Main street in Dorćol (Cara Dušana St)
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Dorćol begins already some 700 meters north of Terazije, the central square of Belgrade. It roughly can be divided in two sections, Gornji (or Upper) Dorćol, which covers the area from Academy Park to the Cara Dušana street, and Donji (or Lower) Dorćol which occupies the area between the Cara Dušana and Bulevar despota Stefana streets and the right bank of the Danube. The Lower Dorćol used to be known as Jalija (Turkish yali, strand, bank). It borders (and largely overlaps) the neighborhoods of Stari Grad and Jevremovac (east and south) and the fortress of Kalemegdan (west), which is sometimes considered as part of Dorćol as well. The population of the neighborhood in the widest sense was 22,707 in 2002.
The name of the neighborhood comes from Turkish words dört (four) and yol (road), literally meaning "four roads" or colloquially "intersection (of four roads)", "crossroads". There is a town in the Anatolian section of modern Turkey with the same name (Dörtyol).
During the Turkish occupation of Belgrade, Dorćol was a well known trading centre, with many markets and traders of different nationalities, among others it was a center of Belgrade's Jewish community, remnant of which is the modern Jevrejska ("Jewish") street in Dorćol. After Belgrade became a capital of independent Serbia, Dorćol kept its multinational character for a long time.
During the Austrian occupation of northern Serbia 1717-39, Jalija (Lower Dorćol) was the seat of the Prince Eugene of Savoy's court. Also, several hospitals were established in Belgrade, including the Capucines' hospital. The Capucines were granted to do missionary work in Belgrade on 23 August 1718, by the Emperor's decision. They were given one of the mosques which they adapted and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. On the city plans, their monastery is located just within the outer walls, next to the Emperor's Gate. They possibly arranged the Bajram-beg mosque, also known as the Stambol mosque, below the modern National Theatre in Belgrade, approximately on the location of the modern Church of St. Alexander Nevsky. The Capucines had only 9 monks by 1725 which was quite insufficient for their duties. They were handling all the Catholics in the occupied area, proclaimed by the Austrian court as the Kingdom of Serbia. They also took religious care of the soldiers which were scattered over the region, but they only had 2 parochial priests. Still, they turned over 1,000 imperial soldiers from Protestantism into Catholicism. They originally took care of the ill all over Belgrade, in the fortress, existing hospitals and private houses. In the letter of an unknown city clerk from 10 November 1736, sent to the Vicar Provincial of the order in Vienna, it was mentioned that the Capucines asked for the field hospital to be established. It would take care of the soldiers and have place for 1,500 people. Military commander of Belgrade agreed, providing permanent pay and food for the monks who would treat the soldiers. There was enough space next to their monastery for such a facility. Still, the care of the soldiers was first offered to the Jesuits, but they refused. Names of two especially dedicated Capucine priests are preserved in the documents: Father Oswaldus and Father Chrysogonus. After Austria lost the Austro-Turkish War of 1737–1739, the northern Serbia, including Belgrade, was returned to the Turks. One of the provisions of the 1739 Treaty of Belgrade stated that Austria had to demolish all the fortifications and military and civilian building it has constructed during the occupation. Many Baroque buildings were demolished, including most of the hospitals. However, Austria didn't demolish the buildings outside of the fortress walls. That way, the House at 10 Cara Dušana Street, built from 1724 to 1727, in the neighborhood of Dorćol also survived, being today the oldest house in Belgrade.
Until World War II, the lowest part of Dorćol was a location of the city's only official fish market (Riblja pijaca). As there were no refrigerators at the time, the fishermen were selling the fish themselves, though some of it was first dried or smoked.
On 16 February 1919, one of the first kindergartens in Belgrade, and in Serbia in general, was open in the Upper Dorćol, near the Čukur Fountain and close to the location of the demolished Stambol Gate. It was named Dunavsko obdanište (Danube's kindergarten) and as of 2018 it is still operation under that name, though it has moved to the Lower Dorćol after Queen Maria, later during the Interbellum, donated a building for the kindergarten at 1 Cara Dušana Street. Today it is the oldest kindergarten on the territory of the Stari Grad municipality.
Eventually the old low houses and narrow streets were changed into modern buildings. Still, some parts, though vanishing one by one, resemble the old look.
