Leaping into the Future without the Belgrade Gondola? – eKapija Investigates Whether the Project of the Construction of the Gondola Between Usce and Kalemegdan Has Been Abandoned

Source: eKapija Monday, 01.04.2024. 11:48
(Photo: AGM)
Announced for years, the project of the Belgrade gondola seems to have been put on hold lately, because, officially, at least according to the planning document, it hasn’t been abandoned. However, in the ambitious plans for the “Leap into the Future”, the project of the gondola from Usce to Kalemegdan is not there.

Whether the project is still being planned eKapija has tried to learn from official institutions, the City of Belgrade and the City Urban Planner Service, but we didn’t receive a response before the publication of this article. What we do know is that the city budgets for this and next year do not plan funds for its realization, at least for now.

The Decision on the Temporary Financing of the City of Belgrade for January-March 2024, next to the item of the capital expenditure/project “Construction of a gondola in Belgrade”, it says that funds are not planned for 2024 and 2025, whereas RSD 420 million is planned for that purpose for 2026.

The gondola project is also partially mentioned within the contest for the area of the Friendship Park-Usce and the preliminary design of the Natural History Museum in Belgrade, which was opened by the Natural History Museum and the Association of Belgrade Architects. As part of this contest, the participants are expected to make propositions for the Natural History Museum and the locations of the Museum of the 21st Century Art, an aquarium and a panoramic wheel in Usce.

The graphics attachment “The Plan of Building Parcels with Execution Guidelines”, which is an integral part of the contest documentation displays the parcels which have been formed for the columns of the gondola system, and the route of the gondola has been marked as well.

In the answers to the questions of the designers interested in taking part in the contest, the commissioning and implementing authorities say:

– The marked route of the gondola is a purpose zone, but not a non-building zone. Construction beneath the gondola route is possible on all levels (aboveground and underground), but only so that it doesn’t jeopardize the gondola route in terms of the height and so that the proportions of the horizontal projection of the construction do not cross into the parcels which have been formed for the columns of the gondola (the marks S8* to S11* in the graphics attachment “The Plan of Building Parcels with Execution Guidelines”) – says one of the answers.

The graphics attachment “The Plan of Building Parcels with Execution Guidelines”, which shows the gondola route (Photo: Raspis i program konkursa Prirodnjački muzej u Beogradu)The graphics attachment “The Plan of Building Parcels with Execution Guidelines”, which shows the gondola route

When asked “Is the construction of the gondola planned and, if so, in which zone around and beneath it can facilities be located? Is it possible to get the cross-sections and drafts of the gondola project?”, they answer that “The commissioning and implementing authorities have no findings about whether the construction of the gondola is planned from this opened contest.

Belgrade gondola chronology

The gondola which is to connect Kalemegdan and Usce, 1 km long, which will be able to transport 3,000 people per hour, was announced back in 2016.

The construction of the gondola from Kalemegdan to Usce was announced in 2016 by the then mayor of Belgrade, Sinisa Mali. According to the announcements, the construction of the gondola was supposed to begin in September or October of 2017.

Mali then emphasized in November 2016 that the designing and the amendment to the detailed regulation plan should be completed seven to eight months from then and added that he expected the project to start by the end of 2017.

At the end of 2016, the Ski Resorts of Serbia opened the tender for the preparation of the technical documentation for the construction of the Usce-Kalemegdan gondola, and in March 2017, the members of the City Assembly of Belgrade adopted the decision on the preparation of the detailed regulation plan for the Kalemegdan-Usce gondola. The preparation of the plan was entrusted to the Institute for Architecture and Urban Planning of Serbia.

In August 2017, the beginning of the works was announced for the spring of 2018, and in September 2017, the Detailed Regulation Plan for the gondola was presented. The plan envisages for the gondola line to be around 1 km long and to transport 3,000 passengers per hour in both directions. It is planned to have 30 to 35 cabins which will be able to take in 10 to 35 passengers.

At the end of 2017, it was announced that the construction would cost RSD 1.8 billion.

The Detailed Regulation Plan was adopted in June 2018, and the agreement worth EUR 15 million was signed in October by the then minister of trade, tourism and telecommunications of Serbia, Rasim Ljajic, the then mayor of Belgrade, Zoran Radojicic, and the director of the PE Ski Resorts of Serbia, Dejan Cika.

The agreement with the contractors was signed at the end of 2018, and in February 2019, the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure issued the location permit.

The future look of the gondola was soon presented, and the then mayor of Belgrade, Zoran Radojicic, announced the beginning of the construction for May 2019.

In March 2019, in the Usce Park and Kalemegdan, the trees were cut in the area planned for the construction of the gondola.

In April 2019, the Administrative Court in Belgrade reached the decision whereby it ordered the cessation of works on the construction of the gondola in Kalemegdan until the reaching of the final decision on the legality of the building permit which the Ministry of Construction had issued for the preparatory works.

When asked what had happened to the project of the gondola in Kalemegdan, the still current president of the Temporary Organ of the City of Belgrade, Aleksandar Sapic, said in September 2022 that the court would decide on whether the project jeopardized the cultural and historical legacy of Kalemegdan. He added that the project was legitimate and that “people voted for that political option.”

– If it doesn’t jeopardize the legacy, it will be carried out, if it does, it won’t. The project is not so expensive that it would have to be abandoned – said Sapic.

I. Zikic

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