National Geographic : 1970 May
How extraordinary, I thought, suddenly understanding. These long-beset people really do not lament at Kosovo, scene of defeat. They look out on eternity and proclaim their indomitability. Long live, indeed. Into our day, time has proved the South Slavs' best ally. Bel grade-White City-provides a hardy example. Celts founded it, centuries before Christ, on the hill where the Sava River empties into the Danube. Warring armies have destroyed Belgrade many times; just three decades ago Nazi bombers smashed it. I flew in from cosmopolitan Paris anticipating the leisurely flavor of an Eastern European city-and abruptly found otherwise. My taxi held me prisoner in a traffic snarl. Presently we pulled up in front of my hotel. I paid the fare and offered the driver a tip. "Ne," said that independent businessman, a friendly, husky Serb who identified himself as Bora Joksimovid. "No. What you have given me is enough." Then and there I knew that something was different. In Bora's well-kept Mercedes-Benz cab I subsequently toured 594 the White City, a throbbing metropolis of more than 580,000 A swamp once oozed where the modern com plex of New Belgrade blooms on the outskirts of Yugoslavia's capital. Government buildings, apartments, hotels, and sports facilities make it a city in itself. Ratno Island, in back ground, splits the Dan ube. Old Belgrade crowds the smoggy horizon up stream from the strategic confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers.