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Ušće (Serbian Cyrillic: Ушће, pronounced [ûːʃt͡ɕe]) is an urban neighborhood of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It is located in Belgrade's municipality of Novi Beograd. Ušće is located on the mouth of the Sava river into the Danube, thus the name (ušće is Serbian for confluence). It occupies Novi Beograd's Blocks 10, 13, 14, 15 and 16 on the Sava's left and the Danube's right bank, covering a tip of land that overlooks the islands of Malo Ratno Ostrvo and Veliko Ratno Ostrvo to the north and the old core of Belgrade, the fortress of Kalemegdan to the west. Ušće borders the neighborhoods of Staro Sajmište and Savograd on the south. As a compact grassy and forested area it stretches along the bank of the Danube into the Block 10, to the Zemun municipality and the Jugoslavija hotel, and the ENJUB shopping mall.
Like all of Novi Beograd, Ušće is flat, and without buildings to hide that fact like in the rest of the municipality, that is quite obvious here. With only three buildings and several smaller edifices, Ušće is the least urbanized section of Novi Beograd but some residential blocks are administratively attached to the local community of the same name, which had the population of 9,991 in 2011.
Ušće is a vast grassy and forested area (2,5 km x 1 km) along the river banks. As such, it is used by many Belgraders as a recreational area or as a place for organizing political gatherings or musical concerts. However, many areas are not cultivated, but left to grow wild. During the high levels of the Danube and the Sava, bank areas are always flooded.
As maintained open parkland with high levels of human activity, Ušće is characterized by low diversity of breeding landbirds, but in winter the banks are very popular among birdwatchers as it is possible to observe rare and interesting waterbirds swimming at the confluence off the banks of Veliko and Malo Ratno Ostrvo. Ušće is one of the most important eBird hotspots in Belgrade with its own webpage: Ebird Hotspot
Most of the Ušće area already is, or is projected to be, a large park.
Friendship Park (Serbian: Парк пријатељства, translit. Park prijateljstva) is a section of the park bounded by the Nikola Tesla Boulevard on the south and the esplanade along the Danube on the north. It covers an area of 127 ha (310 acres) and is specific for the fact that most of the trees are planted by the politicians, artists and celebrities. It was founded in 1961, during the 1st Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Belgrade. The first seedling was planted by the Serbian politician Voja Leković but followed by Josip Broz Tito and Jawaharlal Nehru. In the next decades they were followed by over 180 people, including Gamal Abdel Nasser, Haile Selassie, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Archbishop Makarios III, Elizabeth II, Mikhail Gorbachev and Ion Iliescu, who planted the last "celebrity" tree in 1993 and the park deteriorated due to the lack of maintenance. It was renovated in the mid-2000s and in 2007 the initiative was started to restore the tradition of planting the trees. In 2007 each tree got a memorial plaque with the names of the persons who planted it and the new seedlings were planted by the members of the EYOF and the members of the Rolling stones. Projects for the park caused controversies since the early 2000s. Immediately after the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, the monument "Eternal fire" was built as a pet project of Mirjana Marković, the wife of Slobodan Milošević and later the stir was caused by the proposal for construction the building of the Belgrade Opera in the park. Idea was later dropped.
Ušće has only three buildings, but two of them are monumental. One is the Palace of the Federation (Serbian: Палата Федерације, Palata Federacije), a seat of the former federal governments of Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro (also called the SIV building). Another monumental building is the Ušće Tower, with 134 m(antenna) of height almost tallest building in the Balkans (it was second tallest before the NATO attack on Serbia in 1999 when Avala TV Tower just outside Belgrade was razed). Third important building is the Museum of Contemporary Art, close to Sava river's left bank.
Other facilities in the neighborhood are several restaurants along the river banks. Oldest and the best known is the restaurant "Ušće". It was built in 1960 by Stojan Maksimović and entered Serbian textbooks of architecture as the first public facility of the contemporary architecture in Belgrade. The interior design was work of Mario Maskareli. Due to its location, near the confluence and close to the river with the view on Kalemegdan, Cathedral Church and the old section of Belgrade across the Sava river, the restaurant was featured in numerous movies, music videos and broadcasts. The restaurant was refurbished and ceremonially reopened on 1 June 2017 under the name of "Nacionalna Klasa". Only five days later, on 6 June, the restaurant was partially burned in the fire.
