Общество Развития Аналитической Психологии

Belgrade: Limes and the City. Hermeneutics of the Belgrade’s Soul

Belgrade: Limes and the City. Hermeneutics of the Belgrade’s Soul

Marijana Popovic, M.A. &Jelena Sladojevic Matic, Ph.D.

Jungian Analysts, Individual Members of the IAAP

Belgrade, SERBIA

Upon hearing the title of the Conference «Borderlands, historical and cultural», we were immediately gripped by it. Borderland is usualy defined as «district near a border» or «an area of overlap between two things» and we were both of oppinion borderland could be easily used as the second name or a nick name of our native, home town Belgrade, capital and the largest city of Serbia. Belgrade’s geographical and historical position predestined its borderline or liminal fate and determined its Soul-making, since it is a city full of contradictions, difficulties, positive and negative surprises and peculiar ways of being and surviving. Both of us are very well aware that to know Belgrade in all its complexity, to come close to its richly textured, historically multilayered aspects of its Soul would require a long life spent in detailed observation and investigation. The focus of our interest is limited to what is liminal in Belgrade’s Soul and identity and how this liminality has been created through history.

As a term of discourse, liminality1 comes to analytical psychology by way of anthropology, especialy, by way of Van Gennep’s and Turner’s research on rites de passage (Van Gennep 1960; Turner, 1969, 1974). It appeared in Arnold van Gennep’s famous work Rites of Passage (1909) where he has described rites of primitive initiation ceremonies. Each and every initiation goes through three stages: 1. separation, 2. liminality or transition and 3. incorporation or aggregation. They usually describe the manner in which a person is separated from one status in the society (separation), placed in an intermediate state of liminality «betwixt and between», and finally returned, after initiation, into the social structure in a newly achieved role status (incorporation). Liminality is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual’s liminal stage, participants «stand at the threshold» between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.

During liminal periods of all kinds, according to anthropologist Victor Turner, social hierarchies may be reversed or temporarily dissolved,

continuity of tradition may become uncertain, and future outcomes once taken for granted may be thrown into doubt. The dissolution of order during liminality creates a fluid, malleable situation that is imaged as a “place that is not a place and a time that is not a time” (Turner, 1974). Being in liminality is like being in a tunnel between the entrance and the exit, says Turner. In such a liminal situation, “the initiands live outside their normal environment and are brought to question their self and the existing social order through a series of rituals that often involve acts of pain: the initiands come to feel nameless, spatio-temporally dislocated and socially unstructured. In those states of mind the initiand progresses from the normal space-time world across a threshold (limen) into a realm of experience normally repressed and unapproachable to everyday consciousness. The neophyte then returns to normalcy and temporality with the experience obtained through access to this atemporalrealm. It is not hard to infer that liminal experiences are those that host powerful archetypal energies.

Turner also suggested “a liminal state may become ‘fixed’, referring to a situation in which the suspended character of social life takes on a more permanent character.” Liminal state is then, not so much constituted by boundaries as it is pure being on the boundary itself.

But let as speak of liminality of Belgrade and how this affects its Soul. Belgrade (which, if translated on English, means «the White

City») boasts several millenia long and very tumultuous history. The first human settlements on Belgrade soil developed as far back as nearly 7000 years ago which makes the city among the oldest in Europe. The oldest Belgrade we know of, a settlement that did not yet bear this name and to us remains nameless begins with the one of the largest prehistoric cultures of Europe — «the Vinca culture», a Neolithic archeological culture that prospered in the 6th millennium BC in Southeastern Europe. The area was held by Thraco-Dacian tribes afterwards, then Celts who gave the name Singidun in 279. BC. The first part of the word ‘Singi’ means «round» and ‘dun(um)’ means «enclosure, fortress» or «town». Another possibility is that it is a composite name the first part of which (Sin-gi) means «Old prayer» («seangui» in Gaelic), implying that this was originally site of Celtic religious significance, in addition to becoming a fortress (dun).

The Romans conquered Singidun during the reign of Octavian Augustus somewhere between 29 BC and 6 AD and it has been under their rule for full four centuries. Singidun was romanized to Singidunum.The Romans fortified the city, making it one of the largest and most important strongholds on the limes (border) which role was to protect the civilized Roman world from barbarian intrusions. The Roman lime was utilized by Latin writers to denote a marked or fortified imperial frontier.This is probably the oldest known historical fact which hints to future borderland or liminal

character of the city. Singidunum soon become one of the most important Roman crossroads to their provinces of Moesia, Dacia, Pannonia and Dalmatia.

