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This post is a continuation of a series of blog posts I've created to share a special birthday cruise we took on the Danube from Budapest to Bucharest.
Tito's tomb, Belgrade, Serbia
Our Danube cruise was in 2009, but it's taking much more time to tell you about it than it took to plan it.  Oh well.  Again, it's been fun for me to go back and look at our photos, do some reading and decide what to share.  I know many have enjoyed these posts and since I'm more than halfway to Bucharest let's check in on Belgrade, Serbia again before heading downstream.
One of the more fascinating stops in Belgrade was Josep Broz Tito's tomb and museum site where state gifts and other artifacts are on display.
Tito bronze statue, Belgrade, Serbia
Tito was the President of Yugoslavia from 1953 until his death in 1980.  Although he was considered authoritarian, a dictator, he was beloved by most of Yugoslavians due to his reforms and successful economic policies.  He was popular around the world and managed to stay unaligned and independent through the cold wars.  After the breakup of Yugoslavia it seems that one of his greatest strengths was his liberal policy on religion which kept the ancient differences Orthodox and Muslim religions from being intolerant to point of war.  One can get a synopsis of his accomplishments and life on Wikipedia.
This museum complex is very much like the U.S. Presidential libraries and museums that are built after one of our presidents retires.  For example Tito's office with elaborately carved desk is on display. 
Tito's Museum, Belgrade, Serbia
The following two photos are of wood furniture inlaid with mother of pearl.  They were a gift from some country, but unfortunately the labels did not include English.  They speak for themselves though, don't they?
Tito's Museum, Belgrade, Serbia
Furniture, Tito's Museum, Belgrade, Serbia
In grade school we had to memorize the leaders of the world.  Tito and Hirohito were two of my favorites, because I never forgot them.
Although at first glance you might think that Tito was very fond of beer or at least collecting taps, these are actually running relay batons.  22,000 of them.  From 1945 to 1987 relays were organized across the country on Tito's birthday.  They usually began in Tito's hometown in Croatia and culminated in Belgrade.  Ceremonial batons would be given to Tito as gifts.  By 1950 there were over 1 million runners involved!  It became known as the Relay of Youth.
Relay Race Batons, Tito Museum, Belgrade, Serbia
Relay Race batons, Tito Museum, Belgrade, Serbia
Relay Race batons, Tito's Museum, Belgrade, Serbia

Silver Baton, Tito's Museum, Belgrade, Serbia

I love the filigree and embossing work on this silver baton.

Relay Race batons, Tito's Museum, Belgrade, Serbia

Yes, I do see now how they could be seen as phallic.

Photos of Relay Race - Tito's Museum
There many many gifts from foreign dignitaries displayed.   I could've spent a lot more time admiring the artwork and collections.
I'll have one last post on Serbia with some architectural type of photos before our next stop in Bulgaria.
Thank you for your patience and hope you enjoy the rest of the trip!


This is a part of the world

This is a part of the world that is top of my bucket list .... can't wait to plan a trip!

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