A Street of Many Names

The Balkans have had a tough history being that they’re at the crossroads of East and West, land and sea, and many an empire. That being the case, they’ve had a lot of regime changes. And, what’s the first thing a new regime does? Okay, what’s the next thing a regime does as killing a but of people from the previous regime? Yes, they rename things.
I’ve seen this in varying forms in Zagreb, Sarajevo and other Balkan cities, but Belgrade is the only one where I saw signs that listed all the names that the street previously had. Given how often they change names, this is very useful to the tourist. Of course, given that the streets are generally in Serbian Cyrillic and the Serbian language, your chances of understanding are still a little hit and miss.
That aside, I’ve posted an example below, which is Ulica Dečanska in the center of town. I’ll do what I can to translate it, and please excuse any mistakes I make as this is not only a second language to me, but a second alphabet:

1872-1896 Dva Jelena (Two Deers)
1896-1949 Dečanska (not really sure here, but it is probably named after that region in Kosovo)
1949-1953 Kardeljeva (again, not sure, but probably named after a spot that is in Slovenia)
1953-1957 Dečanska (again, isn’t this fun?)
1957-1997 Moše Pijade (person, read his article)
1997-____ Dečanska (fun!)

Perhaps my native speaker friends can help me out with some of these translations in to English, but you can see that the Belgraders even have something of a black sense of humor about it, leaving that space for change in the last one.
A Street of Many Names

2 Replies to “A Street of Many Names”

  1. hah, when i looked at this entry first, my itunes was playing “where the streets have no name”.
    funnily enough, the place where i lived when i was born was “Mose Pijade” in Zagreb, and needless to say the street got renamed shortly after “democracy” came…

    1. We do the same thing in the US though, since all the Martin Luther King Jr. streets didn’t start out that way. Of course… we don’t change them every ten years though.

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