Ex-Yugoslavia. Part I

July 30, 2017

Only 11 years ago, a state called “Yugoslavia” still existed on the map of Europe. In the 90s, along with the collapse of the USSR, the rest of the socialist countries around the world fell like houses of cards. Yugoslavia was one of them, and its disintegration lasted for 15 years. Ultimately, after a series of wars, 7 separate states were formed: Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. I decided to look at all of them to figure out why, at first glance, rather close nationalities could not get along together. And it turned out that the differences between them are sometimes just cardinal.

My route:

Slovenia and Croatia are the most developed countries among the “fragments” of Yugoslavia. And since I prefer to start with good things, the first part of the report will be about them.


The guys are well aware that their country is not particularly interesting for the broad masses, so they decided to go all out and at least make the main city their business card.

Of course, there were some farmers selling cabbage on the central square of the old city.

But in general, it turned out very well: around there are clean beautiful streets, shops, cafes. It can be seen that here they are now being aligned with countries like Italy, and not with Russia, as they did a couple of generations earlier.

A separate pleasure is to walk along the embankment of the river, which gave a new name to the city (for many centuries before that it was called Laibach).

And this is how the Ljubljanica river itself looks like. Small and cute, it unrealistically saves all systems from overheating in the summer heat.

We dive back into the piles of concrete.

At first I thought it was something like an old gate at the entrance to the city. But upon closer inspection, it turned out that this is quite a living space. Directly over the road!

A long street goes somewhere upstairs, ending at the very top of the hill, where the ancient Ljubljana castle is located. In my opinion, almost any photograph of him can be immediately printed on postcards. I will return to it a little later.

Congress Square. Usually in such cases, somewhere you can find a memorial plaque explaining the name, but it was not here. I googled later, it turned out that it was about the Vienna Congress. Well, this is when a crowd somehow stopped Napoleon’s army and on this occasion gathered in Vienna to chat and at the same time establish a new world order. Such is the imperial legacy in the names. Apparently, it was just too lazy to rename after independence.

Near the square there is a small park, which contains the remains of the walls of the ancient city, and a couple of replicas of ancient Roman sculptures found here. After all, once this was a town in the central part of the Roman Empire.

High above one of the city squares, a tiny spray is installed, which creates the feeling of very local rain. An interesting ride came out.

Everywhere there are some cafes and restaurants. People always prefer to sit outside, even air conditioners do not motivate them to go inside.

Sticky patterns. Due to the similarity of the flag, I even assumed for a second that this was the Russian embassy.

Street art here is not very developed yet, mostly boring tags are bombed, at best – simple drawings.

Although in some places they fit into the environment and become completely invisible.

Bumped into a bridge with weird sculptures.

Not otherwise, they survived the nuclear bombardment, the skin is torn off the muscles and hangs in rags already.

It’s time to go back to the castle. The upper station of the funicular is made among the rocks at the top, from here you can easily get to any part of the fortress.

Some of the premises were converted into museums and exhibition centers. Well, revitalization is there, that’s all.

Some Slovenian Moidodyr, lol.

A dizzying staircase to the castle observation tower.

It is definitely worth going upstairs, the view is simply amazing. The country is small, so in good weather a third of its entire territory is visible from here (and that a significant part of it is mountains).

Slovenian get-together.

Without translation, it was somehow much laconic and generally clearer.)

And this is how the whole city center looks like. Almost all locations from the pictures above can be found on this one and only one. Try it, you will get a funny quest. 🙂


Do you want to say in Slovenian that you have finally arrived? Easy, just say: “I am coming.”

Yugoslavia also had its own five-year plans and shock workers who heroically spoiled the whole concept of a planned economy. By the way, as far as I remember, this concept is still in use in China, although it has been very cleverly adapted to the needs of capitalism.

In general, a pipa is just a crane. But how can you resist the temptation to try something like “In case of fire, pull the pipu”? On the other hand, the locals are also interested in watching Russian-speaking, falling into a hysteria from simple inscription “fire hydrant”.

And while I was still experiencing insight on the etymology of the word “kick”, evening came to the city.

And has demonstrated some magic. : 3

And in the morning the magic dissipated, returning the city to its original appearance.

It seems to me, or do you need some other illustration for the inscription “Dare to change”? Apparently, I’m too old already, but in my understanding, self-development is not grabbing a blind girl sitting next to her by the nipple.

