Ex-Yugoslavia. Part II

August 13, 2017

I told about a rather developed and openly tourist part of the former Yugoslavia in the previous part, now it’s time to talk about less popular, but incomparably more authentic part – Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro. Along the way, we’ll capture a couple of other countries in the region. Make yourself comfortable, in places it will be hard.



After the magnificent streets of Dubrovnik there was a feeling as if was not in the neighboring city on the map, but on the other end of the continent. Dirt, murder, locals squinting at you, aggressive beggars, everything was so strange after the hothouse Croatia that I did not immediately come to my senses.

But the realization of the fact that in the middle of Europe there is an Islamic state was just a headshot for me. All these mosques around, women in burqas, the inscriptions “halal” on display cases with cola, everything seemed so surreal that Although I saw them, I could not bring myself to believe that it was true, and that I am now 200 km from the coast of Italy, and not in the Middle East.

Unlike the experience of Slovenia and Croatia, the attempt by Bosnia and Herzegovina to secede from Yugoslavia in 1991 turned into a disaster: the population here was not mono-national, but consisted of in a ratio of the type 3: 2: 1 Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. All had the opposite goals, so from the very first days a fierce civil war began. The conflict turned out to be so deep that even when the Bosnians and Croats found a common language and began to fight together against the Serbs, they still could not cope with the situation … The war was stopped only by the intervention of NATO, which was able to force the Serbs to sign the peace.

Despite the cooperation of Croats and Bosniaks during the war, they prefer to live separately in cities. I am now in the Bosnian side of Mostar.

Although, in principle, it is even visible: Muslim narrow streets with low oppressive buildings give out the essence of the location at first glance.

But the main attribute of the Muslim quarter is, of course, the ubiquitous merchants selling all sorts of trash. Even a street cafe in a pleasant place must be surrounded by merchants. At best, looking out of their burrows in anticipation of customers, at worst – screaming all over the street some kind of advertising game.

The main attraction of this city. Yes, you’re not mistaken, it’s just an old footbridge.

“Welcome to Karma Cafe. There is no menu here. You will be served the way you deserve. ” They are located right next to this bridge, on the site of one of the towers. They make awful (aka Turkish) coffee, but but, albeit in extremely poor English, they were able to explain to me the historical importance of this place: “mostar” is the toll for crossing a river on a bridge. A kind of customs city was, in short.

And I, in turn, showed them Mostar from an angle from which they had never seen their city before. Judging by the guys’ impressions, my karma balance turned out to be positive.

Although the city is theoretically divided in half by the river, in fact, in the area of ​​the bridge, the Bosniacs also occupied a decent amount of territory on the other side. I walk through the jungle of mosques to the Croatian part of the city.

I came. This is how the Croatian part looks like.

Find 10 type differences. To be fair, life here is not boiling either. I would think that siesta is also practiced here, but I knew that from all of the former Yugoslavia it happens only on the Croatian coast.

Nice cafe on the embankment of a small mountain river. Empty.

There are many such abandoned places around.

And cemeteries. I was impressed by the fact that here Christian graves are mixed with Muslim ones. Atypical situation.

No, well, you can’t go there with a ball, but how is it to go to the park without a weapon, are you out of your mind at all? O_o

The park itself turned out to be nothing like that, quite well-groomed, people are hanging out, lying on the grass.

Drinking system. The water, by the way, is delicious there, but just icy.

The style of architecture brings you back to reality.

Even if these are not gray panels, all the same everything is kind of eerily typical.

“The belly is important.” Whatever that means.

Such psychedelic graffiti is everywhere on the houses.

Big mall. Compared to the bazaar in the Bosnian part of the city, it feels like a cathedral of capitalism.

I still remember that this dessert was called “banana sling”, so I just could not resist ordering, if only in order to look at what is behind this name.) Please do not google if you have not heard this expression before. I warned.

Such a harsh immersion in Bosnian reality came out. Let’s go further.


Breakfast at the hostel is served from a dog bowl. Super. I decided to do with toast and coffee.

But then you walk down a street with dozens abandoned houses with bullet holes, and you realize that for them dishes are generally insignificant trifles.

And then you get to the center and now you just can’t understand what the hell is going on in this city.

There is total devastation nearby, but here are cafes, bars, restaurants, everything is so neat, a lot of tourists, beautiful architecture.

However, the matrix breaks down quite quickly here: just go into the random arch and see the courtyards hiding behind these slicked facades.