Western and northern sections of Dorćol are mainly residential, but eastern and riverside regions are heavily industrialized: depots and workshops of "GSP" (Belgrade City's transportation company), Belgrade City's Waterworks and Sewage company, heat plant "Dunav", Belgrade power station,"Žitomlin", "Jugošped", "Kopaonik", "Kompresor", numerous depots and hangars, etc. On the opposite, clothing company "Beko" is located in the westernmost section of Dorćol.
The area is known for its promenade on the Danube bank, which is well developed with a long bicycle path for recreation and many night clubs on water. The promenade is called Obala majora Gavrilovića ("the riverbank of major Gavrilović") after Dragutin Gavrilović, a Serbian officer who took part in defense of Belgrade in World War I from the Austrian army on this place.
From 1930 to 1932, the "Power and Light" thermal power station was built in the Dunavski kej street, on the bank of the modern marina. It was projected by the Swiss Society for electrification and transportation from Basel, in the Bauhaus manner. For the first time in Serbia, the low voltage distribution grid for the alternating power supply. The complex consists of the station building, portal crane with the hoist, pump station and the filtering machine. It was in use until the early 1960s and in 1970s was used as set for the cult TV serial Otpisani. It was declared a cultural monument in April 2013. As of 2017, the construction still stands, but it is in total ruin.
Traffic facilities include the railway which circles around the fortress of Kalemegdan, from the main railway station of Belgrade, through Dorćol, and over the Pančevo Bridge further into Vojvodina. Small marina is projected to be in the future one of the most modern and expensive parts of the neighborhood.
The western part of the Port of Belgrade "Dunav" also belongs to Dorćol. City's general urban plan (GUP) from 1972 projected the removal of the Port of Belgrade and the industrial facilities by 2021. The cleared area was to encompass the Danube's bank from the Dorćol to the Pančevo bridge. At that time, the proposed new locations included the Veliko Selo marsh or the Reva 2 section of Krnjača, across the Danube. When the GUP was revised in 2003, it kept the idea od relocating the port and the industry, and as the new location only Krnjača was mentioned. There was an idea that the already existing port of Pančevo, after certain changes, could become the new Belgrade's port, but the idea was abandoned.
Land in the Marina Dorćol was among the costliest pieces of land in Belgrade when it was leased to the investor "Marina Dorćol" in 2006. The land covers an area of 4.5 ha (11 acres) and it is allowed to build a total floor area of 76,000 m2 (820,000 sq ft). The project of the new residential and commercial complex in marina, with high-rise buildings, shops, sports fields, promenade, etc., was loudly advertised. The investor was litigating with the city for years due to the numerous things, which included the fee of the lease and city taxes. As by October 2017 nothing has been done on the lot, the lease contract was annulled and city now plans to sell it. The area, with the neighboring lots, is now planned as the cultural, scientific and research complex, which would include the new building of the Nikola Tesla Museum. In 2017, someone illegally built an object on the lot while by April 2018 several construction barracks have been placed, too, and part of the land is turned into the illegal parking.
Being one of the original settlements outside the Kalemegdan fortress, Dorćol is a location of some of the oldest city buildings.
Belgrade's only mosque, Bajrakli Mosque, is located in the southernmost part of the neighborhood, in the Gospodar Jevremova street. Originally built from 1660 to 1688 as Çohaci mosque, it was turned into a Roman Catholic church during the Austrian rule in central Serbia in 1717-1739, then a mosque again. Renamed Bajrakli mosque (Turkish: bayrak, flag) in the 18th century, it has been demolished and rebuilt several times.
House at 10 Cara Dušana Street
The oldest surviving private house in downtown Belgrade that is still used as a residence is located in the House at 10 Cara Dušana Street. It was built in 1724-27. The house has an arched ceiling and is currently used as a bakery. In the same street, another cultural monument, the Steam Bath of Brothers Krsmanović, is located.
Church of Alexander Nevsky
Church of Alexander Nevsky was originally built by the Russian monks in 1876. Original stone church was demolished in 1891 due to the urban expansion of Dorćol. The foundation stone for the new church was laid down by the Serbian heir apparent Aleksandar Karađorđević in 1912 but the Balkan Wars and World War I prevented to completion of the church until 1930 with the Royal family of Karađorđević being the largest donors. The church is built in the medieval Serbian Moravian style.
