turies, then willow groves, and the reflections of the wings of dragonflies dancing in their shade. Andonone occasion, beside the banks of the Ibar, I saw a then alreadyveryoldVladislavMaržik,Kraljevo’sfirst educatedpainter,whowas of Czech origin and was primarily known for his watercolours depicting elements of the city. He used the palmof his hand to collect from the shallows thewater heneeded for the delicate painting on which he was working...Andwhenhe’ddonepainting, herinsedhisbrushes intheriver, and the Ibar carried away the excess paint - I imaginedthatsomewherefar away, downstream, anentire exhibition was travelling, making a guest appearance in the silent stretches of the West Morava, then the Great Morava, then the Danube, only to cross the Black Sea and be visible in all parts of the world, or at least in the largest port cities and renowned summer resorts. The Ibar has also carried away whoknowshowmanyballs, because generationsofboyshaveplayedfootball beside it.Theplayingfieldwas locatedonthecitybeach,withthepoplar trees servingasflagpoles sporting thousandsof leaf-shapedflags,while school bags were the goalposts, and it was necessary to imagine how they extend upwards to form the gates of the goals. They didn’t have everything– therewere some things thathadtobe imagined. Ithappened that a ball that was kicked too hard would end up in the river, and that was just the beginning its journey - who knows whom we passed it on to, perhaps someone on the other side of the world. It was there in the Ibar, not far fromKraljevo’smainsquare, thatwe is packed, there with her parents is Snežana,myfirst love, though that’s a fact shenever discovered... Behind us stand buildings and streets, the Monument toSerbiansoldiers is still in its spot on the main square – it would be removed sometime later, only tobe returned, but that’s anentire history in its own right... Somewhere amongst it all is my favourite pastry shop, Pelivan, and I hope that they’ll still have some of their unique pretzels on offer when we makeourwayhomefromthebeach... The athletics stadium is under construction... Slightly furtherdown, towardsKvantašmarket, thebig topof an international circus isbeingerected, and therewill alsobe elephants... From here you can see the bridge, with houses and fields on the other bank…How can all of this fit in a single point?! All sorts of nonsense crosses adults’ minds... Viewedfromcloserproximity, for example, fromthe lastdeskof thegeographyclassroominprimaryschool, is a map of Serbia, and Kraljevo is a city on the banks of the river Ibar. The teacher, whom we called Zuca, pointswith a long rod, explaining to us that thing known as a river basin. And after school we all run down to the riverbank, where we stand beside the tumultuouswater and stare into it, attempting to recognise its tributaries... We already know that the Ibar basincarries the reflections ofmedievalmonasteries, with thenames of the tributariesmaking it clearwhich: Žičkariver, Studenica,Gradačkariver etc. Justhowmanyproto-craftsmen, master masons and mural painters washed their faces in the river upstream from here over the centuries... Naturally, that is all reflected in the Ibar, and then that reflection is carried by the water to Kraljevo – and onwards to the medieval fortress of Maglič, Serbia’s largest preservedhilltopfortification,whichwas built to protect the trade route that has passed through this gorge since time immemorial... Not tomention howthe Ibar,with its course, alsocollects the contours ofmountains, the shadows of forests dating back cenKraljevo » Kraljevo | 81 learned to swim, while fantasising that we would one day swim in the seas. Even in some ocean. The Ibar also had its own “overland” road.There, onthebank, stood the building of theVodomer [Water Meter],whichwas sonamedbecause ametal pillar stoodbeside it displayingnumbers that showed theheight of the water level.The puzzling roar of some pump could be heard emanating from the Vodomer building, just what was that machine?!? I later discovered that water was drawn fromthere and directed through an underground pipe almost two kilometres to the ‘Ložionica’ [boiler house/furnace], i.e., to the railway station...Thus, thewater of the Ibar powered locomotives, which then – perspiring – tooted over the rails, withthesteamalong the tracks turning back intowater, droplets, so the Ibar created dew far from its basin, on the ironflanks of the gigantic engines, on the sootybrows and chests of the train drivers, on the grass beside the railway, and even on bushes further away. And then there’s the song about the Ibar,which is famous andknown by everyone, andwhich travelled by car, bus, truck…backthenfewpeople had a radio in their “road vehicle”, so drivers andpassengerswould sometimes sing during the drive, pausing for respite at taverns, and even bringing it tothe restaurants andhotels of the capital, and not so rarely spreading it around thewholeworld. The Ibar’swaters can rise sharply, but also quickly become shallow, withsandbanks appearing instantly, and riverbanks that were there until yesterday suddenly gone, but it has also determined the first loves of many – alongside him they were conceived – and has thus determined the city, which I know for certain isn’t a single point... That’s why sometimes, like now, I imagine arguing withUncle Vidan, my dad’s pilot friend: “What kindof point!? It just seemed like that to you because you were high up, in a plane, but as soon as you descend to the airport and come to Kraljevo, you’ll already see everything that’s there!” Ibar svojimtokom prikuplja i obrise planina i senke stoletnih šuma / The Ibar, with its course, collects the contours of mountains and the shadows of forests dating back centuries