|Municipality||Savski Venac / Voždovac|
|• Total||3.36 km2 (1.30 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
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.
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.
Near the location of modern VMA, in the beginning of 1912, first wooden airplane hangar was built. Two years later, when the World War I broke, Banjica was the base where an airplane squadron and the balloon company of the Serbian Air Force were stationed.
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.
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.
In 2011 a project of the revitalization of the Kaljavi potok was announced. The stream is already channeled and has a concrete bed, but it also receives waters from many local cesspits. It was envisioned as the green oasis between the trolleybus terminus in Banjica and the "Tehnogas" factory in Kanarevo Brdo, just 5 km (3.1 mi) from downtown Belgrade. The 800-metre-long (2,625 ft) section of the stream was projected as the history and nature reserve as it was to include the remnants of the paleolithic site, pedestrian and bicycle paths, trim trail, a series of small bridges over the stream, three natural springs, limestone above-the-ground formations and the habitat of 20 species of rare birds, not usually find in the urbanized areas. The entire revitalized area was projected at 8 ha (20 acres) and should comprise the surrounding forest, rearranged forest paths, outdoor gym, children playgrounds and gazebos. The illegally built houses, fences, gardens and sewage drains along the stream were to be demolished. It was supposed to be the starting phase of the creation of the "green-blue corridors", the network of arranged forest and water sections all over the city, and the next project was already slated to be the stream of Jelezovac potok, a tributary to the Kaljavi potok. As of 2017, nothing from the entire project has been done.
In 2011 an initiative was started for building the first athletics hall in Serbia which, apart from organizing competitions, was to serve for training of the national athletes. First location was on New Belgrade (at the end of the Blokovi neighborhood) and then on Košutnjak, within the scopes of the Institute for sports. Projects were drafted for both locations, funding was provided through the National Investment Plan (NIP), but since none of the projects took off, the funds were returned to NIP. In 2012, the Ministry of Defense donated the lot within the Military Academy's barracks of "General Jovan Mišković". The lot is located in the northern part of the Byford's Forest (formerly, Banjica Forest). In April 2012 it was announced that the hall will be finished by the end of 2013. The military would also use the hall, as a training facility for the cadets and students of the academy. The project of the "Centroprojekt" company was compliant to the standards of IAAF.
The project includes 4 round (200 m (660 ft)) and 8 sprint tracks (60 m (200 ft)), sections for the long jump, high jump, pole vault, triple jump and shot put. Under the stands, which have 1,000 seats, numerous premises were planned, including the anti-doping facility, ambulance, gym, etc. Administrative section of the building will become the seat of the Athletics Federation of Serbia. The total area of the venue is 7,200 m2 (78,000 sq ft). Defense minister Dragan Šutanovac announced that the hall will be named "General Đukić Hall", after Svetomir Đukić, the founder of modern Olympism in Serbia. Works began in June 2012. Instead of being finished by the end of 2013, the construction dragged on for almost four years and the facility was ceremonially open on 1 March 2016 with the inaugural issue of the international athletics meeting "Serbia Open". The venue hasn't been named after General Đukić and, as of September 2017, it still has no official name.
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).
Images of Banjica
- Prehistory knowledge – Sacred bread from Banjica
- Daliborka Mučibabić, Dejan Aleksić (8 April 2017), "Trka zasad nema, Hipodrom ostaje na Carevoj Ćupriji", Politika (in Serbian)
- Slobodan Kljakić (1 September 2012), "Aeromiting nad Dojnim poljem", Politika (in Serbian)
- Dragana Jokić Stamenković (28 May 2011), "Beograd na dvesta sputanih voda", Politika (in Serbian)
- Živko Baljkas (25 April 2012), "Dvorana "General Đukić" - do kraja 2013", Politika (in Serbian)
- Živko Baljkas (18 February 2017), "Udovičić obišao novoizgrađenu Atletsku dvoranu", Politika (in Serbian)
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