Beth Israel Synagogue
In 1907, King Peter I Karađorđević laid the foundation stone for the Sephardic Beth Israel Synagogue. Located at 20 Cara Uroša Street, it was work of architect Milan Kapetanović. Built in the Moorish style, for several decades it was one of the most recognizable objects in Belgrade because of the façade with the horizontal stripes made of stones and bricks in different colors, so as for the terracotta ornaments on the façade. Retreating German occupational army burned it in 1944. In the building on this location, constructed after World War II, Gallery of the Frescoes is located today.
House of bookseller Marko Marković
The "House of bookseller Marko Marković" at 45-a Gospodar Jovanova street, has been declared a cultural monument in April 2013. It was projected by the first Serbian women architect, Jelisaveta Načić. Though there are her public works throughout the city, this is the only surviving family house she planned. The house was built in 1904 and the exterior remained unchanged. Still residential house today, it has been described as the "authentic urban expression of an era.
Belgrade's Jewish community constructed a building at 2 Visokog Stevana Street in 1938. It was operated by the female members of the community and included a kindergarten, medical dispensary for children and the school of crafts for girls from the destitute families. After German occupation of Belgrade in April 1941, the Jews were banned from either working in hospitals or being treated as a patients, so the female home in Dorćol was transformed into the Jewish Hospital. They treated Jews from Belgrade, those banished from the Banat region and the severely ill from the Sajmište concentration camp. In March 1942, Germans drove a gas van (dušegupka) to Belgrade. In an operation, headed by two lower SS officers Götz and Meyer, which lasted from 18 to 22 March 1942, the entire hospital staff and over 800 patients were killed in the van. They were transported from the hospital to the execution ground in Jajinci, across the town, but as only 10 to 15 minutes was enough for the exhaust fumes to suffocate everyone tightly packed in the van, they all died during transport. Götz and Meyer organized Serbian prisoners in Jajinci to take the bodies out and bury them in mass graves. The people from the hospital were the first victims of the van in Belgrade, which was later used in the same manner for falsely transporting remaining Jews from all over Belgrade to the Sajmište camp. In 2003 David Albahari wrote a novel Götz and Meyer, depicting what happened. The building is today seat of the Faculty for special education and rehabilitation. On 22 March 2018 a memorial plaque was placed on the building, commemorating the 1942 event.
Strahinjića Bana - Silicone Valley
Since the late 1990s, Strahinjića Bana street became a "café-street", with dozens of bars, restaurants and cafés. Since then, it became favorite entertainment place of the emerging classes of Belgrade's nouveau riche and gold diggers, and the street has been sarcastically nicknamed "Silicone Valley" because it is frequent by many trophy women (allegedly sporting surgical implants) and their wealthy businessmen.
In February 2018 it was announced that the westernmost section of lower Dorćol, just below the zoo and centered around the former "Beko" factory, will be transformed into the new residential and commercial complex "K Distrikt". In the triangularly shaped area, bounded by the streets of Dunavska, Bulevar vojvode Bojovića and Tadeuša Košćuškog, buildings with the total floor area of 115.000 m2 (1,237.85 sq ft) will be built. The project is work of architect Boris Podrecca and the construction should commence in the fall of 2018. The "Beko" factory building itself has to be preserved as it is protected by the law as the cultural monument, but it is not known at the moment whether it will be a commercial building or a hotel.
Culture and sports
Among schools in the district is the Dorćol Elementary School built in 1893 and is a listed monument.
The Museum of Vuk and Dositej in Gospodar Jevremova street was officially opened in 1949 and dedicated to Dositej Obradović, a novelist, major Serbian enlightener and first minister of education, and Vuk Karadžić, the most important Serbian language reformer. The building itself is older and it was the seat of the former Belgrade Higher School, which became the University of Belgrade.
Galerija fresaka (Gallery of the Frescoes) was opened in 1973. It hosts the reproduction of the most important frescoes from the Serbian medieval monasteries (11th-15th century, many of them located today in Montenegro and Macedonia), including the famed White Angel from Mileševa. The gallery is part of the National Museum of Serbia.
