jugo-2Sometimes I wonder if it’s possible to be nostalgic about something you never experienced. For instance, one look at my record collection shows I only like music made before I was even born. The fact that my record collection is 100% vinyl supports my believe that I don’t really belong in this age in which Apples are meant for listening to music rather than things that you pick from a tree and eat.

yugo-1Maybe that’s why I feel so much at home in Belgrade; there’s these moments and places you really don’t know anymore which year or era you are in. My dreams as a kid of travelling back in time with a time-machine finally came true! Enter any kafana and you step back in time at least 30 years. From the interior to the waiters and from the menu to the prices, everything seems to have stopped changing after 1980, not coincidentally the year president Tito of Yugoslavia died.  You sit on the same chair people in 1975 sat, using the same glass to drink your rakia from and ordering the same kind of ćevapčići.

And being a vinyl-guy, I really enjoy it. Strangely enough it makes me feel like I’m in Yugoslavia, a country I never visited and which doesn’t exist anymore.  If I leave a kafana after diner and drinks I often try to pretend I’m still in Yugoslavia. Fortunately, the streets of Belgrade help me a bit. The old gentlemen in their 1970’s suits.  The little Yugo-cars noising by leaving a cloud of black smoke.  And maybe most importantly: the signs of Yugo-companies. I pretend I can book my holiday at Yugotours, my electricity is supplied by JUGOELEKTRO and I can buy some very fashionable clothes at YugoExport.

But not for long…………

yugo-3Slowly but surely this time-machine is being deconstructed. Because the state, companies and individuals try to get rid of everything that’s connected to Yugoslavia. Maybe the saddest example is the Museum of Yugoslav History which has 200.000 artifacts, but receives so little support they can’t display them. Meanwhile Belgrade is destroying its own history and something that makes Belgrade so unique, interesting and attractive for visitors: Being the capital of a country that doesn’t exist! Maybe Belgrade doesn’t have any museum worth visiting, but it is a museum in itself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo please druže Beograd, stop destroying yourself by wiping away the past. Give  everything that carries the name ‘Yugo’  a protected status. Turn the Beko clothing store in Knez Mihailova  into a museum of Yugo-fashion, re-open the revolving restaurant on top of the Genex-tower and make it a viewing point for tourists, open the former government-building SIV for visitors every day and allow tours through Hotel Yugoslavia. Preserve and embrace your uniqueness instead of becoming just another (Eastern) European city! Just for me, please? And for all these thousands of people I show around Belgrade by bike and who want to hear your story!

You may also like

Leave a comment