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Inat of Beograd (Belgrade History and Travel Blog 2021

This travel blog details our time in Belgrade, Serbia. We walk around and saw the sights and landmarks of the city. We visited the Belgrade Fortress, Military Museum, Temple of Saint Sava, and more!

The Serbian people have a world called "Inat." It is complicated to understand, but it can be equated to defiance or proving the doubters wrong. The bigger the obstacle, the bigger the fight. This spirit comes out in many areas. Science, Religion, War, and Community. In Science it is popularized by Nikola Tesla. Through War Time the people have consistently found ways to protect themselves and fight back. For Religion, we have St. Sava. The community aspect has materialized through many generations. Today we will tell you about our trip to Beograd or Belgrade, Serbia and show you how no matter what forces rise up against this city and its people, the spirit of inat never goes away.

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was Born July 10, 1856. He was Serbian but born in Modern Day Croatia. He spoke 8 languages. He said his inventions would come to him in the flashes of light he saw. At 28 he accepted a job at Edison Machine Works in New York City. He eventually became a US Citizen. He was an assistant for the owner of the company; Thomas Edison. Edison owned the patent for DC; where electric charges go one way. Tesla was a proponent for an alternating current; or AC. Edison never gave Tesla the opportunity to put his AC designs into production due to the money Edison was making on the DC products so Tesla quit after 6 months to form his own company.

Unfortunately, his company folded and his investors took his patents leaving Tesla to make money by digging ditches. He got a job with Westinghouse Electric and they fought against Thomas Edison. To disprove the AC products, Edison even went as far as electrocuting animals including an elephant. Westinghouse was given the rights to build a plant at Niagara Falls which powered part of New York City. Tesla came up with the idea for radio but his lab caught on fire and he lost his research and also never filed for formal patents.

Another inventor Marconia took advantage of this and beat Tesla to market. Using some of Tesla's patents and funding from Thomas Edison, Marconi developed radio which resulted in Marconi winning the Nobel prize in Physics. Even after that setback, Tesla's work still lives today. AC is the form of electric power that we use today in our homes for things such as appliances and televisions. The Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade was opened to the public on October 20, 1955.

Belgrade Fort

Nikola Tesla was known for electric currents. Another current is that of the Danube. This is Europe's second-longest river. It flows through ten countries. People gather in Belgrade to see the meeting of the Danube and the Sava Rivers. The Danube River served as the border between Serbia and Austro-Hungarian Empire. And it was the fortress overlooking this meeting point that has so much history.

The foundations of Belgrade go back to the times of the Vinča culture; around the 6th century BC. But one of the most prominent remains of ancient times is the city of Singidunum. In the 3rd Century BC this fortified city was settled by the Celts. Then in 75 BC, the Romans. Singidumum eventually became Belgrade. Or as the locals would say Beograd. This translates to White Fort. White for the name of an early subgroup of Slav people and Fort due to the fortification of the city. Belgrade Fortress has been fought over in 115 battles, and has been destroyed and rebuilt over 40 times.

Pobednik or 'The Victor' is a statue here that commemorates Serbia's victory over the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires during the Balkan Wars and the First World War. It is a standing bronze male figure in the nude with a falcon in the left hand and a sword in the right. Falcons are a symbol of victory and infinite freedom. The statue looks forward across the confluence of the Sava and the Danube.

Military Museum

The Serbia Military Museum was founded in 1878. There is memorabilia from all conflicts that Serbia has been involved with. Cannons, Missile Launches, Tanks, Etc. Some vehicles were captured from WWII and some from NATO troops.

There is a S-125 Neva Surface to Air Missile. The Yugoslav army used it to shoot down an F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack aircraft in 1999 during the Kosovo War. That was the only stealth plane to ever get shot down in history. The Yugoslav army used it to shoot down an F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack aircraft in 1999 during the Kosovo War. That was the only stealth plane to ever get shot down in history.

We've learned a lot about post WWII Yugoslavia and its leader Josip Tito Broz and our tour thus far of the Balkans. We even visited Podgorica in Montenegro, which for a time was named Titograd. During the time of Yugoslavia, Belgrade was its capital. A 20 minute drive south of the Belgrade Fort is the Museum of Yugoslavia. It is the final resting place of Tito and his third wife Jovanka which is called the House of Flowers. This is where Tito spent his final years.

There are three museums here and lots to see. Tito kept all of the gifts he received from world leaders and citizens alike. There are pictures of his train car that he used to travel all over Europe. There are pictures of his funeral which was attended by many still recognizable world leaders.

Temple of Saint Sava

Saint Sava is one of the greatest Saints of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He traveled, taught, and translated books into Serbian. Saint Sava, known as the Enlightener, was a Serbian prince and Orthodox monk, the first Archbishop of the Serbian Church, and the founder of Serbian law. When he died, he was buried in Bulgaria. Sava's body was returned to Serbia after a series of requests. When the Serbs in Banat rose up against the Ottomans in 1594, they used a portrait of Saint Sava on their war flags. The Ottomans didn't take too kindly to this, so they retaliated by incinerating the relics or remains of St. Sava on the Vračar plateau in Belgrade. They were burned here on this high hill so that the rebellious Serbs could see the smoke and flames.

Today at the mound where Saint Sava's relics were burned is the Karađorđe Monument.

Karađorđe was the leader of the First Serbian Uprising from 1804 to 1813. It evolved into a war for independence (the Serbian Revolution) after more than three centuries of Ottoman rule and short-lasting Austrian occupations. Karađorđe as leader of the uprising, and the rebel army quickly defeated and took over towns. After major victories in 1805–06, they established a government and parliament that returned the land to the people, abolished forced labor, and reduced taxes.The Serbs were the first Christian population in Ottoman history to have risen up against the Sultan, their uprising ultimately became a symbol of the nation-building process in the Balkans. The Temple of Saint Sava was built near the place where his relics were burned. It is the largest Orthodox church in Serbia, one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches and it ranks among the largest churches in the world. The first stone was laid in 1935. The incomplete building was used as a depot by the German army and Tito's partisans. In June 1989, the concrete dome of the temple, weighing 4,000 tonnes and constructed entirely on the ground, was raised to its present position. This was a landmark achievement in construction. This temple is huge and beautiful.

Ružica and St. Petka Church

At the Belgrade Fort are 2 churches. One is the Ružica Church. This means Little Rose Church. It was a weapons depot and then a military church. In WWI it was almost completely destroyed. In this church soldiers took communion. Outside of the church is a King Stefan Dusava and the other is a Serbian soldier from the Balkan War. Both were made from cannon shells. Inside there is a chandelier made from weapons such as bullets, swords, and more.

The other church is the St. Petka church. This church's namesake is that of a Serbian Saint. It is told that in her lifetime she heard the Lord proclaim Mark 8, 34 to her. Her response was to give her clothes away and flee to Constantinople. She was said to then have visions of the Virgin Mary. When she was 25 an angel appeared to her telling her to return to Constantinople. She fasted and prayed for 2 years until her death at age 27. Tradition states that after an old sinner was buried near her grave. She protested by appearing in a dream to a local monk. The vision informed the monk where the saint had been buried. The body was unearthed, it was found to be incorrupt in other words it avoided the normal process of decomposition. She is known as the saint of weavers, probably due to her generosity in clothing the poor. There's a holy spring here, a tiny water purification plant attached to the wall, filling bottles of holy water. It's walls are covered with beautiful mosaics.

Knez Mihailova and Skadarlija Streets

The statue of Prince Mihailova is the focal point of Republic Square here in Belgrade. Locals may just say that they are meeting "at the horse" but there is so much more to this statue. Prince Mihailova, the first modern Serbian King, sits atop the horse. He liberated many of the Serbian regions from the Ottomans. The Prince is pointing toward Old serbia, an area not yet liberated at the time. The names of the cities he helped liberate are carved on the plates of the pedestal. The street named after him, Knez Mihailova, is a very popular pedestrian area. His son went on to become King of Serbia.

There is another famous road Skadarlija. This road is famous for restaurants, musicians, and a Bohemian past. Bohemian is a fancy word referring to someone, such as a writer or an artist, who lives an unconventional life. Something we can definitely relate to. This is a cobbled street and a true Stari Grad; or Old Town. We are here during a lockdown. Many restaurants are closed for the week. But that does not stop the people of Belgrade from going out. Walking the streets. Embracing friends. Their spirit is too strong. Their community is too important.

I gotta say, there is so much more to inat than we could cover here. But in our short time in Beograd we learned so much about how the Serbian people defied the odds. How they overcame obstacles to become successful. How at the end, they were victorious. Nikola Tesla was a genius whose legacy lives on today all over the world. The chandeliers made from weapons of war are truly unique. The Temple of Saint Sava is one of the most impressive structures we have ever seen. The energy of the city and the people was amazing to experience. Never tell the people of Beograde the odds. Or you will soon see how they can be defied.

You can see more of Beograd / Belgrade Serbia and learn more about its history in our travel film "Inat of Beograd" on YouTube. Out now!

Thanks for reading our blog on Belgrade in Serbia!


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