We firmly believe that sport is the most important Serbian brand!

At the top of the sports pyramid, Serbia usually puts those that are popular on a global level, but almost every national sports federation has a rich treasury with medals and trophies from international competitions. We like to say that Serbia is a “basketball country” and that we “live” for success in football, but our sports sociology is really versatile and diverse.

This pluralism and inclination towards different sports in Serbia could be noticed in the organization of the biggest sports events, and Belgrade is certainly known for that as it is considered a host of trust.

The history of sports in the Serbian capital is written on various surfaces: grass, concrete, wood, tatami, clay, racetracks, in the pool, and even on the street asphalt.

The capital of the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia hosted the last car race before the start of World War II in 1939 – the Belgrade Grand Prix. The first and only Formula 1 race in our country was held on the track around the Belgrade Fortress.

In the 1950s, Belgrade was given the opportunity to host important sporting events. The first, held in 1953, is the World Bowling Championship in men and women’s competition. A year later, the European Sports Championship was organized for the first time, which made us famous all over the world.

SPORTS

Meet the history of Belgrade through sports

Many thanks to the greats, who made me become what I am – a symbol of your joy, history, life. I am the reason why you are appreciated and admired and why people all over the world ask themselves – what is your secret? I deserve to be right here, in this city, more than anywhere else.

If a sculpture made as part of BASKETBALL could speak, these would probably be her first words. The monument erected in front of the northern entrance to the Belgrade Arena permanently testifies to the great tradition and welcomes foreigners with the well-known greeting: „THIS IS THE COUNTRY OF BASKETBALL“.

Our men’s national team, which won a gold medal at the 1980 Olympics, is a three-time world and five-time European champion. Today, the „eagles“ are the vice-champions of the world and Europe, as well as the silver winners at the last Olympic games. The women’s basketball team of the former Yugoslavia has silver medals from all major competitions in its treasury, and in 2015, Serbia became the European champion.

In short, we present to you the greatest successes of Serbian basketball, enough to understand why Belgrade is the only city in the world that has a monument dedicated to this sport.

As one of the most important representatives of basketball culture, our country had to become respected as a host of sports events.

The European Women’s Basketball Championship, the fourth in a row, was organized in Belgrade in 1954, and at the beginning of 1961, the 12th European Championship in men’s competition.

In 1961, the Belgrade Fair was filled with basketball fans. Around 12,000 spectators cheered for the team led from the bench by coach Aleksandar Nikolić, and whose leader on the field was Radivoje Korać, better known by the nickname „Žućko“. Yugoslavia entered the finals, but in the fight for gold failed to defeat the Soviet Union, which reached its fifth European title.

What Radivoj Korać and his teammates failed to do, a new generation of Serbian basketball players succeeded 12 years later. Ćosić, Dalipagić, Kićanović, Slavnić, Šolman and the rest of the team brought Yugoslavia to the roof of Europe in Spain in 1973. The same team, reinforced by Mirzo Delibašić, defended the title in 1975 and 1977.

Pionir Hall hosted the tournament in 1975, when Yugoslavia, without a single defeat, became European champions for the second time. Five years later, Belgrade hosted the best teams of the Old Continent in the women’s competition as well.

A new era in the organization of sports events began in 2004, when the Belgrade Arena was built, a multifunctional facility, most often hosted by athletes and musicians. The first event organized in this modern sports facility was the FIBA ​​tournament „Diamond Ball“, in which our country performed as the current world champion.

In front of 20,000 spectators at the Belgrade Arena on September 25, 2005, Greece defeated Germany for its second European title in history. However, Belgrade was enchanted by Dirk Nowicki who then gained the sympathy of basketball fans in Serbia and was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

In May 2018, the Belgrade Arena hosted the final four of the basketball Euro league. Real Madrid climbed to the roof of Europe for the tenth time, and 19-year-old Luka Dončić announced to his parties that will be the bright future of this sport.

From June 27 to July 7, 2019, Belgrade, together with Nis, Zrenjanin and the city of Riga in Latvia, hosted the European Women’s Championship. The trophy went to Spain, which was better than France in the final, while Serbia won bronze by defeating the British team.

In the phenomenon called football, which went beyond all sports, Belgrade was in the center of attention only twice, more than 40 years ago.

Marakana, the largest football stadium in Serbia and the home of Red Star football players, was officially opened on September 1, 1963, and a decade later the winner of the European Champions Cup was decided on this field.

