Banjica (Serbian: Бањица, pronounced [bâɲitsa]) is an urban neighborhood of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It is divided between the Belgrade's municipalities of Savski Venac (western half) and Voždovac (eastern half).
Banjica is located 5-6 kilometers south of downtown Belgrade (Terazije), on the Banjica hill. On the west, the hill descends into the valley and neighborhood of Lisičji Potok and further continues into the hill and woods of Topčider while on the south it descends into the valley of the creek of Kaljavi potok, bordering the neighborhoods of Kanarevo Brdo (south-west) and Jajinci (south-east). To the north, Banjica extends into the elite neighborhood of Dedinje while the eastern side is covered by the Banjička šuma (Banjica forest), a long narrow belt of deciduous woodland along the Boulevard of Liberation, which separates Banjica from the neighborhoods of Voždovac and Trošarina.
Findings of the ancient Vincha civilization such as figurines or the oval terracotta with meander art and Old European inscriptions place civilized human activity in Banjica to 7,000 years ago.
The name of the neighborhood comes from the Serbian word banja, meaning spa, thus it can be translated as the "small spa".
Banjica used to be a suburban village, inhabited in the early 19th century by migrants from southeastern Serbia who came after the end of the Second Serbian Uprising in 1815. In 1903 Banjica was the location of the military parade made for coronation of king Petar I Karađorđević of Serbia. Until World War II Banjica remained a quiet village with most of its population employed in crop production to support the growing agricultural demands of Belgrade. During the World War II Banjica was also a place where the German forces together with their Serbian collaborators ran a Banjica concentration camp. After the war, the village was heavily urbanized, with new large apartment buildings built in place of old family houses. Banjica had a population of 17,711 in 2002.
Today, Banjica is mainly a residential area, but with large diversity in administrative and sports buildings. The most notable ones are:
- VMA (Vojno-medicinska akademija), a famous military hospital. A massive, modern building constructed in 1980 on top of the Banjica hill, thus visible from many lower parts of the city. It is the largest single hospital in Serbia.
- Orthopedic hospital, just north-west of the VMA.
- Police academy.
- Banjica sports centre, which includes the open pools, one of the most popular in Belgrade during summer.
- FK Rad stadium, right next to the sports centre.
- Church of the Saint Vasilije Ostroški.
- Museum of the Banjica concentration camp, on the corner of the Crnotravska and Generala Pavla Jurišića Šturma streets.
- Hotel Best Western (former "Mladost") in the Banjica forest.
There is a small (by western standards) shopping mall next to the school, and a well-stocked green market up the hill, where people bring fresh grocery goods from afar. The school's name is "Bora Stanković" and it is for grades 1-8 (ages 7–15). There is no high school in the neighborhood, but due to good public transport students can easily reach numerous high schools in Belgrade (most popular choices are Fourth and Twelfth College-Preparatory High Schools, which are the closest). This area is known as Banjica II.
Public transport includes bus, trolleybus and tram lines. Bus lines toward the city are 42, 47, 48, 50, 59, 78, 94, trolleybus lines are 40 and 41, tram lines are 9, 10 and 14. The public transport station near the school is also the place where people living in nearby villages switch from their local buses (400(seasonal), 401, 402, 403, 405, 406, 407 and 408) to the above-mentioned lines toward the city.
Images of Banjica
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