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  • Writer's pictureJames

Cherry Blossom Season in Београд (Belgrade)

I've often dreamt of visiting Japan during Cherry Blossom Season. In Serbia I found the next best thing while visiting the Jevremovac botanical gardens in Beograd. Located near the Takovska stop off the #2 Tram, the admission fee is 300 rsd.

Sam wandering through the garden

Amid the bustling streets Beograd, Jevremovac is a tranquil respite from the cacophony of urban living. It seemed mostly locals milling about, old couples holding hands, children with their parents out for a spring stroll in the crisp air desparately trying to pretend the weather was just a bit warmer than reality.

Japanese Bridge in the Jevremovac Botanical garden in Belgrade, Serbia
Bridge over the Stream

The sun shone through the newly arrived pink cherry blossoms on the trees of the Japanese garden, under the pagoda sat a woman in sunglasses with a notebook, lazily writing something I can only imagine would be wonderful. The sound of the small river falling over rocks was the only sound save the rustling of the trees in the gentle breeze. The water comes to rest in a nearly still pond filled with multicolored koi fish.

in the Cherry Blossoms in the Jevremovac Botanical garden in Belgrade, Serbia

The gardens were initially suggested by Josif Pančić, widely considered the father of Serbian botany. The original location was near Kalemegdan Park, but due to flooding from the Danube River the park was destroyed and rebuilt in it's current location. King Milan Obrenović donated the estate in 1889 to the Great School in Belgrade as a place to construct a new botanical garden, provided that it be named "Jevremovac" (Serbian for "Jevrem's garden"), after his grandfather.

in the Flowers left by the spring in the Jevremovac Botanical garden in Belgrade, Serbia
Flowers left by the spring

On a sign at the entrance to the garden is described as follows.

The art of Japanese gardens is expressed through the simplicity of lines and colors. Irrespective of whether large or small, Japanese gardens have preserved their special shape. They are not symmetrical or monumental. They reflect the beauty of nature by insisting on its uniqueness and harmony. Stone, water and plants are three basic elements present in Japanese gardens.

Stone is a sacred object in Japan. According to folk belief, ghosts live in stone, and if they are set up as stairs above the water, they are symbols of the mountains. Grouping stones are about balancing energy in nature. In groups of three symbolize the triad of heaven, earth and man.

Water is a symbol of the ocean and is an important element in the Japanese garden. It reminds us of the dimension of sound.

Plants hide or expose the details of the stone and the earth, and create a finite ambiance. Plants are chosen by the symbol they carry. Pine is a symbol of longevity and love because with age it gets on beauty and splendor. The cherry tree is a symbol of eternal youth and spring, while deciduous maple is a symbol of the cycle of life and death, reminding the visitor of the passing of life.

Cherry Blossoms in the Jevremovac Botanical garden in Belgrade, Serbia

We took our time, standing on the bridge, watching the fish and listening to the water. Few people were in the garden at this time, it is located in such a way that one could miss it if not careful, a mistake we almost made on our first visit to Jevremovac the previous summer.

Bridge over the Koi Pond in the Jevremovac Botanical garden in Belgrade, Serbia
Bridge over the Koi Pond

As we left, Samantha made friends with a ginger cat, as she is always prepared with a package of Dreamies (this is not sponsored) cat treats.

Sam making a new cat friend in the Jevremovac Botanical garden in Belgrade, Serbia
Sam making a new cat friend

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