The long arms of the Russian Sberbank.

So, okay, let’s go back to the small but neat old center.

On Sunday morning, there is almost no one in the city. The sleepy barista in the cafe did not immediately believe that at 10 in the morning someone was no longer in bed and in all seriousness came to drink coffee.

I had one more location marked on the map where I was going to go, and finally I was nearby. At first glance, this is a typical Soviet city park.

But since business takes place in the European Union, then there are sure to be smart guys who will spoil the communist idyll with their hipster manners and modern culture.

High modern culture.

But in general, the city park turned out to be very good, the main thing is to go to the end.

We leave the tourist-safe limits of the center and go to see what’s next.

Something like this is the case in places where the presence of tourists is not expected. So in Slavic everything, you feel at home straight.

Some kind of random market caused me the toughest Uzbek flashback. In fact, almost one to one picture.

But the city embankment left the most pleasant memories in my memory.

All these wine bars and small restaurants somehow fit so naturally here that it might seem as if they grew up here with the trees. No, seriously, sitting with a glass of red dry on the bank of the river felt like I had got out on a picnic in the park.

Although Maribor is not licked like Ljubljana, it turned out to be a good idea. At least he is real, and such things are felt and then remain in the memory.


Zagreb knows how to impress at first sight.

When I went here, I had a prejudice that it would be boring here, since Croatia is still more of a tourist country, and all the most interesting should be on the coast.

But it turned out that I was wrong: Zagreb is a very beautiful and truly lively city, at first I was even at a loss where I should go, because, in addition to the old city, I immediately marked on the map a whole bunch of places that I want to see.

Here, too, in the very center there is a farmers’ market, but here it does not give the impression that it has come to Central Asia.

On the contrary, looks cool.

In Slovenia, I already saw the Museum of Illusions on the map, but passed by. And then I saw another one (a strange, of course, idea for a network establishment) and decided that I still needed to take a look. Well, this, for one time.

Although one funny room was found there. Due to the fact that the slope is small, the brain does not perceive it as something that should be strongly resisted, so very soon you start to sway. I completely controlled it, but the girl next to me, taking a selfie, actually almost fell.

Central square.

“Blue who? Blue you! ” I have no idea what the author was trying to say.

Church of St. Mark. It has been standing here since 1261.

Surprisingly, the upper (oldest) part of the city has been restored only partially, there is a lot of all kinds of dastroy and just shabby old buildings. A kind of piece of Kiev Podil in Croatia. However, with its own special atmosphere.

Although in general it is clearly a tourist center, so the situation is, frankly, unusual.

The upper city smoothly turns into the private sector, which stretches far into the mountains. I was also told that there is some kind of cool Medvedgrad there, but I don’t really like wild bears, and after hitchhiking in Siberia so especially.

Right in the center of town someone is growing grapes (for wine, I guess).

Google suggests that in the North Croatian dialect “taubek” means “dove”. However, even this did not explain to me how the guys came up with the idea to draw two bottles of beer standing on a power line, and sign it with the phrase “Like two doves.”

It seems to me that this is the world’s first monument to the moment “a second before falling on the tailbone.” At least, I have not found any other explanation of its meaning anywhere.

Height differences in the center.

Infrastructural crutch: the hill on which the upper city is located can be walked bluntly through a gloomy long tunnel.

On the other side, by the way, is the epic Gothic Zagreb Cathedral. It has been restored in parts for many years, because under the Communists no one even thought about preserving the cultural heritage. True, I was most impressed here the idea with a giant print of a tower over the scaffolding for the period of renovation. Usually they completely spoil the whole view, but here I, flying past him with a drone, at first did not even notice what was the catch.

I’m going to see what’s next, outside the center. People usually say that this can ruin the whole experience of the city, but it seems to me that on the contrary, this is an effective way to understand it deeper.

Promotion of restoration of building facades. This is something new.

A large Bundek park was discovered across the river. Quite diverse, some parts of it look like you are somewhere in a forest untouched by man.

And others – so that it is really clear that you are in the capital of a European state.

Okay, I admit, with some caveats.

Instead of the names of genitals, vanilla quotes from the Bible are written on the walls. By the way, they missed the key word, in the original Mark had something like “Look and pray, for you do not know when this hour will come.” Without this “pray” the phrase sounds much less fatalistic and even gives some hope to influence the course of events, which completely distorts the original message.

