Tag Archives: flowers

Victorian Greenhouse

Jevremovac Botanical Garden Belgrade

~B~

We enjoy gardens and parks (here’s a post we did a while back about some of the local ones we enjoy around San Jose). In general, they’re a nice place to just go for a stroll – so when we explored Google maps to check out what was around us and found Jevremovac Botanical Garden we decided to give it a go.

Belgrade Botanical Garden Entrance

After a little research we also found that these gardens are allegedly actually one of the most visited natural monuments in Serbia despite not showing up on any “Things to do in Belgrade” type lists we found. If you are limited on time in Serbia you probably won’t get to it but if you’re there a while (we were there over a month) or nearby, it’s a nice place to go wander around for a little bit. In general, and this is the vibe we get from Belgrade as a whole – we found the area to be peaceful and pleasant.

Walking into the garden
Serbia

Altogether the park contains over 2,500 plant species spread over 12 acres. Some have labels to help you identify them.

Plant description
Spring

There are benches throughout certain areas of the park for anyone who gets tired or just feels like taking in the scenery and sounds of birds.

Park bench

Now, I’m sure the garden may appear different at different times of year, but also keep in mind that it’s not open year-round (info at the bottom).

RoseFlower

Anyway, you can wander about and enjoy the general park/forest garden, but there are also a few specific places within Jevremovac worth mentioning:

The Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden in Jevremovac

We really enjoy the aesthetic of Japanese Gardens. Of course, as far as I can recall we’ve only been to two others – the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose and the Japanese Garden on Margaret Island in Budapest (both impressive). We thought about visiting one in Vancouver which is supposed to be great but it was closed the day we planned to visit Vancouver (and prices were a bit high for us). This one was a little smaller than the other two but also very pretty.

Jevremovac
Japanese Garden

Not far from it there’s also this little bamboo area you can walk through which is neat.

Bamboo forest

The Greenhouse

Victorian Greenhouse
Outside the greenhouse

The greenhouse on the property was built in Victorian-style (which we enjoyed) in 1892 (and reconstructed again in 1970, 2005, and 2014) and contains over 1,000 species.

Greenhouse

Inside there are all kinds of different intriguing plants, succulents, and cacti.

Succulents
Jevremovac Botanical Garden
Cute Succulents
Succulents garden
Pretty flower
OrchidsWater drops

When we first made it to the greenhouse we also saw a couple cats and fortunately we had cat treats with us so we sat and enjoyed the company of one of them (the other one was scared).

Kyle feeding catCute cat

Old Oak

There is also a 150-year-old oak tree inside which is a natural monument itself. (Sorry, don’t have a pic of it.)

Now for a little history: the garden was created in 1874 by the Ministry of Education of Serbia. The first manager (Josif Pancic) is said to be the “father of Serbian botany”. So this place is pretty significant in Serbia in terms of plants. About a decade after its creation, the king (Jevrem Obrenovic) donated the garden to the Great School in Belgrade and named it Jevremovac in honor of his grandfather.

And here’s some basic info for a visit:
Cost: 250 Serbian Dinar (~$2/person)
Address: Takovska 43, Beograd, Serbia
Hours: 9am-7pm May 1 – Nov 1
Note: Keep in mind that this attraction is only open from May through November

Cute flower

Cedars of God

One of the primary reasons I wanted to visit Lebanon was to see the Cedars of God – the famed Lebanese Cedars. 

Cedars of God Tree

The Lebanese Cedar

The Cedar, which once covered nearly the entirety of the Mt. Lebanon range, has now been reduced to small fraction of it’s original expanse with only a few remaining groves in the nation – the Cedars of God being the oldest.

Cedars of God Views Mountain

Famed Throughout History

The Cedars are mentioned of importance across numerous cultures and religions. They gain their name from the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which the forest was protected by the Sumerian god Enlil, who lost a battle to humans. Though other Christian stories say that God planted the trees himself. The Cedars are referenced over 100 times in the Bible and were used to build Solomon’s Temple. The trees are also of significance to Pagans and Druze.

