Houses in Singidunum
Houses in Singidunum looked like all the other houses in the Roman provinces. The building stones were taken out of the quarry in Tasmajdan or Topcider. The houses had several rooms, the exact number of which depended on wealth and size. The central part of the house was the atrium, with a swimming pool in which rainwater was collected and passed through a square opening in the roof. Wealthier homes also had two separate atriums, with a small garden decorated with fountains and sculptures. Wealthier houses also had their own bathroom.
(M. Paunovic, Belgrade throughout the centuries, Belgrade 1971)
Medicine in Singidunum
Medical instrument findings (forceps, scalpels, special knives, hooks, teaspoons) as well as an eye doctor’s seal (found in the Lower Town) indicated the existence of Medicuses who took care of the residents’ health. Some of the instruments, including small scales, were applied in pharmacy. Being a professional Medicus implied knowledge of pharmacology, mixing medicine and making aromatic balsams.
(Monograph of the Museum of the City of Belgrade, Belgrade 2003)
Belgrade – (Beli Grad = White City)
The whiteness of the limestone ridge with the remains of the early Byzantine fortress when viewed from below had to clearly stand out from the surrounding walls and towers built of the same geological structure and colours, which no doubt set the new name for the city, Beli Grad (White City) – Belgrade “.
(Mr. Marjanovic Vujovic , The oldest Slavic settlements in Belgrade , Yearbook of Belgrade XXV, 1978)
Frederick I Barbarossa in Belgrade
One of the greatest rulers of Western Europe of his time, Frederick I Barbarossa, was in Belgrade, when he led a large army into a crusade. He arrived in Belgrade on the last days of June 1189, where he and his men and their escorts celebrated the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. The German ruler entered the town, which was vastly different from what participants of the second crusade had seen. Belgrade, at the time when Barbarossa was there, was an almost ruined Byzantine city, in very poor condition. Byzantium has never restored it.
(J. Kalić Mijušković, Mid-century Belgrade, Belgrade 1967)
Queen Simonida on a Visit to Belgrade
Archbishop Daniel tells about the visit of Queen Simonida to her groomsman Dragutin and his wife Catherine. Simonida, upon her husband King Milutin’s approval, probably arrived in Belgrade in 1315 in the company of many nobles. Dragutin, Serbian nobles, and deputies of the Hungarian king Karl Rober welcomed the Serbian queen with various gifts. Belgrade had a large Catholic Metropolitan Church at that time, which was probably built in the period 1284-1315. Simonida bowed down to the icon of the Holy Virgin, which was considered both miraculous and the largest urban sanctuary since the seventies of the XI century. After the festivities, which lasted “many days,” Simonida decided to visit Queen Jelena’s tomb along with Dragutin’s wife, which marked the end of her visit to Belgrade.
(J. Kalić Mijušković, The history of Belgrade, Belgrade 1976)
Docks had a large role in Belgrade’s economy. Belgrade has two ports in the 16th century: the commercial and military anchorage river bases. The trading port was located on the Danube River, on the north side of the city, and the military one was located slightly eastward. The commercial port exercised the loading and unloading of goods in times of peace, and in times of war it was used for the delivery of grain. Grain was brought to the Danube from Wallachia, northern Bulgaria and Smederevo and to the Sava River from Srem, Macva and Podrinje.
(B. Hrabak Belgrade as a port and shipyard in the XV, XVI and XVII centuries, the Yearbook of Belgrade, Belgrade, 1958)
Belgrade as a Cheerful City
Belgrade became a cheerful city during the twenty years of Austrian rule. More than 200 inns were opened and four breweries were working at full capacity. The most famous pubs were “Red rooster”, “Red Ox”, “Five larks”, “Three rabbits”.
General Maruli in one of his reports to the Imperial Chamber in 1731 complains that “every bad boy which finds his way here, takes a room on rent, buys a barrel or two of beer, or gets them on account of an IOU”. The cheerful atmosphere in Belgrade can also be due to the large number of women whose husbands, brothers, fathers, and property were taken by the war, and they had to make a living somehow.
(M. Paunovic. The History of Belgrade, Belgrade 1971)
The Influence of Western Culture
During Aleksandar Karadjordjevic’s reign, the influence of Western culture was ever present. This influence was first felt on court. At that time apart from Serbian Slava, two luncheons were staged yearly and included the following guests: the pasha, ministers, generals and foreign consuls. Dishes were made in German style, and lunch was topped off with Turkish coffee and chibouks. During these lunches there were plenty of toasts held as well.
Andrew Archibald Paton who visited Belgrade three times (1839, 1843 and 1844) writes: “When they brought dessert, the prince stood with a glass of sparkling champagne in hand and drank to the health of the sultan, to which the Pasha responded.” After 1878, and the final retreat of the Turks, the situation in Serbia significantly changed, and therefore so did the way of life.
(S. Knezevic, Nutrition of Belgrade’s population, Yearbook of Belgrade V, Belgrade 1958)
The mystery called the Roman well attracted adventurers to attempt to descend to its bottom. In 1855 Rome Zmorski addressed this adventure and talked about it as follows “In recent times, there has never been the need for its use and I did not happen to meet anyone who would at least try to go down out of curiosity. True to my passenger task, I wanted to do it and I went down twice, deep enough into the cold, black as night eternal abyss, but every time the strong current extinguished the lantern and forced me to make the hard and fruitless effort of turning back. Finally I was forced to give up the task which held the danger of my neck breaking.”
(Belgrade municipal newspaper, Belgrade 1935)
The First News About Football
The first news about football in our country was published in the “Vecernje Novosti” (Evening News) newspaper in May in 1896. It reported that members of the Sports Association “Dušan the Mighty” played the first football match in Belgrade in the Lower Town, near Nebojsa Tower.