Ajax, led by one of the best football players in the world, Johan Cruyff, beat Juventus 1: 0 in the final match on May 30, 1973, and reached the third consecutive trophy of this competition.

Johnny Rapp scored the only goal that was seen that day at Maracana in the fifth minute of the match, when he lobbed goalkeeper Dino Zof.

Three years later, Belgrade and Zagreb hosted four national teams, which were fighting for the title of European champion. The players of Czechoslovakia, who defeated West Germany in the final after penalties 5 : 3, lifted the trophy. The regular 90 minutes ended with the result 2 : 2, while there were no goals in overtime.

This European Championship went down in history in one detail, and that is the way Antonin Panenka scored a penalty in the final, in the fifth series. He lobbed the opponent’s goalkeeper from the penalty spot, so the penalty kick taken this way was called “panenka”.

Zinedine Zidane, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrea Pirlo and Francesco Totti are just some of the greats of world football, who have taken penalties in this way during their careers, following the example of the legendary Czechoslovak.

The first World Water Polo Championship was held in Belgrade in 1973, and Yugoslavia then won its first medal – a bronze.

After two titles of European champion, first under the name Yugoslavia, and then as Serbia and Montenegro, our water polo players lifted the trophy intended for the best team of the Old Continent for the third time in a row at the Belgrade pool Tasmajdan in 2006.

A decade later, the same competition was held in the Belgrade Arena, for the first time with 16 countries participating in the men’s competition and 12 selections in the women’s. The men’s final between Serbia and Montenegro was watched by as many as 18,473 spectators water polo matches. The previous record was 17,000, and was set in 2000 in the final of the Olympic games in Sydney between Hungary and Russia. Filip Filipović, Andrija Prlainović, Živko Gocić, Slobodan Nikić, Gojko Pijetlović and the team won gold, beating Montenegro 10: 8. A few months later, our water polo team once again won the most brilliant medal, but at the Olympic Games in Rio.

“Dolphins” are one of the most successful Serbian selections. They have won the most brilliant medal at the Olympics four times, they have been on the roof of the world five times, they are eight-time European champions, while they have climbed the World Cup podium 12 times and celebrated winning the World Cup five times.

  • One of the most spectacular moves in the history of volleyball was made by Vanja Grbić in the final of the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, when Yugoslavia climbed the podium after the triumph over Russia in the final. After a poor reception, Grbić skipped the commercials next to the field and managed to return the ball to the field, and returned to the net just in time to block the spike of the Russian corrector from the fast counter.

    Serbian volleyball players are the current champions of Europe and the world, as well as the runners-up from the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Mr. Aleksandar Boricic, a former Yugoslav volleyball player, has been the president of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia and the European Volleyball Federation (EVF) for many years. Due to the great reputation and respect he gained in the volleyball world, he was appointed vice president of the World Volleyball Federation (FIVB).

    The great turning point for volleyball in Serbia happened at the beginning of the 21st century. Until then, our country organized only one international competition, when in 1975 Belgrade hosted the European Women’s Championship and Yugoslavia won bronze.

    In September 2005, Belgrade and Rome hosted the European Men’s Championship. The host countries faced off in the semi-finals were celebrated by Italy and then beat Russia in the match for the championship title. Serbia and Montenegro enriched their treasury of medals with a bronze one within a triumph over Spain in the match for third place.

    A few months earlier that year, the Belgrade Arena hosted the best volleyball teams in the final tournament of the Men’s World League. Brazil defeated Serbia and Montenegro in the final, and our corrector Ivan Miljković was named the best player. The same scenario happened in 2009, when 22,680 spectators in the Arena watched the finals between Brazil and Serbia. At that time, the MVP recognition went to Libero Serge Santos.

    In October 2011, the women’s volleyball team of Serbia wrote a new page of success in its history. Our girls became European champions for the first time in the „Pionir“ hall, after beating the German team in the final.

    The men’s volleyball national team of Serbia has Olympic gold (2000 in Sydney), silver from the World Cup (1998 in Japan) and three trophies intended for the European champion (2001, 2011 and 2019). They won the World League in 2016, and our boys finished the competition at the World Cup in 2003 with a bronze medal around their necks.

    The women’s volleyball team of our country has silver from the Olympic Games (2016 in Rio), world gold (2018), three cups from the European Championship (2011, 2017, 2019) in its rich collection of medals, and won silver at the 2015 World Cup.