Crossroad is locus where roads and paths converge and diverge, where routes multiply and intersect. Belgrade or White City-on-limes is an urban metaphor for coincidentia oppositorum. Singidunum/Belgrade since Roman times starts to symbolize and represent a means for unification and integration (which is indicated in its Celtic name: singi – «round» and dunum – «enclosure, fortress» or «town», both of which represents well known symbols of the Self). However, being at the border that limits one area from some other and seen as crossroad where roads separates, Belgrade symbolize also a parting of the ways and departures; shall we say, it stands for a separation, spliting, abandonment, fragmentation, disintegration or disunity. Belgrade personifies our psychological junctions, meeting points, crossroads, as well boundaries and confines. White City-on-limes indicates our psychological borders and frontiers and marks the place where, in our soul, the alien and the foreign touch the familiar and common. At last, our city is the traveler who wanders from here to yonder, between known and unknown.

In a centuries to come liminal character of the city would be confirmed on many occasions. For example, after the division of the Roman Empire into the Western and Eastern half in 395 AD,

Singidunum once again became a border town, now a threshold within Christianity (i.e. between two Christian Empires). This new position of the town determined its later fate, for it became not only a linking point of various cultural influences, but also a demarcation line and constant battle ground in wars to come between various civilizations, religions, nations or ideologies. The disintegration of the Roman Empire was followed by invasion of barbarian tribes: Eastern Goths, Sarmatians, Avars, Slavs and others. Because of its advanced position at the border – limes — Belgrade suffered frequent attacks and destructions. The attacks coming from the north, across Pannonia, the Danube and Sava, were so hard that even Singidunum, an important military stronghold, could not resist them. Attila, “The Scourge of God”, as he was called, besieged Singidunum and completely destroyed it in 441 AD. Singidunum lost all of its Roman inhabitants then. After the fall of the Huns, the town became a part of the Byzantine Empire once again in 454 AD, but soon was conquered by the Sarmatians, and changing hands several times it stayed mostly in Byzantine Empire. However, at the end of the VI century, while the Byzantines were occupied with wars in Africa and Asia, after two sieges the Avars and Slavs conquered the town. Once again the city was exposed to complete change of identity. The name Singidunum disappeared after this barbarian invasion and destruction of the town and it has never appeared again in the whole history afterwards. Around 630 the Serbian (the south-Slav tribe) settlerscome to this

area. After this, there are no records about this town for more than two and the half centuries. The Avars and Slavs did not care about the town, because it had lost its status of a border stronghold. It was then within a wider region of the Balkan Peninsula which has been already conquered by the Slavs.

The town was mentioned again not until the IX century, under the Slavic name BEOGRAD(“White City”) — probably not only because of the city walls made of white limestone but due to the famous Kosava northern wind, wind from north since for the Slavonic tribes Belgrade was on the north, the outmost reaches of the populated world, therefore a boundary. Subsequent to the first mentioning of Belgrade as a Slavic town, various armies and conquerors controlled it by turns. The Franks were the first to reach Belgrade and destroy the Avars under the command of Charles the Great. Bulgarians replaced Frank’s rule and they gave place to Hungarians. By the end of the X century, Belgrade has already changed masters for a countless number of times. Already in 1018, it once again became a border stronghold of the Byzantine Empire. During the XI and XII centuries, the rival forces of Hungary, Byzantine Empire and Bulgaria fought for it.

During that period, the town was a transit point of numerous Crusades to the East, which left their destructive mark on it. After the Crusades of 1096and 1147, Belgrade was again in ruins. The Serbian rule over

Belgrade began in XIII century; it was a period of intensive settling of Serbian population and increasing influence of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Serbian King Dragutin’s court was in Belgrade. Yet, Serbian rule didn’t last long, in beginning of XIV century Belgrade was captured and totally destroyed by the Hungarians. Demolished and abandoned town became a border foothold of Hungarian resistance to expansion of the Serbian state from the south. In that condition Belgrade enters the XV century, when the Ottoman Turks, a new conquering force, appeared on the historical stage of Europe.

