The end of the First World War and proclamation of the new Yugoslav capital on December the 31st 1918, announced a new, very dynamic period for Belgrade, the period of reconstruction and demographic, economic and cultural development. In the 1920s Belgrade experienced significant population growth and became the most dynamic urban centre of the new state. The transformation of the new capital was influenced mainly by mass immigrations during the reconstruction of the city. In this period the number of citizens more than doubled and at the end of the decade Belgrade had almost 240, 000 permanent residents. In record time, the capital city acquired new boulevards, apartment buildings, prestigious government buildings and the the lifestyle of Belgrade citizens began to resemble the lifestyle of their European counterparts. Many per-war educational and scientific institutions, sports associations and citizens’ societies resumed their activities and many new ones were established. It was a decade during which regular city transportation was established and public peace and safety were occasionally disrupted by reckless drivers. Belgrade commerce was the first economic sector to recover after the war and to adapt to new conditions. The large demand for money affected the recovery of the banking sector and the influence of branch offices of foreign monetary institutions was increasing. The renewal of the housing fund and great population growth in Belgrade had made civil engineering a highly profitable sector, creating at the same time opportunities for irregularities and illegal businesses. In addition, the new government wasn’t more stable or constant than the pre-war authorities and Belgrade was going through a turbulent political period. Everyday life of the city was disturbed by numerous scandals, affairs, changes, assassinations, demonstrations, and turmoil.  

The exhibition Belgrade in the 1920s was created with a goal to showcase life in Belgrade one century ago when the foundations for a metropolitan city were laid. With the aim to present a complete image of Belgrade in a decade crucial for its development, the exhibition includes rich archival material preserved in the Historical Archives of Belgrade: letters, contracts, various official documents, architectural designs, photographs, drawings, maps, proclamations. Selected material is preserved within thirty fonds and collections providing an insight into numerous happenings in the capital’s everyday life: political events, organization of local elections, urban planning, cultural and artistic manifestations, industrial development, economy, health care, traffic, education, sports and tourism, social actions. Presented archival material has thus far not been seen, and in some cases it has been complemented by newspapers articles. The segments of the exhibition are thematically organized and a detailed chronological line of events is presented at the end of the catalogue.

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