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Location of Zemun within Belgrade
Map of Zemun municipality
Zemun (Serbian Cyrillic: Земун, German: Semlin, Hungarian: Zimony) is a town in Serbiamarker and one of the 17 municipalities which constitute the City of Belgrademarker, the country's capital. For most of its history, it developed separately from Belgrade, which lies across the Sava river, but the development of New Belgrademarker in the late 20th century joined them together in a continuous urban area.



The municipality is located in the eastern Syrmiamarker region, in the central-western section of the Belgrade City area, along the right bank of the Danube. The urban section of Zemun is the both most northern and western section of the urban Belgrade. Zemun borders the province of Vojvodinamarker on the west (municipality of Nova Pazovamarker), and municipalities of Surčinmarker on the south, Novi Beogradmarker on south-east and Palilulamarker and Stari Gradmarker across the Danube (north and east, respectively).


The municipality is situated along the right bank of the Danube. The bank is mostly marshy in the north so the settlements are built further from the river (Batajnica) separated by hillocks from the river (up to 114 m). The city of Zemun itself was built right on the bank, 100 meters above sea level, on three hills (Gardoš, overlooking the Danube, Ćukovac and Kalvarija). These are points of the Zemun loess plateau, an extension of the Syrmia loess plateau, which continues into the crescent-shaped Bežanijska Kosa loess hill on the south-east. The yellow loess is thick up to 40 meters and very fertile, with rich, grass-improved, humus chernozem. The uninhabited river islands of Great War Islandmarker and Little War Islandmarker on the Danube, belong to Zemun, too. Municipality has an area of 153 km².


As Zemun grew into one of the most populous neighborhoods of Belgrade, population of the municipality had a steady growth since the World War II. Population of the municipality of Zemun (in present borders) by the official censuses of population:

  • 1948 - 42,230
  • 1953 - 51,129
  • 1961 - 74,851
  • 1971 - 111,967
  • 1981 - 138,702
  • 1991 - 141,695
  • 2002 - 152,950

Ethnic groups (2002 census)

Neighborhoods and suburbs

Municipality of Zemun has only two official settlements: (City of) Zemun, which is part of the urban Belgrade city proper (uža teritorija grada; statistically it is classified as Belgrade-part) and the village of Ugrinovci (with two hamlet of Grmovac and Busije). Many of the neighborhoods developed in the last decade or so (Altina, Plavi Horizonti, Kamendin, Grmovac, Busije, etc).




Flag of Zemun
Municipality of Zemun became part of the Belgrade City Area (Teritorija grada Beograda) with the division of Yugoslavia into banovinas by king Alexander I on October 3, 1929. On April 1, 1934, municipality itself was absorbed into the municipality of Belgrade, so the post of the president of the municipality of Zemun was abolished and "Zemun section administrator" was appointed to the Belgrade's city government.

In 1941-44 it was occupied by the German army as the Okupationsgebiet Ostsyrmien. Germany technically recognised Zemun and surroundings as part of the Independent State of Croatiamarker puppet regime but Zemun remained under direct German rule.

After 1945 Zemun was administratively divided into the City of Zemun and Zemun district (srez), unlike rest of Belgrade which was divided into raions. In 1955 both City of Zemun and most of the Zemun district were incorporated into Belgrade again. In 1950s and 1960s, municipalities of Boljevcimarker and Dobanovcimarker were annexed to the municipality of Surčin while Batajnica was annexed to Zemun itself. In 1965 Surčinmarker was annexed to the municipality of Zemun which marked the largest territorial expansion of Zemun (438 km²). However, on November 24, 2003 Belgrade City assembly voted to re-create the municipality of Surčin, but it remained under the administration of Zemun until November 3, 2004, when separate municipal government was established after the local elections. A motion for Batajnicamarker to split from Zemun too was active for a while in early 2000s (see List of former and proposed municipalities of Belgrade).

