Phil Gyford


Friday 23 April 2004

PreviousIndexNext Belgrade and Novi Sad

I’ve just spent a few days in Serbia, mostly in Belgrade, with a night in Novi Sad, an hour or so’s drive north. Belgrade was busy, with a lot of traffic (split between cranky old cars and shiny new models) and bad drivers, but there seemed to be much less litter than London. Late on Saturday evening, we were wandering around the city’s main pedestrianised shopping street and the old castle that is now a lovely wooded park, marvelling at how relaxing and friendly the atmosphere was. A British city centre at 11pm on a Saturday night is only a fun place to be if you’re one of the pissed teens or twentysomethings dropping kebab down your front, whereas Belgrade was far more civilised.

I guess the time has passed when one marvels at the multinational branding dotted around Eastern Europe, and what surprised me most was the number of familiar smaller chains: Mango, Replay and Miss Sixty clothing and several branches of Office shoes. In fact both Belgrade and the smaller, calmer Novi Sad appear to be approaching their own form of the Shoe Event Horizon,1 with as many sports shoe shops as a UK high street has mobile phone stores. Hundreds of pairs of Puma, Skechers, etc. on display, but very few people doing more than looking in shop windows.

I took quite a few photos but only a couple seemed worth putting online.

  1. It seems I’m not the first to make this comparison about the region. What is it about shoe stores and the former Yugoslavia?

yeah i live in belgrade (moved there from london nearly 2 years ago). far too many shoe shops. especially branches of "office". everyone there seems to have some kind of shoe fetish though. i hate the fact that mango and miss sixty opened up, but not the cheaper clothes stores (h&m or something of that price range). they are stupidly expensive, especially for the average salary in the region.

Posted by duncan on 23 April 2004, 3:50 pm | Link

i was wanting to travel from vienna to novi sad.(by cheapest means and also the safest)
could you mind sending me info if u could supply one..
yr response would be appreciated.

Posted by sara on 3 July 2004, 4:08 pm | Link

I have been to both cities (come from Denmark). Novi Sad for Sommer University 2003 and Belgrade three times visiting friends. First time in BG I of course bought a pair of trainers (Perry Ellis). I also bought shoes last autumn in Sarajevo, which also has many but small shoe shops, not exclusive though. For some reason shoes is the thing, when you go to this region.

Posted by Mikkel on 25 July 2005, 5:39 pm | Link

hey, I am from Belgrade, and this city is everithing but not good.. all that shops... oh my God there is nothing in them.. zara opened in NS and it's so bad that I don't have a word to say.. I am going to see how is going to be shop in Belgrade but I don't think it's going to be so much better.. replay an d miss 60? it's ok, but in london there are so much better things.. we don't have nothing wath is on comercials.. escada opened a few months ago, but only one shop is good: baby dior and mini escada for babies.. kiss

Posted by me on 4 February 2006, 8:53 pm | Link

Jeasus! Whoever wrote that previous post ...
Are you serious for Dior and Escada and etc?? If you have that kind of money (to buy in Dior and boutiques like that) just go to Milano or Paris, why would you bother yourself in Belgrade??

And I think - there are much more interesting things to see in Belgrade and Novi Sad than shops...

Posted by juni on 6 February 2006, 1:43 pm | Link

I live in Belgrade.
WE are not guilty because so many years of isolation and comunism.So, when Zara and Mango opened we were delighted because we had an impression we are part of the world!!!!!!Even their clothes are without quality, we are still buying there.Just a little understanding for us please.We were too long far from civilisation

Posted by Jelena on 24 March 2007, 3:17 pm | Link

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