If you want to meet a city, go to a market. This is a sentence we heard many times from tourist guides when we visit a city. How much it means to Belgraders to go to a market is a theme that is never boring. It is more than just groceries shopping. Colorful fruit and vegetables in season are true indicator that winter is gone and warm days are coming. All super markets do have all we need, but market is market. The first cherries, according to folk customs and beliefs, are not purchased in the nearest super market, but at "your own" seller at market.
There is an expression used only for comparing prices at markets - market barometer. It sounds like a serious mathematical function, but in fact, it is a start theme for chitchatting, a theme that goes along something fiery - rakija, of course, that is ordered with morning coffee and Turkish delight (rahat lokum). Coffee, rakija and small sparkling water used to be must have for good morning Belgrade way. Today, modern world that is inexorably tackling the flows of globalization, cannot start a day without favourite smoothie - organic, of course.
Markets are attractive locations in Belgrade. Going to a market is a unique opportunity for foreign guests to feel and experience true spirit and energy of the city and to bring home something authentic, Serbian, homemade and of course edible. Although English is not used very much at markets, experienced sellers came up with an idea to write down on paper what they sell and how much it costs, of course in euros. A market is the mirror of the city. A market is a small town. A market is an experience. Due to all of this, we present the most beautiful markets in Belgrade.
The biggest market in Belgrade is located in the center of the smallest municipality of the city - Vracar. It was built on Kalenic`s threshing floor, land of the rich, great benefactor and merchant Vlajko Kalenic. It did not take long for Kalenic market to become a place where young and old people meet, the rich and the poor, educated and uneducated, city ladies and hardworking women from the countryside, and they all come to buy something or sell something and to hear the latest news from city pavement. It has been like this for 90 years of its existence. What is interesting is that Vlajko Kalenic inherited this land from his father, who was in business of manufacturing of slippers, and this tradition of passing marketplace from father to son has been kept till today.
Kalenic Market is definitely one of the most interesting tourist attractions of Belgrade. It is specific and yet, authentic Serbian with an amazing charm. The market is famous for wide offer of fruit and vegetables, dairy products, and natural honey. Residents of all Belgrade come to Kalenic because of natural honey. Fish market, butcher`s, bakery shops, flower shops, sale of modern wardrobe and old stuff - all of this is available at Kalenic. Walking among stalls is a special experience, it is a special place in Belgrade surrounded by impressive beauty of Vracar.
The official name of this market is Skadarlija, but no one calls it that way. People call it after an entrepreneur, who brightened the reputation of Belgrade in the world, Bajloni. Built on former swamp, the Bajloni market has supplied Belgraders and their guests for almost 100 years.
Ignjat Bajloni was born in Litomysl in the Habsburg Monarchy, later the Czech Republic. He studied for leather-work and alongside his brother did this job. Driven by great ambitions, he decided to move to America, but he returned soon to Serbia because of his sister and brother-in-law. Alongside his wife and four sons, Ignjat came back to the capital in 1885 and settled down at Topcider hill. In 1885, he bought up a small handmade brewery in the lower part of Skadarlija. There was a swamp full of mosquitoes nearby. He drained the swamp and developed the brewery so much that it, after his death in 1900, won many awards for its products on world exhibition in Paris. Due to great devotion to Belgrade, the market got the name after its founder.
After World War II, in 1946, the market changed its name to Skadarlija. The new name was never accepted by Belgraders. The market was built between two wars and mostly bulk goods were sold. Part of history of this market is an old tavern Saran where merchants celebrated good market days. Official statistics show that this market supplies about 100.000 customers.
Zeleni venac Market
The first assembly of Serbian greengrocers was held at Zeleni venac in 1918. When market was built on this place two years after, very modern one for that time, residents gave it the title "queen of markets". The goods were brought in by a carriage, and richer sellers used their own trucks to bring in their goods. The buyers and the sellers from whole country have been coming to this market for decades. Due to a unique architectural solution, the whole complex of the Zeleni venac market was declared a cultural monument of special importance. At the beginning of 2007, with the help of the city authorities, the market was completely reconstructed. Zeleni venac market today proudly holds the title of one of the most modern green markets in the Balkans.
Smederevski djeram market is an old pre-war market that has always been one of the best markets in Belgrade. Fresh produce were brought from Mirijevo, Karaburma and other parts of the city. Goods were sold directly from carriages that were used for transport. Stalls were made of wood by sellers themselves, not only for selling goods, but for sleeping as well. The market was paved with cobblestones. Is stands for high quality middle-size market where residents of Crveni krst, Djeram and Bulbulder shop.
Blok 44 Market
This is favourite market of residents of Novi Beograd and it was completely renovated in 2011. New, modern look is completed with a pylon overhang over the market plateau, and that space is air-conditioned with a spray system that keeps freshness of goods. There is also a market square, rich in greenery. What sets apart this market from others is offer of organic food. Belgraders and their guests have been able to purchase organic products at this location every weekend since April, 2012. Organic food market is the first market in Serbia that sells exclusively certified organic products.
Saved written documents from the 17th century prove that peasants delivered goods to the inhabitants of Zemun at their home address. Back then, upper class and folk did not meet at markets. Zemun ladies did not go shopping for groceries, they had employees to do that for them. Residents of Novo selo, which is popular for agriculture even today, were the main suppliers of Zemun citizenship. There used to be a fish market on the Danube, near green market, where fishermen sold their catch. Zemun market has preserved the tradition of the best supplied market with fresh fish.