104 | / ’ tours“Rise and Fall of aNation”and“Architecture Tour”. The rst tour focuses on the history of Yugoslavia, while the second is focused precisely on the buildings of New Belgrade, symbols of brutalist and modernist architecture, andperfect examplesof thecommunist construction style. “Guests aremostly fromWesternEurope, themajority fromtheNetherlands, Germany, England and Scandinavia.We also cooperate with cruise ships that dock in Belgrade, and they mostly have guests from America, AustraliaandtheCommonwealth.Thesearelargelypeople agedbetween20 and30whowant toseesomethingnew, butalsoarchitectswho want to see examples of brutalism in real life. Theconcretegiants fascinatetourists fromthe West. Our tour includes blocks 61, 62 and 63, but every block functions according to the same principle,”notes Vojin. We also encounter the Sava Centre, one of the tour’s main points. It was a real futuristic structure at the time it was built, an exampleofhowtheYugoslavsof 1977 imagined the future.What is interesting is that it is inexactly the same condition as it was the day it wascompleted,whichtouristsandvisitors nd spellbinding–a true, authentic timemachine to theYugoslavia of the 1970s. Of course, the tour would not be complete without the SIV building, knowntodayas thePalaceof Serbia. It was one of the rst buildings to be erected on the territory of New Belgrade and in the political heart of Yugoslavia. Like everything else on this tour, SIV also carries within it the clear symbolismof adesire for theunityofYugoslavia.What strikes tourists themost is the fact thatYugoslaviaactuallywasn’tadungeon. “People come with the expectation that they will hear stories of su ering in Yugoslavia, and few of them know that Yugoslavia wasn’tatypical communistcountry,but rather auniqueexampleof thecombinationof communismandWesternvalues.Theyaresurprised by stories of how we were able to leave the country, that we lived well, that we were not oppressed,” says Vojin as we park in front of the Hotel Yugoslavia which is, as he says, the perfect symbol of Yugoslavia itself. “Theoriginal idea for this hotel emerged in 1947. The story goes that, during one of his visits to Belgrade, Haile Selassie asked Tito:“Why do you accommodateme in the city centre every time I visit Belgrade, where it is noisy, overcrowded and polluted? You have the beautiful Danube, why not build a hotel thereforyourguests,whowill enjoythepeace and nature?”Tito promised him that, already by the next visit, he would be able to lounge in a hotel in that place. And that’s how it was. A grand, luxurious hotel was built and hosted, among others, Queen Elizabeth II, SaddamHussein,RichardNixon, JimmyCarter, Fidel Castro, CheGuevara, ElizabethTaylor, Richard Burton, AlfredHitchcock...TheHotelYugoslavia also followed the rise and the fall of the country. In the 1980s, after Tito’s death, the hotel slowly lost its rich clientele, and then any kind of clientele. Today it has gone from a luxury ve-star hotel to an average threestar hotel,”notes Vojin. The rise and fall of a nation, truly symbolic in a tour which, over the course of three hours, showsNewBelgrade fromacompletelydi erentperspective, but isalsoagreatway to forma picture of the strength, but also the fragility, of the concrete structures that welcome you as you land in our city. Snaga i krhkost betonskih građevina koje vas pozdravljaju pri sletanju u Beograd The strength, but also the fragility, of the concrete structures that welcome you as you land in our city spoja komunizma i zapadnih vrednosti. Čude se pričama o tome da smo mogli da napustimo zemlju, da smo živeli dobro, da nismo bili ugnjetavani – kaže Vojin dok se parkiramo ispred hotela Jugoslavija, kako kaže, savršenog simbola same Jugoslavije. – Ideja o ovom hotelu nastala je 1947. Priča kaže da je Hajle Selasije prilikom jednog svog boravka u Beogradu pitao Tita: „Zašto me svaki put kada posetimBeograd smeštaš u centar grada, gde je bučno, prenaseljeno i zagađeno? Imaš predivan Dunav, zašto tu ne podigneš hotel za svoje goste, koji bi uživali u miru i prirodi?“. Tito mu je obećao da će već pri sledećoj poseti moći da se baškari u hotelu baš na tom mestu. Tako je i bilo. Napravljen je grandiozan, luksuzan hotel, u kom su, između ostalih, boravili kraljica Elizabeta, Sadam Husein, Ričard Nikson, Džimi Karter, Fidel Kastro, Če Gevara, Elizabet Tejlor, Ričard Barton, Alfred Hičkok... Hotel Jugoslavija pratio je i uspon i pad države. Osamdesetih, nakon Titove smrti, hotel je polako gubio bogatu klijentelu, a potom bilo kakvu klijentelu. Danas je od luksuznog hotela sa pet zvezdica došao do prosečnog hotela sa tri – primećuje Vojin. Uspon i pad jedne nacije zaista simboličan u turi koja za tri sata pokazuje Novi Beograd iz potpuno drugog ugla i sjajan način da steknete sliku o snazi, ali i krhkosti betonskih građevina koje vas pozdravljaju pri sletanju u naš grad. SAVA CENTRE Petar Dimnitrijević