At the entrance to many establishments, next to the standard prohibitions on entering with dogs, skateboards and cameras, there is a ban on entering with weapons. Well, like, it’s not obvious that you can’t enter banks with a rifle at the ready.

There are many shops of Muslim staff: quotes from the Koran, pictures with mosques, party cloaks of some kind. Orthodoxy business, in short.

A Catholic church in the midst of all this celebration of Islam looks somehow unusual. In general, it is surprising that it was not destroyed.

Bosnian cuisine restaurant menu. Everything seemed so homely to me, as if I hadn’t gone anywhere.

Bazaar with mountains of useless things. Although everything is civilized here, these houses were made for merchants.

There are many, many Turks. By the way, they say “Bosnian coffee”, not “Turkish”. The taste does not change from this, of course.

Mountains of trash, expensive.

Cannibal ice cream or weirdo ice cream? However, one does not interfere with the other.

Suddenly, at full volume, a mournful adhan was turned on – a special chant that calls upon Muslims to perform namaz (obligatory prayer). There are no more brave muezzins in the city who must climb the minaret at the right time and sing at the top of their lungs the song is in Arabic, instead of the usual timer-operated speakers. Technologies.

More trash. And someone buys it.

City Administration. There is now a cool exhibition of Berber – perhaps the world’s most famous Bosnian artist.

Advertising on shrinking benches.

The entire historical center in one photo. By the way, here is the second bridge in a row – this is the same Latin bridge, near which Gavrilo Princip killed Franz Ferdinand (the future emperor of this entire huge country), which is why then the First World War began, which eventually changed the entire world order once again …

Outside the old center, more or less typical Yugoslavian buildings begin.

People relax in the park, walk with dogs, and between the trees next to them at the same time there are graves. Many graves. The years of death are the same for all – 1992 (this was the climax of the war).

There is also some modern architecture.

Among tech giants such as Oracle and Microsoft, The Sberbank sits in the high-rise of the new office block.

Parliament building of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In general, I expected to see here why the city is called Sarajevo (forgive the pun, of course, but in general “barn” is a “palace” in Turkic languages), but it’s much cooler.

A pointer to the past – Cafe Tito.

Broz Tito is such a Yugoslav Stalin. I have a vague idea of ​​& nbsp; we have a cafe “Stalin”, for example, but the local Serbs like it.

Economy option.

A couple of kilometers from the center, the river divides the city into the Serbian and Bosnian parts. They do not love each other so much that they do not go to visit, and the Serbian part itself is generally called East Sarajevo (here I did not catch the logic at all, given that this is the western part of the city), and not so long ago they dismantled the checkpoint at the “border”. There is practically nothing here, and I went here only because nothing goes from the central station of the city to Serbian countries (Serbia itself, Montenegro, the Serbian part of Bosnia and the Serbian part of Croatia aka Krajina), only from the station of this Eastern Sarajevo.

Uh, well, like a mural, a plate-porthole-aquarium. And the building on the left, pierced all the way up by bullets.

However, here, in general, all the buildings in the traces of heavy shelling and explosions. For some reason, the Serbs do not consider it necessary to get rid of the traces of the war, but on the contrary reflect in full, cleverly avoiding the fact that, in addition to the past, there is actually also the present.

It is a strange idea to advertise in the Orthodox part of the city a fund for zakat – Muslim religious tax (officially in favor of the poor).

Reminds Pripyat by the amount of greenery.

“Whatever you write on the wall, people won’t care.” Well, the Serbs for sure.

Abandoned Protestant Church. Sorry, it looks cool.

It’s good that there are sunsets: it seems like some kind of tin around, and then suddenly there is a hop and everything is beautiful. Then, of course, it gets dark and it doubles the gloom, but that’s a completely different story.


The central street of the city. Promising, right?)

Acrobatic soldiers.

Actually, in this photo the whole city center. If you imagine the same frame in winter, it will consist of 95 percent of depressing gray panels. Although with greens is still nothing so, tolerable. Maybe one of the locals would even agree to upload this photo to the social network with the caption “Favorite city” or something just as banal.

On the other hand, in human scales of perception of reality, everything does not look so sad. Only for some reason there are no people here.

Absolutely empty main square.

Around the empty cafes.

Empty parking lots.

In an icy mountain river, several human individuals are roasted on stones.

This bridge looks as if under it is not the Moraca River, which you can cross on foot, but one of the most important waterways on the entire Balkan Peninsula. Okay, I drive, it really looks cool. By the way, it is called “Millennium”. Well, like, the Millennium Bridge.

However, against the background of everything else, this may be a justified pathos.

