Names of Belgrade
Our city has often changed its names throughout history. Every conqueror wanted to leave a mark in our city with the new name of the city.
The Celts arrived in the city after the Thracian-Dacian tribes and named the newly formed settlement Singidun. There are several interpretations of the meaning of the word “singi”. The most common is that it is a circle, or a circular building. However, it is very likely that the name refers to the Dacian tribe Singi, who inhabited Banat area in the first century AD.
The Romans came to Belgrade in the first century AD and added a suffix – UM to the name of the city. This is most famous and longest preserved name of our capital Singidunum is created. At the same time, it received the status of a municipality, the second class of Roman’s city after the colonies. This means that Singidunum had its own self-government.
In the fifth century, Belgrade suffered conquests from various Eurasian tribes – Huns, Goths, Avars, Gepids, Ostrogoths and Byzantium, which finally took it under its reign in the middle of the sixth century and changed its established Roman name Singidunum to Veligradon.
The first mention of today’s name Belgrade is from the 9th century. We even know an exact date – April 16, 876 – when Pope John VIII wrote a letter to the Bulgarian prince Boris Mihajlo in which he mentioned our city as Belgrade.
During the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries,: Hungary, Bulgaria and Byzantium ruled over Belgrade.
At the time, he was referred to as Alba Graeca, in Latin language, which the Bulgarians renamed Alba Bulgarica, although the Slavic name remained during their reign.
The Hungarian or Hungarian name will change through the epochs. First, it was called Fehervar, then Nandoralba, and after the 14th century the two names merged into Nandorfehervar, which is again a literally translation of the White City. Belgrade was also known as Castel Bianco.
The arrival of the Ottomans in the city transforms him into Belgrade, in the infamous and far notorious version – Dar Al-Jihad, which means “house of holly war”.
In the 1940s, the Nazis tried to rename him Prince Eugene State, but the name still remained White City – Belgrade.