Ušće was also the site of temporary street circuit where races were held since 1967. and were held almost every year afterwards. The track (in a 2.310 meter configuration) encompasses roads around the blok 15 (Ušće park), passing near the Ušće Tower, along the Branko's Bridge and then along the Sava bank, with its start-finish straight just across the eternal fire monument. The circuit is popularly known as "a circuit without right hand turn", although it has two slight right-handers, and it is famous for its high speed S-curve near restaurant "Ušće" and Museum of Contemporary Art, on Sava coast, which exist because the road had to navigate around the previously made Ranney collector. The first race was held on 30 April 1967. but the most remembered is the one held in 1969. (on a 4.350 configuration) when around 40.000 spectators flocked to see powerful Fiat Abarths in European Touring Car Challenge, and Formula Vee cars race on the streets. After poor management and maintenance of roads and circuit, and race cars reaching high speeds in 1990s and 2000s, FIA and drivers continuously criticised the safety of the track, lack of proper barriers and run-off areas. After many unfortunate events, and a fatality in 2005, the circuit was taken off the calendar and "Grand Prix of Belgrade" was subsequently replaced with a race held in Batajnica Air Base. Despite these events, the race on Ušće was held in 2008, and never again. The rich history of races held on Ušće have gained somewhat a "classic" status in Serbia and former Yugoslavia, with meany people's associations on hearing the word "Ušće" firstly reminding them about the race.
After 20 years of skateboarders' activism to get one, the first skatepark in this part of Europe was opened on 28 September 2008. It is located in the Block 15, across the Ušće Tower and covers an area of 2,200 m2 (24,000 sq ft), which made it the largest one in the region when opened. Originally, it had 15 elements but after the 2011 reconstruction, 6 new elements were added. Apart from the everyday use (entrance is free for everyone with skateboards, rollers and bicycles), local and international competitions are being held at the park.
Due to its central location and wide-open space, Ušće has hosted some mass gatherings:
- On November 19, 1988, Slobodan Milošević (at the time Chairman of the Serbian Communist League's Central Committee) addressed the crowd of more than 100,000 people as the main speaker at a mass rally that took place as integral part of "anti-bureaucratic revolution" and in essence served as Milošević's unofficial inauguration.
- On March 11, 1991, Milošević's regime organized a large counter-rally in direct response to March 9th Protest two days earlier. The gathering was seen as the regime's attempt at showing that anti-regime protesters of the prior days were a lone, politically instrumentalized, and misguided group of destructive-minded youth. Milošević himself did not address the crowd, but some of the most prominent members of his Socialist Party of Serbia did. The crowd on hand mostly consisted of older generation members, many of whom were workers and pensioners bussed in for the occasion from other parts of Serbia.
- On October 16, 2014, a military parade by the Serbian Army was held in front of more than 100,000 spectators for the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Red Army liberating city of Belgrade from Nazi Germany. The parade was also part of Russian president Vladimir Putin's official visit. Besides Putin who was the parade's centerpiece guest, the main stand featured Serbian dignitaries, president Tomislav Nikolić and prime minister Aleksandar Vučić as well as Republika Srpska president Milorad Dodik and Repiblika Srpska prime minister Željka Cvijanović.
Concerts and festivals
- On July 3, 2004, the rock band Riblja Čorba and the Belgrade faction of the rock band Zabranjeno Pušenje headlined a day-long anniversary concert before 40,000 spectators that came out to celebrate Riblja Čorba's 25th and Zabranjeno Pušenje's 20th anniversary. However, the concert is best remembered by the fact that Zabranjeno Pušenje performance ended after about half an hour, as the band performed world music material they recorded as The No Smoking Orchestra, and the angry fans threw various objects on stage. Other acts that performed included Negative, Prljavi Inspektor Blaža i Kljunovi, Bjesovi, Alogia, Roze Poze, Abonos, Kraljevski Apartman, Đorđe David, and others.
