Skadarlija (Serbian Cyrillic: Скадарлија) is a vintage street, an urban neighborhood and former municipality of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It is located in the Belgrade municipality of Stari Grad (Old town) and generally considered the main bohemian quarter of Belgrade, styled as the Belgrade Montmartre.
Skadarlija is located less than 300 metres (330 yd) north-west of Terazije, central Belgrade. It begins right below the Republic Square and stretches along the short, winding Skadarska Street. One of the most famous streets in Belgrade, it is less than 400 metres (440 yd) long. It connects the Despot Stefan Boulevard with the Dušanova Street, near the Bajloni open green market and the Mira Trailović Square, where it extends into the neighborhood of Dorćol.
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 The 1854 town plan of Belgrade reveals that the Gypsy hovels had been replaced by brick buildings into which artisans, caterers, petty clerks and others moved. 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 (today Shkodër in Albania). Skadarska ulica, Serbian for “Skadar street”, is still the official name.
Skadarlija began to acquire its bohemian character in 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 were Tri šešira (“Three Hats”), Dva jelena (“Two Deer”), Zlatni bokal (“The Golden Chalice”), Bandist, East, Guild, Vuk Karadžić and The two Sergeants. The first three of these still survive today, accompanied by some new restaurants like Ima dana (“There will be days”), Skadarlija (demolished in 2006), Dva bela goluba (“Two White Doves”).
The end section of Skadarlija is known as the Skadarlija atrium. It is mostly occupied by the brewery that belonged to one of the most distinguished Belgrade families before World War II, the Czech-originating Bajloni family. It produced “Aleksandar” beer, made from thermal waters that spring out in the brewery’s backyard. The well is located 80 to 300 meters (250 to 1000 feet) under the surface. After 1945, the brewery became part of the “BIP” brewery, but was later closed. The spring water was bottled for drinking until the early 2000s. Under the brewery is a complex of lagums (subterranean galleries or catacombes), which were used as a storage rooms for the beer barrels. As of 2008, the entire inner complex is abandoned and slated for demolition.
Restaurants are proud of their lists of worldwide celebrities and epicurians who 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 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, and chess player Anatoly Karpov.