just rushed past seeming to ignore the towering ruins on the corner of one of their main streets. Once we got onto the Internet we found out that in fact they had been hit by a bomb, to be more specific, by a NATO air strike. The buildings used to be the Serbian Army headquarters, and were part of a 12 day air strike on Serbia in a push by NATO for them to pull out of the Kosovo conflicts. Due to a tip off, the buildings were evacuated before the strike.

We found it very strange that the shells of the buildings still stood there, basically untouched since the strike, but there was no explanation or information given. I do know there is still a lot of anger with the Serbians about the strikes, but I guess if the civilians, due to misinformation, felt they were unwarranted then anger is not unreasonable. I do know that personally if NATO started to attack my city/army/politicians then I would start to get the feeling that something more was going on that I had been told... and I'd be asking questions! But did they really want to know I wonder?

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Wow moment

Sitting high on a hill above Belgrade is one of its top tourist attractions, the Belgrade Fortress, and best of all its free! A great place to explore, the surrounding parkland is a great escape from the busy city below and the panoramic views take in the meeting of the Sava and Danube rivers and the Great War Island below. A wonderful place to spend a sunny afternoon.

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What we learnt today

Nikola Tesla, while not known by most people, is my favourite scientist, a specialist in the fields of physics and electricity. I had no idea he was Serbian and that there is a museum specifically dedicated to him in Belgrade. So naturally we had to go. The museum itself isn't very big at all, and quite expensive in comparison to other museums, but the guided tour we took made up for it. In it, our Tesla obsessed guide showed us a number of awesome demonstrations using Tesla's inventions. These included the Tesla Coil which shoots lightning and makes fluoro light tubes glow at a distance. Another demonstrated wireless radio communication and wireless energy, in which we all got to touch electricity, which while was safe, stung a lot! One cool fact that we learnt was that Tesla invented the electric car over 100 years ago! Also he was in the process of creating wireless electricity for the entire planet, but his electric tower was bombed before it was finished. It's amazing to discover that he was responsible for inventing so many things that we take for granted today.

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We also learnt today that signs in Belgrade are often in Cyrillic, so even if you have the name of the street you are looking for, you wont be able to tell where it is, that is unless you happen to know how to ready Cyrillic letters. Trying to find your hotel while carrying 18kgs of luggage on your back while not being able to tell what street your'e on or are even looking for not a lot of fun.

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Posted by travellinglise 09:22 Archived in Serbia Tagged belgrade nato tesla

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Comments

Tesla coils... that's cool. Reminds me of zapping units in C&C.

by paul

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