In strong desire to get as prepared as possible to resist Turkish invasion and to have a powerful stronghold on the Sava and Danube, the Hungarians were forced to hand over Belgrade to Serbian Despot Stefan Lazarevic. His rule was the time of a real prosperity of this town that became the most important economic, cultural and religious center in this part of the Europe. However, the Despot’s successor on the thronewas forced to surrender the town to the Hungarians. During the hundred years of Hungarian rule the whole population structure was changed as well as shape of the very town. The town abruptly became stagnant, while the expelled Serbian population lived in the suburbs and was not allowed access to the town itself.

However, the rising military Ottoman Empire, The Turks, knew that Belgrade was the greatest obstacle in their campaigns towards Central Europe. In the year 1440 the Belgrade fortress was under siege by the

Turkish army with over 100,000 soldiers, led by Sultan Murat II. But almost for a century Belgrade and its Serbian and Hungarian citizens have resisted Turkish attacks. Finally, under the command of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, on August 28, 1521, the Turks managed to conquer Belgrade — the rampart of Christianity and the key defense of whole Hungary. The town was demolished and burnt down and the way to Western Europe open. “The bastion of Christianity” as Europe called Belgrade these days, was defeated, whole of its Serbian population went into slavery and most of them were sold on market places of Istanbul. Ottoman Empire reigned for five centuries and by moving the border to the north, the strategic position of Belgrade also changed, and in the next 150 years, it was relatively peaceful town with a more significant commercial and communication function. Crafts and trade prospered more and more in newly reconstructed town of oriental look. It was the meeting point and the crossroads of merchants from Dubrovnik, Venice, Greece and Austria, as well as craftsmen: the Turks, Armenians, Jews, Gypsies and Serbs developing into the well-known trade routes connecting the East with Europe. Turks proved to be the most inventive when it came to giving nicknames to Belgrade. Belgrade was perceived as “Sultan’s girl”, “Stone foundation”, “House of wars for faith”, “Heavenly settlement” and “Gate of wars”. Kalemegdan, famous Belgrade fortress with the exceptionally magnificent view, which overlooks the confluence of the river Sava into the Danube, is named “?a?ir-bajir” or “hill for

contemplation”. Having in mind the turbulent history of the town, maybe the most fitting nickname will be “hill for contemplation above the gate of wars”. Quite a liminal image! Just imagine yourself contemplating while a war is waging in front of you, or trying to fight while meditating. Hard to imagine doing it simultaneously yet, aren’t we doing this from time to time in analysis when confronted with such contradictory states of mind.

After some years of relatively peaceful development, the town again became a place of war conflicts. “An eye for an eye” way of negotiating between warring military powers for once again took a heavy toll. After the Turkish defeat under the walls of Vienna in September 1688, the Austrians conquered Belgrade, completely destroying its Oriental looks. Two years later, the Turks regained control over it, but these conflicts left Belgrade destroyed and its population killed, persecuted and robbed because of its cooperation with Austrians. After these events Belgrade once again became an Oriental border town, and it was so until 1717, when it was conquered again by the Austrians. Their brief rule over Belgrade was marked by a real transformation of the town, for then it lost its Turkish and Oriental outlines and it gained characteristics of a European baroque city. When recaptured by the Turks soon afterwards, it was exposed to heavy destruction. Once again, Belgrade became a Turkish Casbah of Oriental characteristics and with a border position. Many documents written by contemporaries witness that during these days, whenever somebody passed through Belgrade, it was in somebody else hands: Serbian, Hungarian, Austrian, Turkish and in between, it seems, it belonged to nobody. And yet, this was always another city, with different houses, churches, people and customs. Even the name of the city was subjected to change: ALBA GRAECA, GRIECHISCH WEISSENBURG, NANDOR ALBA, NANDOR FEJERVAR, CASTELBIANCO, ALBA BULGARICA, BELGRADUK – so many names, so many identities depending on the conqueror.

Identity of our City at those days and even now resembles alchemical Mercury – like him it is shifty, erratic, unstable, capricious, fickle, protean, moody and ever changing. Travelers used to leave hundreds of churches and upon return did not find any – they were all mosques. At the end, they say, was no longer any churches or mosques, neither the people. To live in Belgrade then as well as now is to constantly think about the people who are ruining and demolishing it. As a result of it, in the past and in the present, Belgrade is always “a new city”, “city in the making, in becoming». It never stays the same. Every generation from once upon a time till now, knows different city. It is a constant battle between demolishing and replacing, between destruction and flourishing. And, alas, amid all of those destructions and demolitions we never have enough time for proper psychological reparation. As a consequence, traumatic events engraved on

Belgrade’s Soul, which were not worked through led to future retraumatizations in the course of its history.

