Skadarlija is a historic street, in an urban neighborhood in the downtown area of Belgrade. It is considered the main bohemian quarter of Belgrade, and is often referred to as ‘the Montmartre of Belgrade’. The history of Skadarlija began in the 1830s with the settlement of Gypsies in the abandoned trenches in front of the ramparts. The 1854 town plan of Belgrade reveals that the Gypsy hovels had been replaced by brick buildings into which artisans, caterers, petty clerks and others had moved into. The whole locality was referred to as the Gypsy Quarter until 1872, when the street was named after the town of Skadar, which was the capital of the Serbian medieval state.
Skadarlija began to acquire its bohemian character over the last few decades of the 19th century, and particularly after 1901,when the well-known Dardaneli Inn was demolished and its guests, prominent writers and actors, moved to the Skadarlija inns or kafanas. The best-known of these kafanas were Tri šešira (“Three Hats”), Dva jelena (“Two Deer”), Zlatni bokal (“The Golden Chalice”), Bandist, East, Guild, Vuk Karadžić & The Two Sergeants. The first three of these still survive today, joined by some new restaurants…
The well-known house of Đura Jakšić, a Serbian writer & painter who lived and died in Skadarlija, has been turned into a meeting place for the poets who participate in the events of Skadarlija.
Well-known but mostly poor poets & writers from all over Yugoslavia became regular visitors to Skadarlija in the early 20th century, The most prominent residents and visitors of Skadarlija’s Bohemian history include: Đura Jakšić, Dobrica Milutinović, Tin Ujević, Gustav Krklec, Stevan Sremac, Antun Gustav Matoš, Zuko Džumhur & Momo Kapor.
The restaurants are proud of their guest lists of worldwide celebrities who have visited them over the decades. Even Alfred Hitchcock ended his diet in Skadarlija . Often, they post photographs of their visits on the walls. For example, over the years, Tri šešira has welcomed numerous famous guests such as guitarist Jimi Hendrix, politicians George H.W. Bush, Josip Broz Tito, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Sandro Pertini, chess player Anatoly Karpov & many others.
Today Skadarlija is a short & curved street & a remarkable Belgrade tourist attraction. It includes well-known restaurants, hotels, art galleries, antique and souvenir shops & the Sebilj fountain. Groups playing Serbian brass or traditional urban music & actors dressed in traditional Serb costumes perform up & down the street. Restaurants offer the national Serbian cuisine, most notably roštilj (grilled meat) with pivo (beer).