Terazije is a central square in Belgrade and an extension of the Knez Mihailova Street. It is surrounded by architectural masterpieces from various epoques. The dominant ones are the hotels Balkan and Moskva, a secessionist jewel, Albanija palace, the tallest building in the Balkans at the time of it’s construction (1930’s). Classical palaces Atina, Igumanova, Krsmanovića (Protokol) and Asikuracioni Generali surround the square giving it a touch of nobility.
Terazije is crisscrossed by a network of underground passageways and shopping centers and lined up with many shops, cafes and restaurants.
Terazije literally means scales, more commonly known as “water balances” or “su terazisi” in Turkish. The meaning of Turkish word “su terazisi” needs to be explained fully because the English term “scales” does not seem to be adequate. Terazije is probably more related to the word “reservoir” connected to the ancient Roman aqueduct which existed before the Ottoman times. Perhaps Terazije is connected to a water distribution mechanism which existed here which lifted and distributed water further into the city. There is an underground natural and/or man made underground river in this area. “Water Balances” known as “su terazisi”, were tower-like structures maintaining water pressure when conveying water to neighbourhoods at a high-level. Varying from 3 to 10 m in height, they had a cistern at the summit from which the water flowed into distribution pipes.
As the central and one of the most famous squares in Belgrade, it is the location of many famous Belgrade buildings. The most important hotels, restaurants and shops are or were located here.
– The old Hotel Kasina; built around 1860, next to Hotel Pariz. At this hotel, in 1918 the National Assembly of Serbia held its meetings for a while. The plays of the National Theatre in Belgrade have been performed here until 1920. The present Hotel Kasina was built at the same place in 1922.
– Hotel Moskva; built in 1906; still preserving the original shape with its famous façade made of ceramic tiles. Often voted as one of the most beautiful buildings in Belgrade.
– Palace Albania, built in 1937, the first high rise in Belgrade and the highest building in the Balkans before World War II
– The biggest McDonald’s restaurant in the Balkans
– Theatre on Terazije, the Serbian equivalent to Broadway staging numerous musical productions and adaptations from around the world. The theatre is one of the most modern in Belgrade being reconstructed in 2005.