Its strategic location - on the banks of Danube and Sava rivers and on the route between the Western and Eastern World have made Belgrade a frequent target for foreign conquests. Historians estimate that the Serbian capital has been destroyed and/or captured forty times in its long history, which partially explains its lack of old architecture.
Belgrade is the supreme cultural and economic center of not only Serbia and Yugoslavia but also of few neighboring countries. (Macedonia and Republic of Serbs) With sanctions lifted only recently, Belgrade is bound to retake its role as the center of entire Balkan peninsula.
Belgrade is not in the same league with European elite cities such as Barcelona, Paris, Milan, Vienna, St. Petersburg etc. in terms of architecture. Yet, in my opinion at least, Belgrade does have a charm of its own and dynamic cultural activity which goes beyond its inferior appearance. This is not to say that Belgrade is ugly as vast majority of North American cities with their horrible suburbs followed by huge plazas and shopping malls. Perhaps Momo Kapor, a great Serbian author of short stories about Belgrade, summarized it best in his book 011 (011 is the area code for Belgrade)
"In all honesty, Belgrade does not
belong among the most beautiful European cities,
but neither does the author of this book belong amongst the most handsome men,
so it would be rather unacceptable for me to demand some other city for myself.
In any case, we'll let visitors of these pages arrive at their own opinions about Belgrade.