Friday, March 21, 2008

Looking west from Senjak

Look at all the chimneys in this photo, looking westward from a hill in the Senjak (SEN-yak) part of town. Though this photo looks down on Belgrade's hippodrome, several dilapidated factories and post-war high-rises, most of Senjak (behind me when I took this photo) is a wealthy neighborhood consisting of beautiful mansions. (Be patient...) The area got its name long ago when farmers used to keep their hay all around Belgrade, and fires were quite frequent. It was then made mandatory that hay had to be kept in one place, and so Senjak was chosen. (The Serbian word for hay is seno.) After WWII when the communists took over, Senjak shared the same fate as another nearby posh neighborhood, Dedinje. They declared almost all well-off residents as state enemies and forced them out of their mansions, and they and the military elite moved in.... Often drastic measures were used to remove the upper class, and many fled the country for their lives, while many unfortunate ones were taken into a nearby forest and shot. Their bodies lay for decades in unmarked graves until they were discovered by construction workers clearing trees for a new soccer field. Nowadays, many ambassadors' residences and several international schools are located in Senjak.


Petrea said...

You live in a sad and beautiful place. I imagine it's quite an adventure learning the history of it.

elayne said...

As a visitor to Belgrade several times since 1978 I am thrilled to see the scenes from that grand,battle scarred city.

you are priming my 'eye' for the next visit.
thank you