Presidents of the municipality:

Administrator of the Zemun section

German mayors:

Partisan military administrator:

Presidents of the municipal assembly:

Presidents of the municipality:

There is a popular local rivalry between inhabitants of Zemun and Belgrade going on for decades, especially among youth. In general, local population consider Zemun still a separate, and more advanced and cultural city and point out they were born in Zemun rather than Belgrade, while Belgraders consider Zemun an outer, austro-Hungarian suburb of Belgrade.

Economy and transportation

Zemun is one of the most developed municipalities of Belgrade, with developed industries in almost every branch. Zemun has two large and still growing industrial zones, one located along the highway and the other one along the road to Batajnica and further to Novi Sadmarker (Galenika, Goveđi Brod, etc). Industries include: heavy agricultural machines and appliances (Zmaj), precise and optical instruments and automatized appliances (Teleoptik), clocks (INSA), busses and other heavy vehicles (Ikarbus), farmaceuticals (ICN Galenika), plastics (Grmeč), shues (Obuća Beograd), textile (TIZ, Zekstra), food, candies and chocolate (Soko Štark), metals (IMPA, Intersilver), wood and furniture (Gaj, Reprek), recycling (INOS metali and INOS papir), beverages (Coca Cola, Navip), chemicals (Roma), building materials (DIA, Anicom), electronics, leather, etc. In addition to this dozens of halls, and warehouses are built throughout both industrial zones.

Several important roads of Serbia run through the municipality. The Belgrade-Zagreb highway, the old (Batajnički drum) and new (highway) road Belgrade-Novi Sad, the still in construction starting point (Batajnica-Dobanovci) of the future Belgrade beltway (Batajnica-Bubanj Potok), Belgrade-Novi Sad railway, etc. Zemun has no bridges, apart from the seasonal pontoon bridge which connects the mainland with the Great War Island during summer. First bridge over the Danube, Galenika-Borča bridge is still in project.

Batajnica Airbasemarker with a limited civil traffic is also located in the municipality, near the Batajnica settlement.

City of Zemun


Zemun, Novi Grad
Zemun originally developed on three hills, Gardoš, Ćukovac and Kalvarija, on the right bank of the Danube, where the widening of the Danube begins and the Great War Island is formed at the mouth of the Sava river. The core of the city are the neighborhoods of Donji Grad, Gardoš, Ćukovac and Gornji Grad. To the south, Zemun continues into Novi Beograd with which it makes one continuous urban area (neighborhood of Tošin Bunarmarker). In the west it extends into the neighborhoods of Altina and Plavi Horizonti and to the north-west into Galenika, Zemun Polje and further into Batajnica.


Roman Sarcophagus

In ancient times, the Celtic and Roman settlement was known as Taurunum. The Frankish chroniclers of the Crusades mentioned it as Mallevila, a toponym from the 9th century. This was also a period when a Slavic name Zemln was recorded for the first time. Believed to be derived from the word zemlja, meaning earth, it was a basis for all other future names of the city: modern Serbian Земун (Cyrillic) or Zemun (Latin), Hungarian Zimony and German Semlin.


Population of Zemun according to the official censuses of population:

  • 1921 - 18,528
  • 1931 - 28,083
  • 1953 - 44,110
  • 1961 - 72,956
  • 1971 - 95,142
  • 1981 - 116,826
  • 2002 - 152,950


The area of Zemun has been inhabited ever since the Neolithic period. Baden culture graves and ceramics (bowls, anthropomorphic urns) were found in the town. Bosut culture graves were found in nearby Asfaltna Baza. The first Celtic settlements in Taurunum area originate from the 3rd century BC when the Scordisci occupied several Thracian and Dacian areas of the Danube. The Romans came in the 1st century BC, Taurunum became part of the Roman province of Pannonia (Moesia) around 15 AD. It had a fortress and served as a harbour for the Pannonian (Roman) fleet of Singidunummarker (Belgrade). The pen of Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso (Ovid) was said to be found in Taurunum. After the Great Migrations the area was under the authority of various tribes and states. Intermittently held by the Byzantine Empire, it was conquered by the Kingdom of Hungary in the 12th century. In the 15th century it was given as a personal possession to the Serbian despot Đurađ Branković. After the nearby Serbian Despotate fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1459, Zemun became an important military outpost. It finally fell to the Ottomans on July 12, 1521. In 1541, Zemun was integrated into the Syrmiamarker sanjak of the Buda pashaluk.

