Zvezdara (Звездара) is a hill, forest, urban neighborhood and one of 17 municipalities which constitute City of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It is also one of 10 urban municipalities which constitute the Belgrade City proper.
Zvezdara is located south-east of downtown Belgrade. In its original sense, neighborhood of Zvezdara comprises areas around the Zvezdara Forest, including the neighborhood of Zvezdara II. Tt borders the neighborhoods of Bogoslovija and Karaburma on the north, Ćalije on the north-east (all in the municipality of Palilula), Mirijevo on the east, Mali Mokri Lug on the south-east, Cvetkova Pijaca and Konjarnik on the south, Lion on the south-west and Bulbuder on the west. The area had a population of 10,095 by the 2002 census of population. However, after the creation of the municipality in 1955, entire section west and south-west of Zvezdara is today considered as part of it in narrow sense (Lion, Bulbuder, Lipov Lad, Cvetkova Pijaca, etc).
Until the 1930s, the Zvezdara hill was known as Veliki Vračar (Great Vračar). In XIX century the foothills were not urbanized and, being far from the city center, were used by the Belgraders as a resort and picnic area, named Baba Ružin kraj ("Grandma Ruža's neighborhood"). In 1929-32, an observatory, designed by Czech-born architect Jan Dubový (1892-1969), was built on top of the hill. The observatory was originally called zvezdara ("star-house") in Serbian, so the hill and the developing suburban area of Belgrade around it was named that way soon. In time, Latinism opservatorija replaced zvezdara which in turn completely disappeared from spoken language as such, but remained as name of Belgrade's neighborhood. As a result, many today believe Zvezdara was named that way simply after stars (Serbian zvezda, star). In 1935, Clinical Center (KBC) Zvezdara was built, as a bequest by wealthy Serbian merchant Nikola Spasić. The are was ridh in water which was originally used for city waterworks. Several public drinking fountains were built (like Pasha's fountain, dating from the First Serbian Uprising, in modern Živka Davidovića street or the Fountain of the third-class reservists, for the killed soldiers of the World War I. near KBC Zvezdara).
Municipality of Zvezdara is located east of Belgrade and occupied almost entire eastern urban section of the city. It borders the municipalities of Paliula on the north-west, north and north-east, Grocka on the east and south-east, Voždovac on the south and south-west and Vračar on the west.
Despite being one of the minor Belgrade's municipalities in terms of area (31 square kilometer), Zvezdara covers some of the highest sections of urban Belgrade, including hills of:
Zvezdara basically has no real city parks, but has two large wooded areas, Zvezdara Forest (with arranged park within, in the north-central part) and northern section of Stepin Lug in the southern part of the municipality. Peti Park (Fifth park) is a minute green area in the neighborhood of Lipov Lad which gained a lot of publicity in the mid 2000s with a public movement to keep the area green.
Zvezdara doesn't come out on river banks of two major Belgrade's rivers (the Danube and Sava). The major water flows in the municipality are two creeks, both of which are partially conducted underground in the city sewer: Mokroluški potok and Mirijevski potok. For several hundred meters, the Bolečica river flows through the southernmost part of the municipality, near Bubanj Potok.
The population of modern municipality of Zvezdara had a steady, large growth until 1980s and 1990s when birthrates plunged in all of Serbia. But Zvezdara remains one of the most densely populated areas in entire Serbia, with 4,436 inhabitants per square kilometer in 2005. Population of Zvezdara according to the official censuses of population :
Ethnic composition by the 2002 census of population:
Municipality of Zvezdara was created on September 1, 1955, from (at that time) new neighborhoods around the observatory. On January 1, 1957, Zvezdara was greatly enlarged as municipalities of Stari Đeram and Mali Mokri Lug were annexed to it. Villages of Kaluđerica, Vinča and Leštane (previously parts of Mali Mokri Lug) were later detached and annexed to the municipality of Grocka. In the first half of 1970s, all settlements in the municipality became part of the Belgrade city proper (uža teritorija grada) so the entire municipality of Zvezdara is today one of six municipalities which are completely part of urban Belgrade. Recent presidents of the Municipal assembly were:
As many areas of modern Zvezdara municipalities were villages and rural areas annexed to it in the 1950s, entire southern and eastern sections (Padina, Veliki Mokri Lug, Mali Mokri Lug, Mirijevo) are without industry. Industrial facilities are mostly grouped in two sections: Konjarnik (plastics Bukulja, precise and optical instruments Precizna mehanika, white metals Metal) and upper Bulevar kralja Aleksandra section (textile Kluz, electronics Nikola Tesla, plastics Utenzilija, presses Glas Javnosti and Kurir, foundry Livnica).
