Hotel Metropol is not only a protected cultural monument, but also one of the most recognizable symbols of modern Belgrade. It was built between 1954 and 1958, according to the design of the renowned Serbian architect Dragisa Brasovan (1887-1965). About this fascinating personality and a pioneer of the Serbian and Yugoslav architecture, I will be writing in more detail some other time, still I need to mention at least some of his buildings we all certainly often passed by: The Nikola Tesla Museum (1932), The Ruski car Tavern in Belgrade; The Chamber of Labor (1931), The Danube Banovina building – nowadays the building of the AP Vojvodina Assembly (1939) and The Main Post Office in Novi Sad (1961).
Dragisa Brasovan (1887-1965)
The history of this hotel is also very interesting and significant. The first conference of Non-Aligned Movement with officials from 25 countries was held in it, in September 1961. The hotel quickly gained a reputation of a first-class hotel and convention centre, and as such it hosted world-renowned figures like: Che Guevara, Haile Selassie, Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, Louis Armstrong, Kirk Douglas, Elizabeth Taylor, Gina Lollobrigida, Jack Nicholson, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Bobby Fischer and many others. The Metropol Hotel was the place in which, in 1975, the Venezuelan terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez, better known by his nickname Carlos the Jackal, which at that time was the most wanted terrorists in the world, was captured by the police. The man who tried to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle, who was a participant in the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, and was the executor of the attack on the OPEC in Vienna in 1975, was hiding in Belgrade, with the consent of Josip Broz Tito, who supported the actions of the Palestinian liberation organization movement for which the Jackal fought for. It was on President Tito’s order, that the Jackal was secretly taken out of the country after only a few days spent in custody. He was later on arrested in Khartoum, in 1994, by the members of the French intelligence service, and is now serving a life sentence in France.
Unfortunately, like many other things, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, the hotel lost its importance and began to deteriorate. This culminated in 2002, when a huge fire destroyed the top two floors, although the rest of the hotel continued to operate until 2007. Extensive interior renovations lasted for the next five years and cost about 40 million euros, and finally in 2012 the hotel reopened, rebranded as “Metropol Palace”, a luxurious five-star hotel.
No matter whether you have decided to stay at the “Metropol Palace” hotel as a tourist, conference guest, or have simply stopped by for a coffee or a drink, you will be greeted with a superior service, professional and friendly staff, and luxurious ambience.
I hope I have managed to get you interested in this significant architectural and historical monument of Serbia. I will often come back to it in near future, and every time I will try to reveal another interesting fact about the architect and the building itself, in order to depict our impressions made while working on the reconstruction of the restaurant.