As one of the oldest neighborhoods in all of Belgrade, I knew Zemun was someplace I wanted to test out. Looking at the map it was only 7km in 1 direction to the center of town so I figured I could make the walk-in under one hour.
While my timing was right that the weather was unlucky and although the sun was shining there was a biting wind blowing off of the Danube. The walk itself was lovely and took me across the Danube River trail all the way into town. In the summertime, the walk would be much nicer and I could see there were quite a few riverboats and other attractions offered for tourists and locals.
When I finally reached the town I made my way into the very first thing I saw – the Millennium Tower.
Located in the heart of Zemun, Gardos Hill is the focal point of the city and the first (and sometimes only) stop for many visitors. The area surrounding Gardos Hill is quite quaint and it’s easy to get lost in the narrow, winding streets and many hand-built stairwells that attract you to the very best. The area seems like a far bigger Skadarlija and gives insight into what life could have been like many years earlier. Walking across the cobblestone streets you’re instantly brought to the highest point in the city and may appreciate the sweeping views of Zemun, the Danube, and Belgrade off in the space.
The Millennium Tower was built in 1896 and was recently renovated for repairs. It was constructed to celebrate the Hungarian rule and power of the region for more than 1000 years and stands at the very center of what was once the Zemun Castle. The view from Gardos Hill is fairly amazing so that I didn’t see the purpose of climbing up to the observation deck just 10m higher.
Underneath the Millennium Tower are a large yellow church and also a large cemetery that has many interesting tombstones and busts. It is great to check out when you’re on the lookout for some time from the crows and tourists or simply want somewhere peaceful to unwind. I discovered that there are many wild dogs and cats in the area, which looked kind of odd to me since the homes in the surrounding area were lovely and well kept.
The Oldest House In The City
I was seeking something for lunch and also stumbled across this old looking building with a historical sign out front. It turns out that the building is the oldest home in Zemun and has stood in its place because of the late 1600s. At some point, it was called the White Bear and operated as a tavern, dungeon, and rooming home for people passing by.
You can open both of the doors on the ground level and take a peek at the side exterior of the building. While the construction is abandoned there are individuals living above it and the city has done a fantastic job at preserving it for people to check out.
I also stumbled upon this arbitrary building while walking through town and it ends up that it is an old Jewish Synagogue.
Until the start of World War 2, the Jewish community flourished through the area but throughout the war, they were pushed out. Today the Synagogue is left-handed but during the years after the war, it acted as a restaurant and cultural center.
The park can be found on the old border of the old city and in the region once stood the Zemun quarantine. The two churches that you visit in the park are all remnants of the quarantine structures and symbolize both Orthodox and Catholic religions.
Since I walked into Zemun from Belgrade I couldn’t help but notice all of the ships lined up across the river. There were all being offered from these boats. There are restaurants, museums, nightclubs, and even hotels and hostels. Along the promenade, there are many sellers selling items such as popcorn, ice cream, waffles, and boat rentals.
I also noticed that people there like to bet. When I was walking, I noticed that everyone was sitting in cafes and watching football. When I came to ask what was going on. They told me that everyone was La liga betting and that it was the most important game at that moment.
Zemun is an incredible part of Belgrade and it is certainly worth the visit if you have sufficient time. I could easily say it was a separate city at the same point and there are a whole lot of different influences in the architecture, particularly compared to Belgrade itself. You can walk through the entire town in a few hours and it’s quite easy to achieve. Whether you would like to find out more about Serbian history or you’re just looking for a couple of hours to kill throughout your trip, Zemun is a place you are likely to need to spend some time checking out.