Belgrade, Serbia, September 2nd 2015.
Dear curling friends,
Not so long ago we were still writing long letters to our friends instead of short and instant e-mails or SMSs of today.
A good wish is nice when it’s said or sent in 140 characters but it’s longer lasting when it’s written on a piece of paper. Allow me few rows of written WELCOME TO BELGRADE, my home town, the capital of Serbia and a city with centuries of exciting history and culture (sometimes to exciting history…).
All of us in the National Curling Association of Serbia, Curling Association of Belgrade and DMC Vekol Agency are very excited to be your hosts to the best of our abilities. This is certainly a new page in a short history of Serbian curling. And this year is very special for us as it is 10 years since we delivered a first stone in Serbia (and Montenegro at that time) on February 18th 2005. That same year we were accepted as full members to National Olympic Committee of Serbia and we officially became part of the World Curling family as provisional members of the World Curling Federation during the AGM in Paisley (where better). Kate Caithness was one of the first to welcome our secretary general Miodrag Kastratović to the WCF together with Roy Sinclair.
Today, ten years later, Kate Caithness is one of the most successful presidents of the WCF, all of you are in Belgrade and we have started building the first curling hall in Serbia. These special moments are best shared with friends, more than 140 friends from 46 countries at the largest curling congress till now.
WELCOME TO BELGRADE, the city that has been a meeting point of different civilisations for centuries, Starčevo, Vinča, Celtic, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and of course the Slavs according to some historians the native civilisation and for some the nomad tribes that settled on the confluence of rivers Sava and Danube.
On its territory one of the most important world and European Neolithic archeological sites were found - Vinča the centre of Vincha Culture (5700-4500BC) that provides proofs of the earliest known examples of copper metallurgy in the World and farming technologies fuelling a population boom of that time and producing some of the largest settlements in prehistoric Europe.
Belgrade is like the Phoenix as it was destroyed and rebuilt more than 40 times in it’s recorded history and last time at the end of 20th century in 1999. by NATO.
For tourists this fusion of cultures is best expressed in the Serbian traditional cuisine, music and folklore which you can experience in Belgrade theatres, restaurants, cafes inland or on more than a 100 boat restaurants and floating discotheques moored along 220 km of river banks that makes Belgrade unique capital in Europe.
Referring to the city’s nightlife the Lonely Planet Guide named Belgrade “ONE OF EUROPE 10 HOT SPOTS” and Sunday Times declared Belgrade “A NEW CAPITAL OF COOL”. Belgrade also applied to become the “EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE 2020”!
After all you might have heard in the past about Belgrade, Serbia and Serbian people we hope you will have a memorable stay, a good, enriching and inspiring experience and that you will spread the good word to your friends. Just like other nations we also have a saying that “a friend of friend is my friend too”.
So, dear friends on behalf of Miodrag Kastratović our Secretary General, Dara Gravara-Stojanović our Vice-President, my self and all the Serbian curlers, I wish you WELCOME TO BELGRADE to 4th World Curling Congress, let this be only your first visit and we are grateful to the Spirit of Curling and the World Curling Federation that brought us together.
ДОБРОДОШЛИ ДРАГИ ПРИЈАТЕЉИ!