Belgrade

18th April 2008 at 01:00
Whether or not you tune into the Eurovision Song Contest from May 20-24, it is certainly worth giving Belgrade, the host city, a thought.

It's sited where the Sava and Danube rivers meet and serves as the capital of Serbia. In its 7,000-year history it's been a gateway to central Europe, experienced four centuries of Roman rule, and later an episode when a Hungarian king destroyed the city, taking its stones to build another town. A few decades later the Byzantines took their revenge, rebuilding Belgrade by taking the stones back.

Must-sees are Republic Square and Students' Square, and the park-encircled 18th-century Kalemegdan fortress that dominates the old city.

Ivo Andric, the Serbian Nobel prize laureate, has praised the city's sunsets. Enjoy them, and afterwards join the evening promenaders along Kneza Mihaila, the pedestrianised main street.

Among the many museums is one dedicated to Nikola Tesla (www.tesla-museum.org), the father of alternating current electricity, which first allowed energy to be distributed over long distances. He later gave his name to the unit of magnetic induction.

But many enjoy it as a party town, with apartment blocks, buzzy bars and lively nightclubs. You're more likely to find a dance festival than a supermarket at the huge Sava Center.

From May 26, Regent Holidays (0845 277 3317 www.regent-holidays.co.uk) is offering three nights' BB at one of Belgrade's oldest hotels, the Kasina, from pound;345pp including scheduled return flights from Heathrow.

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