Skadarlija is Belgrade’s Monmartre, a bohemian street in downtown Belgrade, the heart of the capital with a history on every stone of cobblestone. It is one of the most famous and shortest streets in Belgrade – Skadarska street is only 400 meters long.
The history of this street dates from 1830, when the Gypsies moved into abandoned buildings and trenches. 25 years later, the City decided to move the Gypsies and build houses in which the artists, craftsmen and clerks would live. Nevertheless, this area until 1872 was called the Gypsy Quarter, when it officially changed its name to Skadarskaya Street named after Skadar in Albania.
The lower part of Skadarlija, known as the Skadarlian atrium, belonged to the family of Czech origin Bailloni, who produced beer “Alexander”. Bora Stankovic, a well-known Serbian writer, worked as an official in the Beyloni brewery. He wrote and published the novel “Unclean Blood”. The pub was nationalized in 1945 and was named BIP, and it was closed for decades.
In Skadarlija is located House of Djura Jaksic, a famous Belgrade writer and painter. Skadarlija takes over the bohemian character of the last decades of the 19th century, especially since renowned artists, actors and writers, after closing down the restaurant, “Dardanelli” became permanent guests in other Skadarli taverns.
At the beginning of the 20th century, it was visited mostly by poor artists from all over the former Yugoslavia, finding consolation and society in a quiet oasis of good bite and even better droplets and music. In 1909, there were 14 restaurants in Skadarlija and the surrounding streets, and about 90,000 inhabitants lived in Belgrade.
In the history of this street, Stevan Sremac, Đura Jakšić, Tin Ujević, Zuko Džumhur, Momo Kapor,Branislav Nusic,Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj…. will always be remembered. It is said that Alfred Hitchcock stopped the diet when he came to Skadarlija. In the “Bums Keller” cafe, in 1929, she visited Josephine Baker, who also remembered Belgrade by delicious kebabs.
In 1966, according to the project of architect Uglješa Bogunović, the reorganization of Skadarlija began. The goal was to revive the tradition and to modernize. Since then, the street is a pedestrian zone, restored stone pebbles, lanterns and street lighting, and the “Three Hats” Taverns, “Two Deer” “Skadarlija” . “There are days”, “Golden Cups” and “Two White Pigeons” have been restored.
In the seventies, in Skadarlija were Queen Elizabeth, Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, George Bush Senior, Villie Brant, Margaret Thatcher, Alberto Moravia, Sandro Pertini, Gina Lolobridgid, Bert Lancaster.
At the end of Skadarlija there is Sebilj fountain, a replica of the same fountain located in Baščaršija, which Sarajevo donated to Belgrade in 1989.
Every day during the summer season, up to 20,000 people pass through Bohemian Street. The former atmosphere is reflected by actors dressed in civilian costumes in the early 20th century.
Skadarlija managed to preserve its bohemian spirit today and thus become a tourist attraction for all who visit Belgrade.