As I understand it, Montenegrins are like a mountain variety of Serbs. I’m not sure how much they themselves share this idea, but it was really difficult for me to find any significant differences between them. In terms of religion, for example, all the churches I found here turned out to be Orthodox.

And this is nifiga not a trifle. You need to have an incredibly specific mindset in order to keep so firmly pre-medieval norms of Christianity, completely rejecting all the adjustments that the need to adapt to the requirements of the time made to this religion.

Roman square. The referral service said it was a very popular spot among the locals, but I only found a couple of dry fountains and a sleeping dog here.

I go further through the “popular” places.

Found a couple of live Montenegrins in a pub for a beer.

Some kind of flag of the Japanese Empire was drawn.

We fly on.

Novi Sad

And I was like, “Nichosi, is this really Serbia?”

Seriously, it looks like Croats were hanging out here, and then “decided” to leave, leaving the entire city to the Serbs to be torn apart.

Central Street. After the barely living capital of Montenegro, there is such a movement here.

We go further, looking into each arch.

The old town ends somewhere here.

We tried to make a cool city park, but the dead “tile” of dug logs and muddy water, in which the fish is barely visible, betrays the essence of this place.

And it all started so well.)

Farmers’ market. It has been experimentally found that the phrase “But we don’t have this in Russia” really helps to get a discount at 30%. I thought it was a myth, but no, any mention of Russia gives +50 to the location.

The Serbs have a strange corral to call their establishments by serial numbers. The name “Project 72”, in their opinion, sounds intriguing.

What’s next, conveyor, glutamine, co-edible?

Familiar landscapes. This is how the real face of the city looks like.

The embankment that everyone recommended I see. Not very impressive, to be honest, but I like to see how different the Danube is before it reaches the borders of Ukraine: from cozy Bavarian towns and the royal embankments of Linz, Vienna and Budapest to abandoned collective farms . As if Kafka metamorphosis. By the way, here, according to the original concept, the river was supposed to divide the settlements into Catholic Petrovaradin and Orthodox Novi Sad.

A student art space disguised as another industrial ship.

Memorial to Jews killed during World War II. In terms of style, something reminds my favorite long people Giacometti.

This embankment turned out to be unrealistically long, exactly 5 kilometers.

There are traces of Serbian reflection under the bridge. They have a serious problem, they pathologically perceive the problems of the past as more important than the problems they face right now.


In fact, another sleeping area of ​​Novi Sad.

The only reason people go to Petrovaradin is their fortress.

All in all, nothing extraordinary.

Although it looks good from the side of the river. I think once it was an impressive fortification.

New railway terminal in Novi Sad.

The deep dive machine in the Serbian context is a bit delayed. But after 10 minutes the train “Budpest-Belgrade” finally arrives, and a lot of people tumble into it, including me.


The central station looks like I’m in some provincial Russian town, not the capital of the former Yugoslavia (and modern Serbia).

However, further this impression is gradually smoothed out.

In general, some strange mix of classicism and functionalism dominates here. Interestingly, in spite of the annual summer heat, the idea of ​​centralized air conditioning has not come up here, and instead they massively hang individual conduits under each window.

Rate the level of reflection: banners are hung under the parliament building calling for recognition of the 1992 “retaliatory” war crimes. On the street 2017, damn it, it’s been 25 years already, and they care about it more than the astronomical level of corruption in the country where they live now.

Of all the people I met in this park of people without a dog, there was only one girl with a stroller. And given that the Serbs do not yet have a generally accepted habit of cleaning up shit for their favorites, I would not want the enemy to decide to lie down to rest there on the grass.

In my opinion, this is the most brutal capital of all that I have seen.

By some miracle I came across a cozy pedestrian oasis with a bunch of cafes along the entire length of the street.

But already 200 meters away again this brutalism in all fields. It seems that Novosibirsk has a strong competitor.

Some kind of meeting point. What surprised me was that the locals took pictures in large quantities against the background of this monument, they were not at all embarrassed by fences, a huge crane and building materials in the frame.

Between moldy concrete slabs, framed mountains of dirty air conditioners, on the plastic windows of the facade the inscription – “Cultural Center of Belgrade”. There it is.

The main pedestrian street of the country.

It seems to me that in some countries, by T-shirts at souvenir stands, you can immediately understand what kind of cockroaches are in the heads of the locals. Most of all, of course, I was impressed by one with a print of Putin in glasses and the caption “God is in heaven, and Russia is on earth.” The hand involuntarily reaches for the face.