Zemun and the southeastern Syrmia was taken by the Austrianmarker Habsburgs in 1717 and became a feudal property of the Schönborn family. Zemun was the site of a peasant revolt in 1736, as well as continued border wars with the Ottomans. The Treaty of Belgrade of 1739 finally fixed the border, the Military Frontier was organized in the region in 1746, and the town of Zemun was granted the rights of a military commune in 1749. In 1754, the population of Zemun included 1,900 Orthodox Christians, 600 Catholics, 76 Jews, and about 100 Roma. In 1777, the population of Zemun numbered 1,130 houses with 6,800 residents, half of which were ethnic Serbs, while another half of population was composed of Catholics, Jews, Armenians and Muslims. Among Catholic population, the largest ethnic group were Germans. From this period originates the increased settlement of Germans and Hungarians in the Zemun.

Zemun prospered as an important road intersection and a border city. In 1816 it was greatly expanded by mass resettlement of Germans and Serbs in the new town suburbs of Franztal and Gornja Varoš, respectively. In the 19th century, Zemun reached 7,089 residents and 1,310 houses. Zemun also became important in Serbian history as the refuge for Karađorđe in 1813 as well as many other people from the nearby Belgrade and the rest of Serbia which was still under Ottoman rule.

During the Revolution of 1848-1849, Zemun was one of the de facto capitals of Serbian Vojvodina, a Serbian autonomous region within Habsburg Empire, but in 1849, it was returned under the administration of the Military Frontier. With the abolishment of the Military Frontier in 1882, Zemun and the rest of Srem was included into Croatia-Slavonia, an autonomous land part of the Hungarian kingdom. The first railway line that connected it to the west was built in 1883, and the first railway bridge over the Danube followed shortly thereafter in 1884.

During the First World War in 1914, Zemun changed hands between Serbia and Austria-Hungary, finally ending up in Serbia on November 5, 1918. The town became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenesmarker (later Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker). The inter-war period was marked by political struggle between the city gentry (organized into the Serbian Radical Party, Serbian Democratic Party and the Croatian Peasant Party) and the more socialist parties supported by the ethnic Germans.

In 1934 two intra-city bus lines were introduced connecting Zemun with the parts of Belgrade, and the general shift of attention towards this issue was supported by the growing Serbian population of Zemun. The Zemun airbases originally built in 1927 were an important geostrategic objective in the Axis invasion of April 1941.

During the Slobodan Milošević's regime late years, Zemun became a stronghold of notorious Zemun clan, one of principal organized crime cartels in Belgrademarker. The clan's criminal activity continued after Milošević's fall. Bosses and prominent members of this clan have been tried and convicted for the assassination of Serbian prime minister Zoran Đinđić.

Culture and education

View of Belgrade
Faculty of agriculture of the Belgrade University is located in Zemun, so as many other important higher schools (Internal affairs, Economics, Technics and machines, Medicine, Zemun gymnasium) and institutes (Institute for agriculture and forestry, Institute for mining, world famous Institute for corn in Zemun Polje, Institute for livestock, Institute for the implementation of the nuclear energy in agriculture, Institute for physics). Zemun has a Homeland museum and Madlenianum Opera and Theatre.

