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BELGRADE CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES

A safe haven for young lovers and court secrets

When you get to experience history in your head once, nothing is the same after. Maybe after reading article, you will have a different perspective on the traffic light near “London”, the Kneza Miloša and Nemanjina intersection, and when you head to Topčider, you might think about how the development of our capital was predicted more than a hundred years ago.

When Knez Miloš Obrenović decided to leave the centre of the city and move his residence to Topčider, that is when the Topčider road was made, in charge of which were construction engineers Franz Janke and Nikola Ivković, better known as Hadži – Neimar among our people. Diplomatic games, bustle, rush, walks, people, magnificence, it is all there in Kneza Miloša Street which became the first Belgrade corso after the arrival of Queen Natalia from Odessa. In a short time, Queen Natalia learned that young girls were walking down this street and trying to catch the looks of young soldiers attending the Military Academy, and she decided that this street will become her main walking destination and inspiration. Queen Natalia was a matchmaker and the main cause of the first love on the Belgrade corso. Namely, while walking down Kneza Miloša, at the gates she saw a girl named Stevka,
a poor girl from Smederevo, who she immediately matched with her court tailor, Jova Gagič from Valjevo. They fell in love at first sight and married quickly, and after this event, every girl could hope that she will find her soul mate right at the Belgrade corso.

As this part of the city evolved, Kneza Miloša Street itself got increasingly fancier, so it is no surprise that the wealthiest merchants and generals decided to build their homes in this street. From an economic point of view, this street has been, and will continue to be, the lifeline of our capital. The street where the first electric light bulb shone in 1880, the street through which the first electric tram passed in 1894, the street that changed the history of our people, the street that was repeatedly destroyed, the street where many influential personalities lived, the street where the most important state institutions are located, a street that combines a traditional and modern worldview – this is all Kneza Miloša Street.

The next time you stand at a traffic light at “London” nervously waiting for light to turn green, stop for a second and remember that it was at this point that the first traffic light in Belgrade appeared and that centuries have gone through this street since that day to date.