Urban Face of Modern Belgrade

Proportional to the short history of the existing urban settlement is the pattern of thinking we applied on the educational calendar, titled From Border Town to European Metropolis, we present you here with its text and illustrations.

What did the City look like in the long time spans kept in archeological data? Neither location from Vinča period, nor Roman Castrum with its military strategic solutions, influenced vista of later city settlements, whereas medieval Belgrade gave us the opportunity to reconstruct the picture of the palace. Fortress and building beside the fortress, the times when Belgrade became the capital of Serbian state – Belgrade of Despot Stefan Lazarević. It is a well-known picture of the city on a hill with two big rivers in the background. It is followed by the picture of city settlement of Turkish Belgrade, its image of picturesque chaos, with mosque minarets as verticals, standing like life symbols of the time. Brief Austrian power in 17th and 18th century brought, as it was kept on wonderful engravings from the period, more order in rhythm of Belgrade streets and buildings.

At two chronological ends of modern Belgrade history there are: The Plan of Borough in the trench by Emilijan Josimović from 1867. and Master Plan of Belgrade 2021. (adopted in 2003.). Great achievement of modern urban conceptions is connected to spreading of Belgrade across Sava, though also for the names of the engineer Đorđe Pavlović Kovaljevski) and the architect Nikola Dobrović. Large panorama of Belgrade creates two significant urban components and landmarks: Spatial complex of Belgrade Fortress, divided into the Upper and Lower Town and park Kalemegdan and Zemun slant above Gardoš, the old part of the city with fortress remains. At these outskirts of Belgrade two visible verticals were erected: The Victor at Kalemegdan by Meštrović and Hungarian Millennia Tower at Gardoš, called the Tower of Sibinjanin Janko, due to a romantic delusion. The distinguished spots on Belgrade panorama are park-forest Zvezdara. Topčider hill, Čukarica slope, hilly area towards Avala, as well as mountain Avala itself, although in the 18 km distance. At the mountain top is the Mausoleum of the Unknown Soldier by Ivan Meštrović.The Avala TV Tower had dominated the view before it was destroyed in NATO bombing campaign in 1999 and now is in the process of reconstruction.

Short periods of peace, between the huge historic turmoils, that the City lived through in its modern history, left many of the urban cores uncompleted, planned or spontaneously built settlements in the outer areas of the City, riverside closed by the railroad tracks, life in sky scrapers in the suburbs, subway as the everlasting topic, though also the City with numerous works of the builders past. That past persistently remains on the slant of the Old City and on its slopes, especially along the river Sava, resisting the time and changeable urban will, as the most valuable part of the City face, retaining regardless of all the name – metropolis.


EMILIJAN JOSIMOVIĆ (1821, Stara Moldava, Romania – 1897, Sokobanja, Serbia) – first Serbian urban planner.
«The Old Belgrade (part inside the trench) as it exists and as it is supposed to be regulated», 1867.

The plan of the Borough in the trench by Emilijan Josimović is dealing with historical core of Belgrade, including well known Old City quarters from Danube towards Sava: Dorćol quarter, Varoš quarter and a part of the baroque Belgrade fortress with its esplanade, meanwhile transformed to the park space: Small Kalemegdan, Big Kalemegdan, Lower Kalemegdan and Zoo park.

This plan is supplemented with the elaboration of the lower tracing of nowadays Knez Mihajlova street, done on September 14th 1868 by Stevan Zarić.


Stevan Zarić, Second class engineer of the Construction Ministry
«Belgrade plan prepared to be used in Belgrade primary schools. Done by Stevan Zarić, engineer. State printing office edition 1878. Scale ratio 1 : 4000»
(Vienna, War Archive G Ib 56).

The first project of the park space in Belgrade, in 1870. in the area of Belgrade Baroque Fortress. Up till today, it was couple of times insignificantly renovated (History Archive of the City of Belgrade)


The Plan of Belgrade Prepared by (Jovan) Bešlić in 1893. Scale ratio 1:10 000
(History Archive of the City of Belgrade).

