The Avala Mountain, located at the outskirts of Belgrade, is a natural reserve and a memorial park popular among the Belgraders. Avala can be easily reached by car, within 30 minutes ride from the city center, and it is home for a few dozen protected animal species. What appeals to the visitors most, however, is its oasis of greenery with an absolutely clean air.
Name of the mountain is derived from a Turkish term Havala, which refers to some kind of outlook fort. While the Turks advanced toward central Europe during the Middle Ages, they established a fort to control the fortified Christian town (Kalemegdan) before taking it over in 1521. Sadly, no remains of such a fort survived, but spectacular views of the surrounding area did.
Most dominating Avala’s landmark is the 205 meters tall Avala Tower. The present structure is a successor of a former tower, which was destroyed during the 1999 bombing. There are two types of tickets that could be purchased. The one that allows panoramic sightseeing from an observation platform (122 meters) costs around 1.7 EUR in Serbian currency (RSD). The other, which combines sightseeing with a drink on the somewhat lower platform (119 meters), costs 3.3 EUR.
One of two significant memorials can be found on the summit of Avala. Memorial to an Unknown Hero is devoted to all Serbian soldiers that fought and died during two Balkan wars (1912 – 1913) and the First World War (1914 – 1918). Another striking monument, to the left by the road just before you reach a parking area, is devoted to a few dozen Soviet Union higher and lower ranking officers. Coming to the celebration that was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Belgrade’s liberation from the Nazis in 1964, the plane carrying the Soviets who participated in its liberation crushed at the exact spot where the memorial stands today.
At the Avala you can also find picnic areas, a hotel with a domestic cuisine restaurant and booths selling souvenirs and children’s toys.