The Belgrade City Library was originally built as the Srpska Kruna (Serbian Crown) hotel, in Romantic style, in 1869. At the time it was the most modern and best equipped hotel in Belgrade, built by a wealthy merchant family Krsmanovic.
In the history of Belgrade architecture, the building of the Srpska kruna hotel marked the beginning of a period of intense Europeanization of Belgrade during the second half of the 19th century. The architecture of the building is eclectic, containing elements of renaissance and other styles. The architect who designed the building is not known.
The building has a rectangular base with three street facades. The composition of the building was designed around its central rectangular courtyard, which now may be seen in the Atrium Gallery. The characteristic windows, which end in arches richly decorated in plastic art, present the building’s basic element of style. The first floor is also decorated by two balconies with iron railings, the shape of which suggests Romanticism. The building has a rich roof ridge and a segmental arch above the front entrance. The forefront of the hotel was decorated in decorative plastic art in the neostyle form, which was very popular in the 19th century.
The Srpska kruna hotel had spacious, arched halls for its cafe, restaurant and beer-hall, rooms on the upper floor and store rooms in the basement. The ground floor of the hotel was composed of the cafe, the pool room, the reading-room for daily newspapers and the dining lounge, where windows and doors led to the veranda overlooking the park. Due to its view of the park, this balcony especially attracted guests, so much so that in summer months it was difficult to find a seat there. The 1908 Guidebook to Belgrade noted that the Srpska kruna hotel had as many as 17 rooms and that it was a first-class hotel intended for foreigners and local rich people. Concerts took place in the hotel three times a week. It was also used to host secret free mason conferences.
The building was reconstructed in 1986 for the purposes of Belgrade City Library and has maintained its original appearance. Apart from its indisputable beauty, it is additionally valuable for its exceptional location on the very end of the most beautiful city street – promenade, which leads to the most attractive and best-known park of Belgrade - Kalemegdan fortress.