February 9, 2018 Out and about

Mapping Belgrade’s Great Love Stories

With Valentine’s Day approaching, Belgrade Insight tours city addresses that were the scenes of romantic, often tragic, love stories.

Ivo Andric in his study. Photo: Wikipedia/StevanKragujevic

Siri Sollie

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Prizrenska 7: Ivo Andric’s Secret Lover

In May 1941, Ivo Andric moved into the first floor of an apartment building at Prizrenska 7 in central Belgrade, where he rented a room with the lawyer Brane Milenkovic and his mother.

The Second World War had just started and the 49-year-old Andric had returned from Berlin, where he had served as the Yugoslav ambassador since 1939.

If it wasn’t for the plaque on the wall of the building, few might knew the Nobel Prize-winning author wrote some of his most famous works here: The Bridge on the Drina, The Woman from Sarajevo and Bosnian Chronicle: A Novel.

The famous novelist and poet had a penchant for married women, according Nenad Novak Stefanovic, author of The Guide to the Love History of Belgrade.

Andric married costume designer Milica Babic in 1958 after meeting her in 1931 in Belgrade.

When they met, however, Babic was married to Nenad Jovanovic, a Bosnian journalist and translator. Andric appointed Jovanovic to an attaché’s post at the embassy in Berlin, allegedly so he could spend more time with Babic, who was 17 years his junior.

Jovanovic was arrested in occupied Belgrade in 1942, after the Gestapo accused him of being a British spy, claiming he was listening to British radios to decipher coded messages from London. He was sent to prison and later to a concentration camp.

Jovanovic survived the war but returned to Serbia in poor health and died in 1958. Andric married his widow shortly afterwards and the newly-weds then moved to Proleterskih Brigade 2a, a street that today goes under the name Andricev Venac.

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