This smallest central city municipality is settled in the southeastern part of Belgrade.
The name of this municipality dates from the 16th century, to be precise from 1560, when the Turks first mention "Vračak", a Christian settlement of 17 homes within the Belgrade area.
In its present form, Vračar municipality has been in existence since 1960 and it includes parts of the former municipalities of East Vračar, Neimar and Terazije.
In the second part of 19th century, the area of today’s Vračar, consisted mostly of a few large swamps where Belgraders would often spend their weekends duck hunting.
In 1876, Francis Mackenzie, a Scotsman, came to Belgrade on a mission. He was a businessman and a member of the Nazarene group and had arrived to work at the British and Foreign Bible Society in Belgrade, spreading and encouraging Christian practices and behavior among the Serbs. One would think that that would be an easy task as the vast majority of Serbs are Orthodox Christians. Francis tried his darndest to encourage the population to give up on bad habits, even tried banning smoking for a while, but with little success.
In a very short time, Mackenzie became a prominent member of the Belgrade society and a close friend with the influential personages of the time, such as Stojan Simić, President of the Serbian Council. In 1879, he decided to purchase a large piece of land on the eastern outskirts of the city. He bought it from Simić’s son. Mackenzie was adamant in his claim that Belgrade would grow eastward in the future. He drained the swamp and built himself a home there. The locals soon adopted a new name for the land – Englezovac (“Englez” being the Serbian word for an “Englishman”).
That plot of land is now the busiest part of downtown Belgrade, Slavija Square (a.k.a. Trg Dimitrija Tucovića) and the Vračar Plateau. The Plateau, with an absolute height of 134 meters, was deemed an ideal spot for the placement of Belgrade’s first meteorological observation station in 1891. Mackenzie’s house was torn down after WW2 and one of the first movie theatres, “Slavija”, was built on that spot. Today, the proverbial parking lot stands where the Scotsman’s house once stood.
Soon after he purchased it, Mackenzie began parceling the land and later on sold all the parceled lots off. Sometime in the 1880s, he donated around eight thousand square meters for the construction of the Saint Sava Temple (Sveti Sava pravoslavna crkva - Orthodox Church). His name was inscribed and can still be seen on the list of the Great Benefactors of the Temple, just below the names of the members of the Serbian Royal family and senior dignitaries of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Today, one of the main streets around Slavija, carries Mackenzie’s name (Makenzijeva).
The St. Sava temple( Hram Svetog Save), located at the St. Sava Plateau (or Vračar’s Plateau), is one of the largest orthodox churches in the world, and the largest in Serbia and the Balkans.
The location where the temple stands is believed to have been the exact spot where, in 1595, Sinan Pasha burned the remains of St. Sava, the founder of the Orthodox Church in Serbia. The construction of the temple was funded entirely from donations and funds collected from the sales of special editions of postal stamps which is why the work on it progressed very slowly, until 2004 when the exterior of the Temple was finally completed. Even today, the temple is not fully finished – there is still the interior decoration to be carried out. Despite all of this, the temple still represents one of the most important and most striking landmarks in Belgrade.
In the crypts of the Temple, there is a church dedicated to Tzar Lazar. It is completed and open for visitors.
On the same plateau is the National Library, as well as a small St. Sava church and the monument to Karadjordje.
The place where Karadjordje’s park is today, is a place that has quite a bit of historical significance for the Serbs. It was the exact spot chosen by Karadjordje’s army for their camp, before they went on to retake Belgrade into Serbian hands after a 350 years hiatus. At the far end of the park, there are a dozen of stone memorials, very much like tombstones, where Karadjordje’s fallen comrades have been laid to rest.
The first memorial in Belgrade is the monument to the glory and honour of the Serbian heroes who lost their lives in 1806. Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjević, Karadjordje’s son, ordered the erection of this monument in 1848, in Karadjordje’s park.
There are a few other important monuments placed in this small park such as “To Lamartine, the prophet of Yugoslavian Unification” (Alfonse de Lamartine, French novelist an politician); the monument dedicated to the so called “Third Callers”, the Spanish civil war volunteers and to the victims of the April Bombing, who were killed in the shelter, in 1941 – the very first day of WW2 in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, as it was known back then.
Apart from the numerous monuments, the very best symbol of Vračar would most likely be its kafanas (taverns) and cafes. Although many of them faded away, new once opened up, gathering poets, writers, journalists, bohemians and other citizens, thus, keeping the spirit of Vračar going.
Gradić Pejton is one of the first small craft centers in Belgrade. It is an artisan settlement with a lot of small shops, many of which are practicing crafts which are now rare and slowly dying out in big cities like Belgrade: stamp-cutters, printmakers, frame makers, key makers, glassblowers, etc.
In the central part of Vračar is the Kalenić market, one of the oldest and most popular open-air green markets.
Buses: 24, 25, 26, 83
Trolley buses: 19, 21, 22, 29