- On June 17, 2006, Serbian turbo-folk singer Ceca Ražnatović performed for more than three hours in front of the crowd of more than 100,000 people, in support of her Idealno loša album that got released the same day.
- On July 14, 2007 The Rolling Stones finally played a concert in Serbia after several previous cancellations. The 2-hour show in front of approximately 70,000 people was part of their A Bigger Bang Tour.
- On June 24, 2008, The Police played a concert in front of the crowd of 27,104 people as part of their reunion tour, with Counting Crows performing as the opening band.
- Since 2008 Belgrade Beer Fest is held at Ušće every August.
- On August 24, 2009, Madonna performed at Ušće in front of 39,713 people as part of the second leg of her Sticky & Sweet Tour.
- On June 19 and June 21, 2010, Ušće Fest was held, with Bajaga i Instruktori and Vlado Georgiev playing on the 19th, and Billy Idol performing on the 21st. The festival was originally organized as a three-day event, but the scheduled performance by Goran Bregović and Severina on the second night, the 22nd, got cancelled due to stormy weather.
- On June 25, 2011, Zdravko Čolić performed a 4-hour concert in front of 100,000 people.
- On May 8, 2012, Metallica held a concert in front of approximately 30,000 people; they performed their 1991 eponymously titled album in its entirety. The concert featured Gojira and Machine Head as the opening bands.
- From June 27 to June 30, 2012, Belgrade Calling festival was held at Ušće. The first night of the festival featured Jessie J, Orbital, Example, Public Enemy, S.A.R.S. and Dubioza Kolektiv. The second evening of the festival featured Ozzy Osbourne (featuring Geezer Butler and Slash), The Cult, Black Label Society, Paradise Lost, Satyricon and Sanatorium. The third evening of the festival featured Faith No More, Public Image Limited, The Sisters of Mercy, The Darkness, The Horrors and Ugly Kid Joe. The last evening of the festival was free, and featured Serbian acts only: Straight Mickey & The Boys, Snakes, Sharks and Planes, Bjesovi, Svi Na Pod, Eva Braun, Goribor, Darkwood Dub, Kanda, Kodža i Nebojša and Block Out.
- Depeche Mode performed at the park on 19 May 2013 during their Delta Machine Tour, in front of a sold out crowd of 27,198 people. The band had previously been scheduled to perform at the park on 20 May 2009 as part of their Tour of the Universe, but the concert was cancelled due to singer Dave Gahan's severe bout of gastroenteritis.
- On 15 June 2013, Jelena Karleuša performed a concert called Viva La Diva Show in front of 45,000 people.
- On 28 June 2013, Svetlana Ražnatović Ceca performed the biggest concert of her career which initiated her Poziv Tour in front of more than 130,000 people, promoting the album Poziv.
- On 17 June 2015, Robbie Williams performed at the park as part of his Let Me Entertain You Tour, in front of 33,000 people.
- On 20 June 2015, Smak played a concert in front of 25,000 people.
- Osnovni skupovi stanovništva u zemlji – SFRJ, SR i SAP, opštine i mesne zajednice 31.03.1981, tabela 191. Savezni zavod za statistiku (txt file). 1983.
- Stanovništvo prema migracionim obeležjima – SFRJ, SR i SAP, opštine i mesne zajednice 31.03.1991, tabela 018. Savezni zavod za statistiku (txt file).
- Popis stanovništva po mesnim zajednicama, Saopštenje 40/2002, page 4. Zavod za informatiku i statistiku grada Beograda. 26 July 2002.
- Stanovništvo po opštinama i mesnim zajednicama, Popis 2011. Grad Beograd – Sektor statistike (xls file). 23 April 2015.
- Branka Vasiljeć (23 June 2008), "Sađenje stabala u Parku prijateljstva", Politika (in Serbian)
- B.V., A.K. (7 June 2017), "Izgorela bašta tek otvorenog restorana "Nacionalna klasa"", Politika (in Serbian), p. 16
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- "Jelen Pivo". Jelen Pivo. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
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