In the heart of Belgrade, an undiscovered ally lies.
Tucked in between Republic Square, Terazije and Nušićeva street, in the very center, there is a complex of stores and cafes called Čumićevo sokače. Built in 1991, it was made to represent elite and modern shopping mall, something that will bring New York and Paris to Belgrade. And for a while, indeed it was, inside this mall you could find first Benetton boutique, Victoria’s secret, you could buy imported shoes from Italy and other imported goods. Buying in here was a matter of prestige, which only the rich Belgraders could afford.
Unfortunately, “Čumić” is the symbol of what happened to Yugoslavia and Belgrade in the 1990s. First the imports stopped, so fancy boutiques closed. In their places, shady businessmen opened their own places. One of the most important figures of that era, Željko Ražnatović, better known as Arkan had his exchange shop “Delije” here. Because of him, entire place was mockingly called “Arkanzas” for a while. 1990s were a turbulent era, so this ally had another surprising purpose. As there were a lot of protests and demonstrations in the city back then, this ally was a great place to hide from police cordons, and rest from the tear gas and police brutality. Being a labyrinth that connected all the main streets in Belgrade, it was easy for protestors to hide here, and quickly go from one place to another.
In early 2000s, after democratic changes, things for the “Čumić” again changed, to worse, and it appeared that the mall is finally ready to be closed. Lots of places were empty, and entire area has fallen to oblivion, home only to junkies, prostitutes and some passerby who happened to know a shortcut to his home. It went from glory and splendor of Yugoslavia, to decay of a wartime capital.
In 2010s, a group of fashion designers and architects decided to make a change. They occupied a part of the mall and turned it into Belgrade design district. Young artists started to come and give new life to the ally. Many new shops opened, and the mall is thriving with activity. You can see many small businesses opening up, and tourists are no strangers anymore to this area.
Finally, in 2019, Belgrade design district became a home for one more small business – Serbian Adventure Factory. You can find us in shop no. 76, on the second floor, and see our selection of vintage bicycles. We are usually there on weekend, so you can visit us, check some of our tours, and let us take you on a tour through hidden paths of Belgrade.