Awakening of national consciousness and events related to the slaughter of the big part of Belgrade’s population led to organization of the First andSecond Serbian Insurrection against Turks. After several years of fight the town in ruins was finally liberated. After nearly five centuries, the Turks left Belgrade for good in1867 and that represented a new stimulus to faster economic and cultural development of the town. In the second half of the 19th centurythe city was brought closer to Western Europe and the intensive development of Belgrade, continued in the first years of the XX century. However, as many times before, peaceful period did not last for long.

Since Belgrade was a border city, again an obstacle to some foreign power interests, this time Austrian expansionistic policy against Balkan, it was doomed to perish.World War Istarted with the Austrian ultimatum, and later the attack on Serbia. Belgrade’s agony was four years long. Years between two World Wars were very prosperous for Belgrade who out of ashes again developed the shape of European city. Alas, not for too long. It was in the spring of 1941, the Second War II, Belgrade again became the target of a terrible bombing and destruction. After all the persecutions and sufferings caused by German occupying forces, the citizens of Belgrade also had to undergo considerable losses in the Allies’ bombing, especially in

spring and autumn 1944. Many buildings were demolished, hospital, churches, residential areas, as well as all the bridges on the Sava and Danube. During World War II population of Belgrade dropped ten times!

In order not forget about its fate, the last time Belgrade was bombed in 1999 by NATO forces nearly day and night for 78 days. During these days, 18 nations of Western Europe and the USA, under the cloak of NATO in the action named “Merciful Angel”, unleashed upon Belgrade and other towns in Serbia more explosive then dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. Life has again became hard in Belgrade, no air links with the world, no electricity and tap water, foreign diplomats had long since left while revolted Belgraders reacted to the bombing by demolishing the cultural centers of countries taking part in the air strikes and these ruined sites gaped open side by side with those reduced to rubble by NATO aircraft. Another bloody page in Belgrade’s history was written. Another traumatic experience was carved upon its Soul.

After this brief history of one of the oldest and most battered cities in the world, it is not easy to come to its Soul. One needs imaginal vision and very subtle, delicate look to see Belgrade on the level of the Soul. Since these hard historical facts are neither very soulful nor nourishing for the Soul. Great Serbian poetess Desanka Maksimovic described it in her words:

Belgrade, city of Illyric and Celts, dear Balkan and Slavic city, generous citizen of the world, live on and resist every power. You opened your door wide to everyone, but your heart remains unseen, your Soul undiscovered, ancient lock with seven seals in the shade of towers, linden trees and plane trees.

In a city called the “Portal of Wars” by the Turks and “the Bastion of Christianity” by the Christians, how the Soul managed to survive? The specific location of the city itself and its important strategic location — at the border, and at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers where the Panonian Plein meets the Balkans — led the city being battled over in more than 115 wars and razed to the ground more than 44 times! This rich and painful history as well as geostrategical position made Belgrade always to be on the crossroads between the East and the West, between Europe and the Orient. The Confluence of Sava and Danube rivers making the geographical limit between «civilized» and «barbarians» led to creation of psychical liminality as well. The Celts, Romans, Avars, Huns, Byzantines, Goths, Bulgars, Ugrians, Crusaders, Turks, Austrians, Germans, Russians all passed through this «Portal of Wars» leaving behind traces of their power, their rage and their cultures. All civilizations that led their traces in the White City-on-limes when confronted with its unique transitional

or liminal phenomenology responded by displaying various primitive mental states over city and its population.

In the myths and traditions of various cultures, as well as in life, the ‘limes’ ’threshold’ or the ‘border’ represents the spot where the action of the utmost importance is taking place. The border symbolizes divorcing, parting or bifurcation yet, at the same time, it is a space for union, a meeting place, a spot where formerly broken alliance is once again sealed. It is fate of Belgrade to exist on the crossroad or limes as well. The limes is here being understood not as a connection between two definite points on the earth’s surface but as a particular world. The limes is a place or container which could hold experiences around. Place is a matter of containment, therefore to be in place is to be enclosed within a containing boundary; to be held there. This is why being at the limes is a matter of holding, embracement, enclosure or encapsulation – and also why images of Belgrade like the crossroad, the junction, the confluence of two rivers, and its bridges capture what is most crucial in the notion of limes. Martin Heidegger gives us a positive account of boundary or liminality: “A boundary is not that at which something stops but, as the Greeks recognized, the boundary is that from which something begins it’s presenting”.2 In fact, place is that for which somebody makes room, what is let to dwell within its boundaries. Things for which we make place are at

the same time things that are bind together, i.e. embraced together by the very place they occupy.

Belgrade-as-liminality is place where phenomena might come to being. Shortly, the limes/border/crossroad is the archetypal image of exceptional importance; a locus where conscious and unconscious, Ego and Psyche, I and Thou, spirit and matter, body and soul, health and illness, personal and archetypal touch each other and unfold each other.

Having in mind that each city embodies distinctive psychological qualities, the question is how being on the borders for centuries, living on limes as such, affects the Soul of the city and its citizens that could be found in bright lights and dark shades of its everyday life, its recurring historical patterns. We have already learnt that history of Belgrade is all about attacking, siedging, destruction, liberation, construction, abandonment, forgetting and renewal. And always on the scales between two opposites – surviving and being demolished. In Belgrade never lived a generation who escaped war experience!

It is not hard to conclude how heavily traumatised Soul of the City is! The most visible signs of this ever-present trauma is the dissociation and denial of the parts of history. Belgrade has very short memory and easily forgets his enemies, his painful life and the centuries of destruction. Belgrade learnt how to live and survive in the ‘present moment’ loosing from sight the past and the future. And ever present

‘compulsion to repeat’ is inseparable from its being. Somehow, Belgrade is inextricably drawn into the positions that replicate the demolishing and destruction. The presence of denial and dissociation of the experience prevents the Soul of the City to achieve healthier position in processing inner and outer chalenges. We would dare to say, since the specific traumatic experiences happen regularly through its history, it was never possible to integrate them into conscious functioning and they are left in the unconscious Shadow which lives by its own and is nourished by itself. This Shadow provokes the Shadow of the perpetrators and the vicious circle is closed. Since Belgrade’s history is all about Shadow – its Shadow and the Shadow of its conquerors.

When one steps on the streets of Belgrade, just a quick gaze and it is obvious that Belgrade is a city of Shadow. There is Shadow everywhere! Higgledy-piggledy streets full of garbage, houses with no style or better to say many stiles mixed without any guiding idea; results of destruction everywhere combined with Levantine neglect. Shabby; completely undeveloped sense of aesthetics, maybe because it never had time to develop it due to always present surviving issues. Belgrade is only partly aware of being identified with its Shadow. And nowadays tourists from abroad are coming in great quantities just to enjoy this Shadow — to see the bombed and ruined houses, to have wild nightlife and get drunk in the bars and restaurants which work

until early morning hours even on the working days. It seems that Shadow is present and lived out there in such a quantity that now it became a part of city Persona!

When Le Corbusier said that Belgrade is the ugliest city at the most beautiful location, he was looking at the results of centuries of destruction with the resulting Shadow. Those who love and know this city today, understand it not from what they have seen or touched since its greater, perhaps finest part has disappeared without the trace and we shall never see, photograph or touch it again. But the part of it that was gone, that can never been reconstructed, belongs to its history and identity too and maybe even more influences the Soul of the city. Through the course of history, Le Corbusier’s ugliest city with the most beautiful location was often the most beautiful city in the most awful location. To paraphrase «The New York Times» writing in 1876: «Had the Turkish march on Europe not come up against Serbia and Belgrade (which was razed to the ground), Germany and France, Vienna, Munich and Marseille would assuredly look like Belgrade.»

That same year of 1876, famous French writer Victor Hugo who was very knowledgeable about Belgrade and Serbian history penned his essay «For Serbia» in which he wrote: »A nation is being killed. Where? In Europe. Are there many witnesses to this act? Only one – the whole world. Do the European goverments see it? No.» Almost

umbelievable how much his words are still alive today!

Having in mind everything that has been said on previous pages, we are of opinion that the history, geography and psyche of the city’s past and current inhabitants unite to create Belgrade’s special identity, both in its positive aspects and its shadow qualities that could be named as liminal identity. Liminal identity is a kind of oxymoron – at the same time something profound, abyssimaly deep and unphatomable and quite shalow, hollow and highly erratic.