    All these facts additionally indicate that volleyball is deeply rooted in the sports culture of our country.

Yugoslavian handball was at the peak of the 70s last century, when the national teams recorded the most significant successes.

The men’s national team won a gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics, when handball returned to Olympic sports. A year later, the women’s team won the World Cup in Belgrade, defeating Romania in the final 16:11.

Only three major international handball competitions have been held in our country in the recent period. Serbia hosted the European Men’s Championship in 2012, when the Eagles lost to Denmark in the final.

In the same year, in December, our country hosted the best women’s selections of the Old Continent, but Serbia did not manage to be among the medal winners, as it lost to Hungary in the match for third place.

The historical success of our handball players came in 2013, when they played the finals of the World Cup as the host of the championship, but were defeated by the Brazilian national team in the match for the championship title.

Thanks to the global popularity of Novak Djokovic’s first racket in the world, an ATP tournament (ATP 250 series) was held in Serbia for the first time in 2009. The Serbian Open Championship (also known as the Serbia Open) has been held four times so far, and Novak Djokovic has won the tournament twice, breaking a record for the number of weeks spent at the top of the ATP list.

For our country, the most important tennis event was the Davis Cup final, held in the Belgrade Arena in 2010. Novak Djokovic, Nenad Zimonjic, Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic were the team that lifted the trophy, the famous “salad bar”, after the triumph over France.

In 2017, the Belgrade Arena hosted the European Indoor Athletics Championships. The audience enjoyed watching stars such as Ivana Španović, Katerina Stefanidi, Laura Muir, Kevin Mayer, Pavel Maslak and others.

Once again, the functionality of the Arena came to the expression, which perfectly adapted to all the requirements of this important athletic competition.

The athletics hall, a complex in Belgrade, dedicated to the “queen of sports”, was opened in March 2016 and is intended for national and regional competitions.

There are few cities that, like Belgrade, have an artificial lake only five kilometers from the center. Ada Ciganlija was a perfect rowing (regatta) track countless times, and the first major sporting event that took place on its waters was the World Kayak and Canoe Championships in 1982, while the European Championships were organized twice – in 2011 and 2018. Belgrade also hosted the 2014 European Rowing Championships.

Belgrade has a long tradition of organizing major international competitions and combat sports. Among the most important are the World Judo Championship in 1989, the European Judo Championship in 1986 and 2007, the European Wrestling Championship in 2012, the World Boxing Championship in 1978, as well as the “Belgrade Seagull Trophy”, a traditional taekwondo tournament.

The Belgrade Marathon, an event that our capital is especially proud of, was first organized in 1988. More than 100,000 competitors from all over the world come to Belgrade every spring to take part in the famous marathon. It was held even in 1999, during the NATO bombing and the state of war.

Belgrade has twice been a candidate for the organization of the Summer Olympic Games – for the Games that took place in 1992 and 1996. During the first candidacy, Yugoslavia even invested in a plan to build an Olympic Village in New Belgrade, and the Games logo was done.

Within the Sports Association of Belgrade, 1,347 active clubs are registered, with a total number of 51,537 athletes, of which 15,683 are women. The capital of Serbia nurtures sports culture in the best possible way, providing its athletes with full support on the way to trophies and success, and guests with a warm welcome and unforgettable memories.

PLACES TO VISIT

Belgrade is not just a city of sports. If the road takes you to the Serbian capital, these are places you must visit.

BELGRADE FORTRESS

Belgrade Fortress, with a beautiful view of the confluence of the Sava and the Danube, is one of the symbols of our capital. Have a handful of cultural and historical monuments, but also institutions such as the Military and Natural History Museum, Zoo, Tomb of National Heroes… The fortress, which is part of Kalemegdan Park, is adorned with numerous statues, busts and fountains dedicated to important historical events and personalities, but it is protective sign triumphal monument Winner.

Due to the strategically favorable position of the ridge located at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube, which dominates the surroundings and provides conditions for control over the plain to the north and west, Belgrade Fortress has been used for settlement since prehistoric times the first settlement was founded during the Neolithic. It has 13 gates and 5 towers, which were strategically built for defense against the enemy, who were lurking from the water and land. For centuries, it was a Roman castrum, a Byzantine castle, the medieval fortified capital of the Serbian despotate and finally an Austrian / Ottoman artillery fortification. Today it is a kind of museum of Belgrade’s past and one of the favorite tourist attractions.