Situation of the Old cemetery and its vicinity. Serbian cemetery has been used for burying of Belgrade inhabitants up till 1826, situated inside the trench, (nowadays the space behind Konak Knjeginje Ljubice and Pop Lukina st.) moved that year to Tašmajdan on the demand of the Duke Miloš Obrenović. «The Minister of interior Nikola Hristić on July 1st 1883, issued the order which interdicted burials on Tašmajdan cemetery». Service rules on the New cemetery were proscribed in 1886, when conducting funeral sermons began there. The Plan of Belgrade Borough, Sewerage department ОG of Belgrade, 1903. Scale ratio 1 : 10 000 (History archive of the City of Belgrade).


VASA LAZAREVIĆ, The Plan of the City of Belgrade, Capital of the Serbian Kingdom. Made in Belgrade Municipality.
Scale ratio 1:10 000, 1910. (National Library of Serbia).

The regulation of the Big Open Market was done in the space of the late, deserted Turkish cemetery, and then the open market, so that the northwest part of the Open Market was transformed in the park space (King Park), and the rest has been used as the Open Market up till 1927 (King Square). The whole space became the park in 1929, on the basis of the project by Milutin Borisavljević, Eng. Arch. for the Fence of the Student Park.


ALBAN CHAMBON, French architect of Belgian origin (Varzy-Bièvre 1847 - Brussels 1925)
(Varzi 1847. Varzy-Bièvre - ? )
The Plan of the Belgrade Borough, 1912. (Architecture Moderne Bruxelles)

Chambon’s plan was founded on the geodetic plan from 1909. As the supporter of historicism, i.e. eclecticism, Alban Chambon realizes the basic idea for the Borough reconstruction by reinterpretation of the past and world building heritage. Comparing to earlier suggestions for Rejon Street, Chambon plan offers extremely valuable solution for Kružni Boulevard, in splendid Osman scales, clearly dividing construction area from the rest of the city territory.


ĐORĐE KOVALJEVSKI Grigory Pavlovich Kovalyevsky (26. IV 1888, Jelisavetgrad (Kirovgradu), Russia - ?)
General Urban Plan of Belgrade from 1923. Scale ratio 1:4000.

The General Plan was completed in July and was adopted on the August 10th 1923 Municipal Council session, though without Appendix concerning New Belgrade. The plan was ratified by the Construction Ministry on July 19th 1924. The appendix concerning New Belgrade represents typical example of radial – composite solution. After numerous following open competition solutions, nowadays solution after the Second World War represents outstanding example of the functional – composite doctrine.


JOVAN I. OBRADOVIĆ, engineer, inspector in the Construction Ministry (?-?) General Regulation Plan for the City of Belgrade 1927. Scale ratio 1:10 000.

The plan was designed after numerous discussions and criticisms, the most significant among them were : impossibility to carry out 2 diagonal tracings in the area of the upper part of Dorćol quarter, as well as sizeable expansion of the Borough: areas of Senjak, Dedinje, Lekino brdo, etc. During the process, the new position of Pančevo bridge was determined.


MILICA KRSTIĆ (maiden family name ČOLAK- ANTIĆ, September 9th 1887, Kragujevac – 1964, Belgrade).
General Regulation Plan from 1939, Scale ratio 1:10.000

In this Plan we find (unfortunately quite schematized) the last urban setting for the surroundings of the Dome of Sveti Sava, done by the authors Deroko and Nestorović. It keeps the same concept from their first preliminary plan, where the dome was in the middle of the largest free space approachable via the park zone. (Vesna Matičević, The Arranging of the space around the Dome of Sveti Sava, GGB book XXXVII, 1990, page. 252)


NIKOLA DOBROVIĆ (February 12th 1897, Pecs, Hungary – January 11th. 1967, Belgrade), Director of the Urban Institute of Serbia, The City Architect of Belgrade, professor at he Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade.
Preliminary General Urban Plan of Belgrade, done in 1948, managed by Nikola Dobrović eng. arch.