I found myself a nice corner to sit and move away from this trash.

Nice little done. In the face of the scorching sun, this umbrella roof must really save.

Finally reached the Danube (again, years).

At the edge of the hill is the old Belgrade Fortress. I wanted to go inside right away, but suddenly I saw some cool photos on the stands, and went to them.

Uh, “Oil production in Tatarstan”? Are you kidding?

No, well, this is already a cool shot, of course, but … But what is the exhibition of the Russian Geographical Society doing here?

Okay, let’s move on, I hope at least there will be something about Serbia in the fortress itself.

An exhibition of military equipment inside, in front of the entrance to the most central, additionally protected part.

From the air, all this, of course, looks a little more spectacular.

The place where the mountain river Sava flows into the murky waters of the battered Danube.

I wonder what happened to the previous 380 concepts of this Tara? In any case, he’s done well, he doesn’t give up.

Queue for ice cream.

The first mosque discovered in this city.

This is how, on average, all parks in this city look like.

Old town smoker.) To clean everything here, though it would be nice.

Well, they called the hotel “Moscow”, so they would have repainted at least red, or something.

This is the first time I’ve seen a neon banking ad.

Finally I went to the Nikola Testa Museum. And he had good taste: he carried a huge bag made of natural crocodile skin, gold accessories.

I got there exactly at the moment when the free excursion in English began there, so all I took was a large coil a second before the discharge, from which half of those present flinched with fear.

I was still going to drive to see the new part of the city, but it is stretched out there for kilometers, so I was too lazy to go. But instead of this I flew around it in 20 minutes with a drone. Basically, this is one giant sleeping area.

In short, missed I a little.


I suddenly realized that I had never thought about what Sofia might look like. Well, you know, usually there are some ideas about the city, for example, I associate Barcelona with narrow streets and palm trees, Amsterdam with its canals, and so on. But I didn’t even have a guess about Sophia. It was interesting to find that the city is surrounded by mountains.

Bulgarian looks like some old Russian. “Would you like to drink a cup of aromatic coffee, sir?”

Look at both.

It is marked on the map not as a trickle, but as the Vladaya River. By the way, it is divided in two only so that after 20 meters it is epic to pass under the two arches of the Lvov bridge. Immediately behind it, it joins back into a single stream.

I am looking for the embassy of Kosovo, so that they tell me how to get to them. They chose the location that was needed, atmospheric.

There are also mountains of air conditioners on the facades.

Concrete chupa-chups.

Random confectionery.

Some kind of municipal building. Looks pretty.

The remains of the old city were found in the center. It is not entirely clear just why pieces of brick-tile walls were built on top of them. It looks as if wanted to build something here, but in the middle of the process they just beat it up and went home.

Independence Square. No, not from Yugoslavia, Bulgaria was not a part of it (although it was heavily dependent on it), but from the Turks, who terrorized all the Balkans for centuries.

Sometimes Sofia looks like some kind of Kiev sleeping area. Evaluate, for example, how someone insulated only their own square on the house in the center of the frame. Not in every country people put so exquisitely on the feelings of their neighbors!

But what is really good with here is the food.

Seriously, you can fly to Bulgaria to eat off.

Cool logo made.

Temple Alexander Nevsky, the coolest church in the city.

Big Brother is watching you (from his booth).

Instructions for pressing the traffic light button, lol.

National Theater. I just thought, but for some reason, next to similar structures, trees are cut out cleanly. And Bulgarians have trees in place and do not spoil the view. What’s the matter then?

Hot battles.

In general, the city center here looks somehow as if it is the center of a peripheral area.

Only more shops, that’s all.

They at least tried to do something.

Suddenly Ukrainian pysanka.

The main party street in Sofia. From the beginning to the park at the end, there are only bars and restaurants.

And just street food.

The mortgage house is a pawnshop. But “hell”, apparently, is not translated in any way. “Lombard” Hell “”.

Sophia at night, by the way, looks even nicer than daytime. Although I would add more lighting, not only on the main buildings though.


Came to town right at dawn.

I think there used to be some scary kiosks, but then they were standardized, replaced by nice wooden houses. Eh, they should sell gingerbread, not waste paper.

Macedonian, in general, is quite easy to understand for Russian speakers. Even if you don’t know the exact translation of a word, you still feel its meaning. For example, “no hernia” means something like “without difficulties.” In short, comes in absolutely no hernia.

There is only one river passing through the whole city, but there are so many bridges across it that I am really tired of counting them.

Moreover, most of them are very beautiful, decorated with great love for detail.