CHURCH OF SAINT SAVA

The Church of Saint Sava is the largest Orthodox Church in the Balkans. It was erected in the part of Rastko Nemanjić, a Serbian prince, who was named Sava after becoming a monk. He was a monk, abbot of the Studenica monastery, writer, diplomat, first archbishop and founder of the autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church. Due to its merits, especially for the development of schooling and education, in Serbia and Republika Srpska, the day of his death (January 27 according to the new calendar) is marked as the Day of Education (school glory).

The cult of Saint Sava was especially dominant during the slavery of Serbian lands under the Turks, which lasted for five centuries. The glorious state of Nemanjić ceased to exist, but the Serbian Orthodox Church remained strong, with its eternal faith in Christ, with its monasteries, frescoes, and manuscripts. In order to deal a new blow to the Serbian people, in 1594 the Turkish conquerors brought the body of Saint Sava, which rested in the Milesevo monastery, to Belgrade and burned it in Vracar.

Three centuries later, only a decade after the final liberation from the Turkish occupation, a desire was born to build a temple on the site where Sava’s relics were burned. At the place where it was thought that a bonfire had been erected, the magnificent Temple of Saint Sava was built.

KNEZ-MIHAILOVA STREET

Knez-Mihailova Street is the most famous street in Belgrade, and according to some writings, it is the first in our capital to be officially named and it has never been changed. Every building in Knez-Mihailova is important either because of its architectural values, because of the people who built or lived in them, because of the events that took place in them, or because of the institutions that functioned in them.

In 1867, Prince Mihailo Obrenović received the keys to the Belgrade Fortress from Ali-Riz Pasha, which marked the end of Turkish rule in Serbia. The same year, the street was regulated according to the designs of the Serbian architect and urban planner Emilijan Josimović, who designed a large part of the old town imagining what would it look like.

Today, Knez-Mihailova Street is 790 meters long and is a completely pedestrian zone. In 1870.the city administration officially christened the street, giving it the name – Kneza Mihaila Street. In the part of the prince, in addition to the name of the main street, a monument was erected on the plateau of the Republic Square.

THE REPUBLIC SQUARE

Republic Square is the central city square in Belgrade. Encompasses the space between the House of the Serbian Army, the National Theater, the Jadran cinema and the City Tavern. It was once called the Theater Square.

There is a monument dedicated to Prince Mihailo Obrenović, and its author is the Italian sculptor Enrico Paci, while the reliefs on the monument were made according to the drawings of the architect Konstantin Jovanović.

BELGRADE ZOO

The Belgrade Zoo was established in 1936, and was ceremoniously opened on July 12 in Mali Kalemegdan. The mayor and industrialist, Mr. Vlada Ilić, founded it.

One of the inhabitants of the Belgrade Zoo is an American alligator named Muja, which is considered to be the oldest living alligator in the world. He arrived in the Garden a year after its founding, on August 9, 1937, as an adult animal. Today it is the only one left of the inhabitants of the Garden, who managed to survive the Second World War, during which the Garden, since Belgrade was bombed twice, was almost completely destroyed.

NIKOLA TESLA MUSEUM

The Nikola Tesla Museum, located in Krunska Street in Belgrade, is a unique institution of science and culture, not only in Serbia, but also in the world. It is the only museum that preserves the original and personal legacy of Nikola Tesla. It has the following extremely valuable collections:

· Over 160,000 original documents

· Over 2,000 books and magazines

· Over 1,200 historical and technical exhibits

· Over 1,500 photographs and glass photo plates of original technical

· Over 1,000 plans and drawings.

The Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade was opened to the public on October 20, 1955 and was the first technical museum in Yugoslavia. On that occasion, a permanent exhibition was presented where visitors could observe faithfully made models according to Tesla’s designs.

MUSEUM OF ILLUSION

The Museum of Illusions is the largest museum franchise chain in the world, which will be open in 30 cities around the world by the beginning of 2021. It spreads over three levels and has many scientific exhibits, most of which are interactive. It is located in Nušićeva Street, and it was opened in May 2018.

With a real wealth of exhibits and fun and attractive tricks displayed on almost 400 m2 in the city center, visitors can learn something about sight, perception, the human brain and the scientific explanations behind illusions, to understand why eyes see things the brain does not understand.