Cedars of God Tree

The trees were held in high esteem by the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Israelites, and Turks. The wood was considered of high quality and is attributed to the Phoenicians being the first sea-faring trading civilization. The Egyptians used it in some papyrus while numerous people used it for holy buildings and offerings. In all cases though, the trees were cut down and used without being replaced. The most notable cutters were the Phoenicians, and then later the Turkish for train fuel.

Briana and Kyle

Only a Few Remain

Today, only a few groves remain, although the Lebanese government has enacted measures to spread the tree’s range. Interestingly, they promote natural reforestation, instead of replanting, so the forests will be more wild.

We began our way to the Cedars by walking from our AirBNB in Bcharre. We intended to grab a taxi, but had no phone or way to get a hold of one beforehand. Ultimately, we were prepared to make the hike up to the forest. Thankfully, a taxi pulled up beside us a few minutes into walking. Getting in saved us from a 10 km hike with 800m elevation gain.

The drive took about fifteen minutes and $20, during which we steadily climbed the mountain. Bcharre and the Kadisha Valley shrank below us. At one point, the taxi driver pulled off to the side of the road and took our picture overlooking the valley. Jumping back in the car, we made our way to the entrance of the Cedars of God. The taxi driver kept insisting that he would wait outside for us and that it only took 30 minutes to see the forest. He then offered to come in and give us a tour (because he was also a tour operator).

View of Kadisha Valley

Getting In

We tried to turn him down, but he kept insisting. Briana managed to get him to understand that we did not want him to give us a tour, though he would still wait for us (we wanted to visit the Kadisha Grotto after). We also stated that we would be about an hour or so, although we kept telling him we’d rather do two.

Entry into the forest was by “donation”. There is no set fee, so you can donate however much you want. We paid 1000 LBP (~$0.66) each to enter. From there we descended a stone stairway that then led into the grove.

Path From the Entrance Cedar Of God

Exploring the Cedars of God

The fresh air was quite freeing, and cool fragrance of cedar and flowers floated through the air. The entire grove was blossoming with numerous flowers as millennia old cedar towered above. The path wove it’s way down a gully, and then made a few switchbacks as it moved it’s way uphill.

Flowers at Cedars of God
Cedar of Gods Forest 1

We came across the oldest tree in the park, estimated at 3000 years old. It was very large and gnarled.

Big Tree at Cedars of God

A Small Stone Chapel

We came around a turn and found ourselves at an old church. I wish I knew what the name was, but we found that most the plaques in the forest were devoid of any information. However, we ventured inside and found a stately chamber. Although it was dark, we could still see the glitter of gold on the art work.

Cedars of God Church Entrance
Cedars of God Church

Walking out of the church, we then made our way down a path that led towards a large central grove with a few stone ruins and some central trees.

Ruins at Cedars of God

See Jesus in the Trees

One tree in particular was roped off and at first I really didn’t understand why. But Briana said there were carvings and upon a closer look, noticed that numerous trunk sections had been carved to look like Jesus. The carvings were phenomenal and you could easily look at them for a long time.

Cedars of God approaching Jesus ree
Jesus Tree Carving at Cedars Of God
Jesus Tree Carving at Cedar of God
Jesus Tree Carving at Cedars of God

From there we then proceeded on through various winding paths through the forest for about another 45 minutes. The flowers were in full bloom. We would have liked to spend longer within the forest, but had the taxi waiting. Ultimately, we spent about an hour and fifteen minutes within the forest, but you could easily spend another hour if you take your time.

~K~

Cedars of God Meadow
Cedars of God Switchback
Cedars of God Path
Cedars of God Grove
Pine Needles at Cedar of Gods

Le Van Tam Park

~B~

On a majority of our actual activity outings on Saigon, we passed by this park called Le Van Tam Park. One day, we decided to make a stop there.

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The park is fairly large and pretty.

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There was an area with a bunch of flowers on display and for sale, probably due to Tet.

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Statue near the center.

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Exercise area (much like those in the parks in Korea). It was a really hot day and we grabbed a drink nearby.

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There is not much information about the park there but I found a little bit online. Allegedly the park is an old cemetery and some locals refuse to visit because of supersition.

It is a nice place if you are looking to just hang out, read, maybe do some yoga or have a picnic. There are also many nearby places to eat and various things to do in the area.

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