Other important features are the avant-garde BITEF Theater on the Square of Mira Trailović, the monument to the Greek national hero Rigas Feraios (who was killed by the Turks in the nearby Kalemedan), Ethnographic museum, Jewish museum, Pedagogical museum, Museum of the Theatrical Arts and the Academic park with the PMF, The faculty for the natural sciences and mathematics.
Neglected for many years, the sports and recreational complex of "Milan Gale Muškatirović" (formerly and better known as "25. maj") is also located on the riverside. The clay tennis courts have been restored in 2009 to host the Serbia Open, held for the first time from 4–10 May 2009. Bank around the complex is, with the altitude of 75.3 meters above sea level, one of the lowest parts of Belgrade urban area.
Dorćol Rugby league Club won eleven consecutive Serbian Rugby League Championship titles (2002–2013) and are current "double crown" (domestic championship and Cup) holders (See Rugby league in Serbia). Dorćol RLC is the most decorated sports club in the neighbourhood and alongside Handball Club, Wrestling Club is founder of Dorćol Sport Association. Association Football Club and Boxing Club are likely to join the association.
Based on the kind request of the members of the Dorćol Rugby League Club, Dorćol rapper Škabo alongside DJ Ape and beatmaker Šonsi Ras made the song named "Dorćol" - both: the anthem of the club and dedication to the neighbourhood - and published it on his album Remek delo in 2008. Also there is a KUD "Nikola Tesla" established in 1926 ... Nikola Tesla sent a flag from New York .. which is now preserved in the Museum of Belgrade ...
- Dr. Ana Milošević , D.Stevanović (13 August 2017), "Beogradske bolnice kojih vise nema", Politika-Magazin, No. 1037 (in Serbian), pp. 27–29
- Dejan Aleksić (9 May 2017), "Šest decenija opštine Palilula - Nekad selo, a danas urbana celina grada", Politika (in Serbian)
- Belgrade by the 1883 census
- Dragan Perić (22 October 2017), "Beogradski vremeplov - Pijace: mesto gde grad hrani selo" [Belgrade chronicles - Open green markets: a place where village feeds the city], Politika-Magazin, No. 1047 (in Serbian), pp. 26–27
- A.Jovanović (26 April 2018). "Најмлађим Београђанима врата отворила 1919. godine" [Doors for the youngest Belgraders open in 1919]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 15.
- "Дунавско обданиште" [Danube's kindergarten] (in Serbian). Childrens Institution "Dečji dani".
- J. Gajić (15–16 April 2017). "Na praznik padale bombe" (in Serbian). Politika. p. 27.
- Daliborka Mučibabić (21 April 2013), "Prestonica bogatija za šest spomenika culture", Politika (in Serbian)
- D.B. (3 March 2009). "Uskoro dogovor o vlasništvu nad zemljištem Luke Beograd" (in Serbian). Politika.
- Daliborka Mučibabić (20 April 2018). "Za ogradu dorćolske marine oko 50.000 evra" [50.000 euros for the fence around the Dorćol marina]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 13.
- "Divlje naselje na Dorćolu" [Illegal settlement in Dorćol] (in Serbian). Blic. 19 April 2018.
- Daliborka Mučibabić (21 April 2013), "Prestonica bogatija za šest spomenika culture", Politika (in Serbian)
- Branislav Radivojša (23 March 2018). "Spomen-ploča na poslednjem boravištu beogradskih Jevreja" [Memorial plaque on the last sojourn of the Belgrade Jews]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 08.
- Politika, April 25, 2008, p. 25
- Laurence Mitchell (2013). Serbia. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-84162-463-1.
The street is affectionately known as 'Silicone Valley' to locals, which refers to the supposed cosmetic surgery utilised by the glamorous women who haunt its pavements, often as the trophy girlfriend of a wealthy 'businessman'.
- Ivana Kronja, "New Urban Trends in Serbia, 1990–2004: From Urban Life to Popular Culture and Vice Versa", Ethnologia Balkanica 10/2006, pp. 263-278
- Daliborka Mučibabić (13 February 2018). ""K district" umesto "Beka"" ["K Distrikt" instead of "Beko"]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 16.
- Politika, April 20, 2008, front page
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