Two of Belgrade's major hospitals-clinical centers are located in Zemun: "KBC Zemun" and "KBC Bežanijska Kosa", so as the retirement home "Bežanijska Kosa", the largest one in Belgrade. Churches include the Gardoš cemetery church and the Hariš chapel, Saint Nicholas, Saint Archangel Gabriel and two Roman Catholic churches.

Zemun is known for many squares, though almost all of them are small in size: Magistratski, Senjski, Veliki, Branka Radičevića, Karađorđev, Masarikov, etc. On one of them, the Zemun open green market is located. The bank of the Danube is turned into Zemunski Kej, a kilometers long promenade, with various entertainment facilities along it, including barges-cafés, amusement park and especially formerly largest hotel in Belgrade, Hotel Jugoslavija.

Zemun is not rich in parks. The largest one is the City park (Gradski park, built in 1880, scheduled for reconstruction in 2008 ) and another one is Jelovac in Kalvarija. A small park on Mažuranić square was renovated in November 2007. It is first in Belgrade that has rubber ground under two children playgrounds.


The city has several stadiums, including those of the FK Zemun and Milutinac, with BSK Batajnica in Batajnicamarker. One of Belgrade's major sports halls, Pinki, is located in Zemun too.

Several football squads were existing in Zemun.

Before 1945, in Zemun there were four Croat football clubs:

and two German football clubs: Also, city of Zemun gave clubs like Šparta (worker's club) and ZAŠK, that in 1939 merged into SK Zemun .

Later, Zemun gave a football squad that occasionally played in Yugoslav 1. division, Galenika, later renamed into FK Zemun. Today, there're also squads Teleoptik, Zmaj and Milutinac.

Zemunski Grad and Gardoš tower

Gardoš tower
The remnants of the old town which existed during battles of Hungarians and Byzantines in 12th century are known as Zemunski Grad (Zemun Town). Today visible ruins however are of the medieval fortress (angular towers and parts of the defending wall) where forces of Kingdom of Hungary, 500 šajkaši crew (led by Croat Marko Skoblić) consisted of Croats and Serbs fought against invading Ottoman army of Suleyman the Magnificent in 1521. Despite hard resistance, Zemun fell on July 12 and Belgrade soon afterwards (see Fall of Belgrade ). On this place, the Kula Sibinjanin Janka (The tower of Janos Hunyadi) or the Millennium tower was erected. It was built and officially opened on August 20, 1896 to celebrate a thousand years of Hungarian settlement in the Pannonian plain. The tower was built as a combination of various styles, mostly influenced by the Roman elements. Being a natural lookout, it was used by Zemun's firemen for decades. Today, the tower is better known after the Janos Hunyadi, who actually died in the old fortress four and a half centuries before the tower was built. In general, Gardoš is today the most recognizable symbol of Zemun. For the most part, the neighborhood preserved its old looks, with narrow, still mostly cobblestoned streets unsuitable for modern vehicles, and individual residential houses.


Several football squads exist in Zemun that played in Yugoslav 1. division, Galenika, later renamed into FK Zemun. Today, there're also squads Teleoptik, Zmaj and Milutinac.

International cooperation

Zemun has developed cooperation with following towns and municipalities in foreign countries:

See also


  • Mala Enciklopedija Prosveta, Third edition (1985); Prosveta; ISBN 86-07-00001-2
  • Jovan Đ. Marković (1990): Enciklopedijski geografski leksikon Jugoslavije; Svjetlost-Sarajevo; ISBN 86-01-02651-6
  3. A manual of ancient and modern history ... William Cooke Taylor,Caleb Sprague Henry
  4. Vespasian-Barbara Levick
  5. Biographia classica: the lives and characters of the Greek and Roman classics-Edward Harwood
  6. Politika daily, November 6, 2007, p.24
  7. Beoinfo
  8. Sport u Zemunu
  9. Hrvatska riječ Hrvatski doprinos zemunskom naslijeđu, May 29, 2009
  10. [1] Stalna konferencija gradova i opština. Retrieved on 2007-06-18.

See also

External links

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