As most of the Bulevar kralja Aleksandra goes through the municipality of Zvezdara, one of the strongest commercial zones in Belgrade developed around this, longest street in old section of Belgrade (9 kilometers). The long zone along the boulevard, simply known as "Bulevar" (despite there are some 20 boulevards in Belgrade), apart from several dozens of shops of all kinds, hosted also hundreds of street sellers, which are now confined to the large covered fair-type store named "Depo" ("depot").
Some of the busiest streets in Belgrade pass through the municipality of Zvezdara. Basically, the main street that goes through the central part of the entire municipality iz Bulevar kralja Aleksandra which continues through the municipality of Grocka to the town of Smederevo. Additionally, in almost parallel way, the Highway Belgrade–Niš, goes through the southern part. Ruzveltova and Mije Kovačevića in the eastern section are among the busiest and most polluted traffic areas in the city. Other major city routes include streets Vojislava Ilića, Ustanička, Dimitrija Tucovića, Dragoslava Srejovića, Milana Rakića, Jovanke Radaković, Mirijevski venac and Matice Srpske. Large bus garage depot of GSP Belgrade, city's public transportation company and Lasta, it's sister company are located on the highway.
There is no railroad passing through the municipality, but Vukov Spomenik is one of the underground train stations of the future Belgrade Metro, which for now operates as part of the Belgrade-Pančevo railway (local Beovoz rail, connecting Nova Pazova (in province of Vojvodina), Belgrade and Pančevo (in Vojvodina again).
Educational and research facilities:
A northern sub-neighborhood of Zvezdara, today mostly centered around the roundabout of bus line number 65. It consists of several small urban patches in the northern section of Zvezdara Forest, north of the observatory and Mihajlo Pupin Institute and along the Dragoslava Srejovića street, which divides it from the neighborhoods of Karaburma and Ćalije on the north and north-east, respectively, both in the municipality of Palilula.
Zvezdara Forest (Zvezdarska šuma or Zvezdani Gaj, Serbian Cyrillic: Звездарска шума or Звездани гај) After Topčider and Košutnjak, Zvezdara is the largest forest in the urban zone of Belgrade, a crescent-shaped wooded area which covers most of the Zvezdara Hill. Northern and eastern border of the wood is formed mostly by the Dragoslava Srejovića street. It borders the neighborhoods of Karaburma on the north, Ćalije on the north-east, Mirijevo on the east, Cvetkova Pijaca on the south and Zvezdara itself on the west.
In the beginning of the 20th century the Veliki Vračar Hill area was designed for afforestation. After the construction of observatory in 1929-32 on top of the hill, the forest creation began making a unique artificially created green zone in Belgrade's urban tissue. Today, observatory is roughly in the middle of the forest.
Zvezdara Forest today covers an area of 137 hectares, out of which 21 hectare is arranged as a park. Apart from observatory, objects within the forest or near it include the "Mihajlo Pupin Institute" in the north-central and seven small stadiums (FK "29. Novembar", FK "Zvezdara", FK "Mladi proleteri") in the norh-western section. Patches of northern section are urbanized, forming a neighborhood of Zvezdara II (especially along the Dragoslava Srejovića street). Forest is also damaged by the unauthorized individual residential construction, so in 2007 Belgrade City government announced further plans to extend Zvezdara Forest to the north and south, connecting it in the process to Ada Huja and Šumice, respectively, either as real park or just avenues, and thus creating Belgrade's greenway.
Zvezdara is twinned with following cities and municipalities:
Honoring this cooperation, one street between Zvezdara and Mirijevo was named "Kisela Voda" in the mid 2000s.