Government-sponsored concerts can be seen from afar: there are clearly more performers than listeners. Just like at voluntary-compulsory festivals in Russia.

No seriously?)

In Croatia, Kents do not borrow money, but take on a loan at interest.

Against the background of this, Sberbank looks generally a decent institution. (No, they don’t pay me for advertising, it’s just funny to see that with such a vulnerable economy, Russians manage to open branches of state banks in other countries. )

To motivate people to sort the garbage, the guys came up with a funny strategy: separate garbage cans are cool decorated, but common sometimes look like a real garbage can. That is, not sorting the garbage in the end becomes stupidly unpleasant.

In general, it turned out to be a really interesting city. With its own chips, troubles and a special atmosphere. It’s even a pity to leave here somehow.

Plitvice Lakes

I think this is the most common tourist location I could only find in Croatia.

The bottom line is that once the guys were wandering in some random forest far in the mountains, and suddenly discovered fucking beautiful lakes. Whole cascades of fucking beautiful lakes to be exact.

And then it occurred to someone to build a road here. And away we go.

Of course, a tourist flow of more than a million people per season would leave only bare rocks here, letting them all go anywhere. Therefore, it was decided to build paths throughout the park, passing through the most interesting places.

But there are so many interesting places that these paths are now almost everywhere. For example, they come close to all waterfalls, of which there are hundreds of them, without exaggeration.

The park is really big, even the stubborn Chinese who came here with trekking sticks do not reach the upper (most remote) lakes.

I could not resist.) The water here, as you might guess, is really cold.

Taking into account the fact that it was a summer roast under the scorching sun, after a while, at the sight of another lake, one begins to want to dive into it headlong.

As it turned out later, the most epic part of the park was still ahead.

Here the current washed out a real canyon. Multiplied by the beauty of the lakes themselves, the view from above is simply stunning.

However, from below, the whole thing looked no less impressive. In general, the only serious drawback of this place is the crowds of tourists.

Everything else is just fine here.


Local & nbsp; leave their cars right on the lawn. I feel at home.

But when it comes to parking boats and boats, everyone does it perfectly.

Old entrance to the old town.

Which here is especially compact. The thing is that it is located on a peninsula, so the area available for development was physically limited.

Church of St. Donatus, built in the 9th century. Damn, this is about 1200 years ago!

We crawl to look at the embankment.

The stairs here go straight into the sea. Strangely so. However, it will be extremely convenient to get out if you accidentally fall into the water.

So, well, it’s hard to explain, but it’s like a marine organ. Yes, I know that there is nothing here.) In fact, it is here, it is simply built into this embankment, and when the waves start at the minimum wind on the sea, this thing starts to perform strange ragged symphonies. It’s really cool, reminded of the Sibelius monument in Helsinki.

But what is really offensive about this city is that the best view of it is not available to mere mortals. Fortunately, I am not such a simple mortal as to just take it for granted. 🙂

We descend from heaven to earth. In the afternoon, mostly tourists go to the city, the siesta has already begun among the locals.

There are the same restaurants everywhere, on every corner. Even the menu looks like a carbon copy.

There are many fast food outlets, mostly sandwiches and pizza, sometimes you can buy refried burek.

The markets are dirty, and generally look gloomy. Fortunately, there are few of them.

But here at religious institutions there are no fiestas, you have to work!

Even shops with Catholic merchandise are open. Well, what, money will not earn itself.

Sometimes, among the old beautiful quarters some kind of socialist realism climbs out.

At us this would go for demolition, but here it is considered a promising secondary.

However, this does not even stand out from the general picture, here they love the old and shabby.

They also love nature here. Even in small towns you can always find a green oasis.

The cognitive dissonance.

You go to a shopping center and at some point you realize that you are really covered with this huge canopy. Almost like a train station in Liege.

Bite, bite! (Yes, I know that the letter “š” reads “w”, just funny.)

The bus to the next city had to wait more than an hour after the announced departure time. Typical Balkans. But I was able to admire the sunset.


The city stretches along a long bay, in which for some reason there are almost no large parking lots for boats (or what are they called there?), At least in the center area. Therefore, here they are moored almost along the entire embankment.

Everything is built on the hills, step to the left, step to the right – and you already, breathlessly, climb the endless street from steps somewhere up.

However, the views sometimes compensate for the effort.

Anyway, the places here are pleasant.

At the top of the hill is the Fortress of St. Michael. Nothing too special, it just looks pretty powerful. What kind of theater it is equipped there, I never found out.

Game of Thrones fans will probably know that Sibenik, with all its stone streets, impressive fortifications and even an entire bay, served as the prototype for the free city of Braavos. Greetings from Essos.

In general, the trick of this city is that it really looks like it was teleported from the Middle Ages. And not only looks, he has a corresponding atmosphere.

And although parts of the modern world are sometimes striking, everything looks spectacular in any case.

And this is how the Iron Bank of Braavos looks like in reality.

Upstairs, George the Victorious, smug, pokes the snake in the face with a stick.

The giant statue of Titan Braavos at the entrance to the bay does not exist in reality, but everything else is completely real. Even a long narrow channel connecting the bay to the open sea, surrounded by hills on which the shooting positions were located. Trying to take over a city from the sea would be madness.

Locals are aware of the drooling Game of Thrones fans, so the city has dozens of shops with themed stuff.

Although, of course, the city’s advantages do not end there.

There are really many cozy places here, which, to my happiness and surprise, were not at all overwhelmed by noisy tourists.

In general, it seemed to me that the city as a whole is much less tourist-oriented, so to speak.

Of course, this does not mean that there is nowhere to go.

It’s just that it’s still not mainstream. And as a result, everything here is somehow more real, or something.

People are solving more pressing problems. I was a little surprised that here you can sometimes find places where people leave old, worn clothes for the homeless or just poor people. You can come and take what you like. No control.

Rubric “mimimi-technologies”: trees-lanterns from solar panels. Charges during the day, shines at night. There are also slots for USB, you can recharge your phone, for example.

The most up-to-date travel information I’ve come across in my life.

With the onset of darkness, the city becomes quite lamp-like. I would like to take a longer walk, but it’s time to move on.


I expected to see another quiet port town, but Split eventually exceeded all my expectations. For example, this is how the embankment looks like here.

View of the center from the sea. To say that it is beautiful here is to say nothing. After the quiet stone streets of Sibenik, it’s just an explosion.

On the streets everywhere there are signs like “walking in swimsuits down”. I didn’t really want to, that’s it. : /

The old town here has not yet been restored to a plastic state.

Perhaps that’s why you somehow believe him more. I don’t know how to explain, this is a difficult feeling. It’s like with the Hungarian ruin pubs, which impress much more lofts worked out to the smallest detail.

On the other hand, against the background of really destroyed buildings, slightly shabby walls look generally great.

Another location from “Game of Thrones”. Meereen’s dungeon was filmed here, where Daenerys put her dragons on hold. They say that the staircase at the end was built specifically for filming, so that the heroes descend epically, but then it turned out that just this staircase was not enough here for comfortable movement, and they decided to leave it.

In general, there seem to be many cool places in this city, but almost everything has already been destroyed. 🙁

This is what an urban crutch looks like. Although they came up with great ideas with flowers.

It’s fun to climb all over the place, you never know what you’ll find around the next corner. I was already thinking of going to look for where to dine, but then right around the next turn I found a nice restaurant that automatically removed the question “Where to eat?”

And when after him I wanted to find sweets, I found just such a confectionery by the same method of random poking.

It seems to me that such a quest can be organized here. Well, you are given a task to find something, and you do it without the help of Google and any other prompts. Considering the specifics of the city, it can be fun.

I don’t know what they were trying to convey with this monument, but I really like his pose. I don’t know, it seems to me that he’s reading a rap based on the Gospel.

I go back to the embankment.

For the first time in my life I see a full-scale boat refueling station. Before that, I somehow did not think about how they regularly replenish fuel supplies.

Concentration. These are all private.

Immediately behind this yacht club on the hill, a steep park was discovered. Clean, with fresh sea air, only squirrels and practically no one. Immediately behind this park is the open sea.

Damn, it must be somehow neat here, the height of 30 meters and the rocks below.)

Unlike other large coastal cities, there are many beaches here. True, I do not quite understand what the thrill is, here you need to walk on the water about 100 meters forward just to go to the waist. And at least the same amount to start swimming at last.

Somewhere there, under the lights, people sit and feel the Balkan vibe. Probably.