Belgrade’s liminal identity is dual as well. If we internalize benevolent side of the ‘White City’ s Soul’, than it would be she in us who encourages us to befriend different complexes and archetypes. Or, shall we say, it is her amiable and benevolent nature that promotes our individuation or psychological wholeness. On the other hand, Belgrade as a meeting point, junction or crossroad is not only place where coincidentia oppositorum is possible to happen. At those very locations any separation, division, disunion or severance could start. In its negative aspect Belgrade personifies psychological separation, fragmentation and splitting.

How being and living on the boundary itself feels like is maybe best expressed by the following words of great Du?an Radovi?, Serbian novelist, poet and aphorist, who certainly embodied aforementioned liminal identity:

Whoever was lucky enough to wake up in Belgrade this morning, should ask nothing more from life. Wishing for more than that would be immodest.

X

Coming back to the Soul of Belgrade, Soul of gateaway city, Soul of the city settled on eternal crossroads, it is not hard to imagine how it breaths and survives in its liminal identity. Settling and being in liminal for Belgrade and Belgraders means so many things: does the town has one coherent, accepted history or every generation writes the history regardless of previous ones? Is this history glorious one to be proud of or should be forgotten as soon as possible? And when exactly this history began? Which dates are important and which not?

Nearly every Belgrade street has between three to five official names and officials still argue which name suits best! Belgrade is always in transition and never knows exactly when this transition started and where it leads. Although history is everywhere, Belgraders are very often ashamed of it since it includes frequent experiences of destruction but at the same time they are ignorant about the resulting disorientation provoked by lost connection with historical being. Lost connection with historical being and role leads to vague and uncertain aims and goals in future which is also a part of Belgrade’s liminality. For Belgrade, the past is still the present and the future. Often, one feels that the time sttopped long ago and now Belgraders participate

in a time without the time. Maybe just because of being stuck in liminal, Belgrade managed to survive. Otherwise it will be burried and forgotten long time ago! For millenia, Singidunum/ Belgrade/White City is «betwixt and between», its threshold geography suits its edgy psychology. Belgrade is still captured in its in-between liminal identity. Is it situated on the East or on the West? Does it belong to Orient or to Europe? Is it predominantly Ortxodox Christian or atheist despite the ever lasting clashes between Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox religions?

Belgrade never managed to hold on together all oposite sides of its history, to transgress the polarity between construction and destruction. During the whole history it was desperately wanted, siedged, battled for, defended, hated, loved, despised, destructed and abandoned just to be rebuld and renewed again. Belgrade is a city in constant self-renewal, forever under construction and reconstruction and deconstruction, changes constantly but seems never changed at all.

X

Belgrade resembles Puer, as well. Its eternal youth, spirit of cheerfulness, spontaneity and the fact that it does not fit into any formulas or models and never fitted is a part of city’s allure, and mark of its puerile character. The Belgrade mentality, its specific charm of being carefree even in the most difficult situations, which surely

comes partly from the constant experience of liminal insecurity and instability was well known in previous times as well modern ones. It is a city whose worries are constantly dragged away by two rivers, leaving it carefree. Is it surprising that in the country and the city beset with probably the gravest problems in Europe, the two most frequently spoken words are: «Nema problema» (No Problem)? The Japanese tourists even thought that «no problem» is some kind of local greeting!

Being on a physical crossing, Belgrade has seduced many to cross great waters, transgress all kind of boundaries, cover miles, move through multiple time zones in order to conquered desired and most wanted fortress on the «hill for conteplation above the gates of war», as it was calld by Ottomans. But one who wants to conquer the fortress must first conquer its Soul. And this is exactly the Soul of Belgrade that was never conquered and destroyed despite the scars of its tempestuous historical fate. The ever present beauty of Belgrade lies precisely in its untameable liminal nature. Part of its so appealing, untameable nature is beautifully expressed by the words of Belgrade’s well known journalist (Bogdan Tirnanic in his aphoristic book Belgrade for beginners): «Belgrade is destiny. And yet, there are those who believe that it is merely a choice. People like that dice with destiny». No matter if we try to either describe or experience Belgrade, its true essence and archetypal traits will manifest themselves in both aspects: in light and friendly one, and in dark and

frightening one. Whenever we overestimate one aspect or deny the other we are not acknowledging its dual and liminal nature. So, as famous Belgrade grafftti sugests, «If you are lost in Belgrade, do not despair. You are in Belgrade.»

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