Leaving Skopje, we continued north into Serbia towards the capital city of Belgrade. Once again we had to avoid going through Kosovo since our Eurodrive auto insurance was no good there.
The highways along this route were mostly four lane and well maintained. We only had to slow down to pay tolls every 20km or so.
Late in the evening after our arrival the snow started falling, the second time we experienced snow during our trip. Undeterred by the cold, we bundled up with as many layers as possible and headed out to explore.
The Church of Saint Mark was a short walk from our AirBnb and it looked even more picturesque with a light coating of snow.
The adjacent park had several playgrounds where the kids took turns playing and having snowball fights.
Nikola Tesla is quite popular in the former Yugoslav republics because he was born in Croatia. We had previously been to the Nikola Tesla Museum in Zagreb and enjoyed it so we were excited to see what the Belgrade version had to offer.
The Belgrade Tesla museum is unique because it contains many of Tesla’s original machines and personal effects, which were shipped to the city by Teslas’s nephew after his death. It was cool to see some of his earliest inventions that would go on to shape the world we live in today.
Upon arrival we watched a short video about Tesla’s life, then we got to see some of his machines in action.
Our museum guide handed out fluorescent lamp tubes then fired up this Tesla coil. As the coil sparked, the electromagnetic field causes the florescent lamps to light up.
We learned that Tesla had many world-changing ideas, and also some that were a little strange. Despite the fact that Tesla’s inventions were a major contributor to the electrification of the world, he was broke when he died. Tesla’s remains are interred at this museum inside a metal sphere.
Museum of Science and Technology
Followers of this blog are undoubtedly aware that we love to visit science museums. The Belgrade museum dedicated to this subject was not quite to the same standard as some of the others we have visited, but it did contain an interesting mix of antique appliances, instruments, vehicles and other items.
As we were browsing the collection an enthusiastic docent walked up to us and started explaining the function of one of the pieces, in Serbian. When he finally took a breath I told him, sorry, we didn’t understand what you just said. He happily re-started his talk in English and gave us a personal tour of the upper floor.
The bottom floor of the museum has several hands-on activities that the kids had a good time trying out, like this self supporting bridge.
One of the most recognizable features of the city, The Belgrade Fortress is located along the Danube and is free to visit.
On our way to the top we passed by Ruzica church. Inside there were interesting chandeliers constructed from a variety of swords, bullets and shell casings.
The Belgrade Zoo is quite compact but it contains a wide variety of animals. One interesting aspect of the zoo is that it is adjacent to the Belgrade Fortress and some of the fortress walls are used in the enclosures.
The kids especially loved seeing the hippos, lions and tigers.
Like some of the other zoos we visited in Eastern and Central Europe, this zoo had a lot of small enclosures and chain link fencing, which was a little sad. There is work underway to try to improve some of the habitats.
We were surprised to find a pet shop within the zoo. We could have brought home different species of fish or rodents but we decided against it.
Belgrade proved to be a great family destination with plenty of activities for the kids and lots of green space for them to run around. The city was an excellent value as well; we stayed in a centrally located and modern two bedroom AirBnb apartment for only $63 a night.
Next time, we make our way to Serbia’s second largest city, Novi Sad.