As you would expect from the country’s largest city and capital, Belgrade is home to the finest collection of museums in Serbia. Covering everything from science to warfare and the rest, everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Serbia is waiting to be discovered in these houses of culture.
Belgrade’s most popular museum is the Museum of Yugoslavia, located in the affluent suburb of Dedinje just outside the city centre. Stretched across three buildings, the story of Yugoslavia is told with equal amounts of respect, love and realism. Josip Broz Tito is buried in the House of Flowers, in a mausoleum that also houses many of the batons that made their way into his hands at the end of the Relay of Youth. There are plenty of interesting exhibitions too, making a visit to the Museum of Yugoslavia an essential part of any Belgrade trip.
Serbia’s most important son of the modern age, Nikola Tesla is the man largely credited with ‘inventing the 20th century’. This is in reference to the incredible inventions that were born out of the mustachioed man’s mind, and his life is honoured in this popular museum. Tesla’s unique story is told through video and artefacts from his life, and it is here that the great man’s ashes are found.
You need to go all the way out to Nikola Tesla Airport to check it out, but the trip to Surčin is well worth the effort. Opened in 1957, the Museum of Aviation takes the prize for Belgrade’s most interesting museum building by far, and what lies inside is just as fascinating. The museum moved to this futuristic location in 1989, and hidden within are hundreds of Serbian Air Force planes and more. The jewel in its crown is arguably the two NATO aircraft shot down during the aggression in 1999.
Serbia’s history is long, tumultuous and complex, and the Historical Museum of the nation does its best to clean up some of the worryingly murky waters. It succeeds (as best it can) too, and has thus gained a reputation for being one of Belgrade’s most respectable museums. It is located opposite Nikola Pašić Square, and everything from the medieval kingdom to the Yugoslav years can be explored inside.
The old National Bank building is impressive enough, a magnificent piece of architecture in the centre of town, with an exterior surpassed only by the luxurious interior. The National Bank Museum is located on the top floor, where the ups and downs of all things monetary in Serbia are explored. You can even get your face printed onto a replica 5 billion dinar note, although the note is worth as much now as it was back in 1993.
Located in lower Dorćol, the Museum of Science and Technology is a fascinating visit whether or not you are interested in the subject. Spread over a couple of floors, the museum is full of interactive exhibitions that handily come with English text to explain the finer points. The room of illusions is immensely fascinating, although best to avoid if you’ve got a weak stomach. Fine fun for all the family.
Belgrade’s Military Museum is located in Kalemegdan, although you’ll likely struggle to find it. For reference, it is the one with all the tanks outside. Established back in 1878, the museum is home to more than 3000 artefacts covering violence from the Roman times to the modern day, including an in-depth look at the NATO aggression of 1999.
We’re a little bit reticent to put this one on the list, but the re-opening of the National Museum’s main building after a decade and a half is too big a thing to ignore. The Republic Square museum has been closed since long before Serbia and Montenegro decided to go their separate ways, and news of its opening has been met with equal parts excitement and cynicism. The museum is home to more than 30 collections, which will finally be available to the public this summer.
One of the oldest museums in the entire region, Belgrade’s Ethnographic Museum is another housed in a remarkable building that is just as interesting as the artefacts inside. The museum passed through a number of locations before settling in its current spot in 1951, and its collection of permanent and temporary exhibitions detailing the lives of Serbs over the centuries is well worth a look.
It might be the hardest museum in Belgrade to find, but the city’s Roma Museum is well worth the effort. The first museum dedicated to Roma culture in the capital, Serbia’s fringe community finally gets the respect it deserves in this small apartment space. The Roma are still mistreated all over the continent, and their centuries-long story must be understood in order for any societal progress to be made.