By the way, a surprisingly many ships leave from here on long voyages, or at least to the other end of the Adriatic Sea, to Italy. At night I really wanted to jump into one of them and swim away somewhere far away, but I still had one more point, which I could not miss.


Once upon a time, I read the history of the Mongol invasion of Russia, what came before it, and what happened after. There was a remarkable moment that after the fall of Kiev, the guys all over Europe suddenly realized that everything was serious, and even the former enemies began to slowly conclude alliances with each other in order to be ready to resist the approaching horde. But the Mongols made an unexpected maneuver and turned south. We walked through Budapest, Bratislava, Zagreb as a skating rink, reached the very Adriatic, and suddenly stopped, unable to take a single fortress. This fortress was Klis.

I do not know by what miracle, but the fortress, which for 1200 years in a row was constantly in the epicenter of hostilities, was able to survive to our time. I think it’s just incredible. Could I have missed it?

Only after seeing her live, I realized what was the matter. It’s just fucking high here.

But nevertheless, they were Mongols! Each of them was effective both in the infantry and in the cavalry, owned and melee weapons, and used a bow at long distances. Stupidly universal soldiers of that time, and they were able to stop the banal need to climb up?

But this flight explained everything to me. The Chinese say correctly: better to see once than hear a hundred times. Yes, damn it, they, perhaps, could be stopped by the banal need to go upstairs. Because even with all our technologies, I hardly imagine a siege of such a fortification, not like the steppe nomads in the Middle Ages.

My bird, what would I do without you. : 3

But with security, everything is clear: if someone accidentally falls, then a maximum of once.

“Eagle’s Nest”. : D There was a time when the presence of such a toilet could boast of only the nobility living in castles. Given the lack of sewage, it was generally, excuse the pun, high technologies.

That, however, does not prevent them from successfully coexisting with the high technologies of our time.

And here is a bonus for the fans of “Game of Thrones”, who probably at the sight of this photo have already remembered the walls of Meereen with the crucified slave owners. Yes, not only I could not miss this castle.


No, of course, there is really a cool old town (in the morning, before hordes of tourists have captured it).

Especially cool it turned out to use relief. These steps, going almost to heaven, – it all looks really epic.

But the problem is that the scope of available activities practically ends there. People walk, eat, walk again.

Eating again.

They walk again.

Of course, I’ve already got everyone out with my Game of Thrones, so I’ll just say it’s Blackwater Bay. In reality, the water in it, of course, is far from black. I remember that in my childhood I had a similar disappointment from the Black Sea. Why call them that at all, if it’s not true?

But the fact that man-seals would swim in it was unexpected for me. I don’t know why, but I was not ready for this.

I walked around, you can eat. And then walk again. I say, everything is predetermined, you cannot change something in this city.

The place where, as a punishment, Cersei was stripped and forced to walk through the entire city in front of the townspeople. Some American woman, going downstairs, at a funny voice, that nun began to shout: “Shame! Shame! Shame! ” And at that moment, everyone who had previously quietly and somehow tensely just took pictures of the place, without saying a word, suddenly turned on, and began to shout this in one voice with her “Shame! Shame! “& Nbsp; That’s what TV shows bring people to.)

I’ll just leave it here.

Dubrovnik is a city of seals. They climb all over here, cute ones.

For some cosmic amount, they just let them climb the wall of the city. They say the view is cool from there.

And I’m like: no, thanks, I have mine.

Although I must admit that there really is something to see. And even not only the city, but also the territory around.

This island alone is worth something in the distance.

Okay, I promise, one last time about Game of Thrones. No, this time for sure. So, remember the tower of the House of the Immortals in Quart? Where did such a creepy peasant still live, who kidnapped little dragons in order to bring Daenerys to his place. So, this is it. In reality, it is called the Mincheta Tower.

In addition to this round tower, five more equally powerful square ones are built into this side of the fortress walls.

At the very top of the hill above the city there is another small separate fortification. People drive (either by car or by cable car) there for an even more epic view of what I showed above.

There are not so many beautiful places outside the old center; you have to walk for a long time to remove not just another stone box.

Mural at the entrance to the port.

At the bus station, you need to pay for Wi-Fi by throwing a coin into a special machine. Croatian technologies.

This is where the calm and pleasant part of the former Yugoslavia ends. But it will be more interesting further.