The design work of the Preliminary General Plan for the Reconstruction of Belgrade was completed on September 30th 1948. The Plan was forerun by several transportation case studies of all the modalities of transport (railway, river etc.), resulting with General Transportation Network, with main features: for the Old City Core of Belgrade, as one diagonal tracing – Osman axis Terazije - Slavija – Svetosavski plateau – Autokomanda – Railroad station, while the second tracing is starting from Novi Železnički Square towards Autokomanda and slanting down Vračar slope towards Crveni Krst, ending on King Alexander Boulevard. The third radiant tracing orthographic to Železnički Square should be leading towards Pančevo bridge. Through the same Railroad Square, parallel to railway tracks, is also leading the magisterial transport tracing towards New Belgrade (nowadays route of the city highway Zagreb - Niš). Such insubstantial suggestions became the object of the severe criticism, why Dobrović was officially transferred to Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade.


MILOŠ SOMBORSKI (1902, Sarajevo – 1983, Sarajevo)
General Plan of Belgrade, General survey of the General Plan. Plan was adopted by IONO on October 20th 1950.
Scale ratio 1 : 10 000.

With the Plan of the City Central Zone Reconstruction some parts of the City were elaborated in more details, such as: Dimitrije Tucović Square, Marx and Engels Square (architect Nikola Gavrilović, /1914-1975/), Terazije Terrace (architect Stanko Mandić /1915-1987/) and the Square of the Republic (architect Oliver Minić /1915-1979/).


ALEKSANDAR ĐORĐEVIĆ (-------) MILUTIN GLAVIČKI (November 25th 1930, Tetovo – August 15th 1987, Belgrade)
General Urban Plan of Belgrade,
The Space Use Plan, March 23rd 1972.
Scale ratio 1 : 20 000
Decision about drafting of this plan was made in the City Assembly of Belgrade in the second half of 1969.

As the urban issue, Ada Ciganlija has been the object of the urban professional discussions since the time of the international open competition in 1922, when the open competition work «Urbs Magna» suggested Ada Ciganlija as the recreational center. Still, the appendix of the 1923 General Plan situates an industrial zone of Belgrade there (on the very island). After numerous hydrotechnic studies, special merit of the engineer Miladin M. Pećinar, GUP from 1972 brings the final – lake solution: Sports – Recreational Center Ada Ciganlija.


KONSTANTIN KOSTIĆ (1941, Belgrade)
Modifications and Supplements of the General Urban Plan of Belgrade up till 2002.
Scale ratio 1 : 20 000.
The City Assembly adopted the Draft of the Decision for GUP October 4th 1984.

The City Approach to Danube. The author of urban – architectural conception Jovan Mišković eng. arch. (1933, Ada), consultants: Vesna Matičević eng. arch. (1928, Sarajevo) and Dragomir Dick Manojlović (1940, Belgrade). The main idea of the Plan (the part of the First Local Community besides Danube) is the lengthening of the existing urban matrix from Tadeša Košćuškog Street and further via pedestrian prospects of the streets Jevrejska, Braće Baruh, Cara Uroša, Dubrovačka, Kapetan Mišina.


VLADIMIR MACURA (1942, Belgrade MIODRAG BRACA FERNČAK (1943, Zlatar, Croatia). Master Plan 2021. Scale ratio 1:20000 with the increased level of the display generalization, because of its magnitude and organization of the City. Published in Službeni List of the City of Belgrade from October 15th 2003.

Veliko and Malo Ratno Ostrvo islands (in status of previous protection, as a reservation and/ or landscape of the outstanding features. This site, for the first time in this Plan, gains status of Genius loci of Belgrade, i.e. Zemun, which was not emphasized in up to date plans. The Plan indirectly rejects the idea of the water supply source on the very island, since the Plan provides for preservation of Galijaška bara, the swampy, 24 hectares depression at Veliko Ratno Ostrvo Island, and for cleaning аnd deepening of the melioration canals overgrown with vegetation.