But most of the embankment looks so-so.

Central Square. The gigantic statue of Alexander the Great was washed down just a few years ago. What, by the way, simply pissed off the authorities of Greece, which the very name of the country “Macedonia” does not recognize, considering it an attempt to appropriate part of Greek history on the basis of the only fact that this country is located on the outskirts of the historical region of Macedonia.

For some reason, they fastened the country’s flag to the building closed for prolonged repairs. Like, it doesn’t look so scary with a flag.

Although sometimes everything looks somehow so sad that all that remains is to hang flags on the windows.

And sometimes nothing like that.

Birds live in the ceiling of an arch in an office center.

But what really catches your eye is the monuments.

A lot of them.

And they are everywhere.

Sometimes it seems that their is being stamped here on the conveyor.

By the way, Mother Teresa is from Skopje. And, of course, I took a picture of this plate on the monument dedicated to her.

Okay, this dear one, no complaints here.

But still, this massive obsession with sculptures impressed me a lot.

It was very hot, and after a few hours I started to glitch slightly, as if I got into some city from a dystopian movie, and like it’s some kind of Capitol, which keeps the rest of the country in fear, siphoning all resources from the regions, and here they are building something so monumental that it would create the image of a colossal city with unshakable power. I drive, of course, but there is certainly some truth in this.

And then suddenly a completely Turkish bazaar begins.

It looks pretty neat, but a bazaar is a bazaar: noise, some kind of chaotic movement, heaps of rubbish on the shelves.

Although if you move away from the main shopping streets, you could find something interesting.

And then went the cozy old residential quarters.

At the top of the hill was the Kale fortress, where I kept looking from below, licking my lips.

I think you can imagine how disappointed I was to see this.

Of the whole, there is only a wall and towers around the perimeter. Everything else is ruined.

These steps hinted to me that something marked on the map as “Museum of Modern Art” would not impress me.

“Brains are new boobs.” In fact, everything turned out to be more more sad, because the museum turned out to be quite alive for itself, only it was on this day that they had a change of expositions.

“Breathe. This is a bad day, not a bad life. ” Probably, those who walk past this inscription every day have fun.

Some gloomy shopping center where I went to stock up on nishtyak. I remember the local security guard, who when asked “Where is the supermarket here?” gave me a short tour.

The bus station is located one floor below the railway station. It’s pretty creepy to wait for your bus when there are multi-ton trains running across the ceiling, you know.


The first impression is a bazaar again.

Kebab stalls again.

But besides all this trash music, Ohrid has something fantastic.

This is Lake Ohrid.

Macedonia has no outlet to the sea, but it feels like this lake alone compensates for everything with interest.

One has only to walk to the coastal quarters, and the appearance of the city becomes completely different.

It would probably be great to come here by taxi, check into one of these hotels and not see the rest of the city at all.

There is not much room for beaches, so they are arranged in very small areas, not built up with houses. Sometimes right on the concrete.

The atmosphere, however, is just wonderful.

Sometimes the relief does not allow building a street, and then the problem of passage is solved by such a wonderful method.

Mini pier.

An ancient church overlooking Albania: the opposite bank is a different country.

I think it would be cool to ride a mountain bike here.

Twilight over Ohrid.

I returned to the market part hungry in search of a kebab, which I had so short-sightedly neglected a few hours ago.

But instead I found an amazing falafel. Yes, perhaps there is something in this city.


A kind of satellite city of Ohrid.

Everything that is interesting here is concentrated around this river.

In general, I came here only to leave for Albania. The fact is that Ohrid is located away from the highway, but Struga, on the contrary, is right on it, and therefore there are as many flights per day from here. In short, it all ended with the bus arriving an hour and a half later than the schedule. Balkans. & gt; _ & lt;


Suddenly nothing of the horror that I am used to hearing about one of the poorest countries in Europe. By the way, Albania was not part of Yugoslavia either, but it was strongly influenced by it.

In addition to being late for an hour and a half, the driver turned out to be a convinced seal, and crawled a miserable 200 km to Tirana for about 6.5 hours. It seems to me that hitchhiking would work out much faster. In general, having spent 8 hours on the road instead of 3, I found myself in a situation where literally in 20 minutes I had to go to the airport.

I take a goodbye photo of a local brand of gas stations that I already love, I find a taxi driver who agrees to $ 10 instead of the original $ 30, and leave with a feeling of complete bewilderment.

Strangest country visit ever. It looks like I’ll have to go to Albania again. However, this is where my route ends.