Belgrade is the northernmost tip of the region called Šumadija that got its name from vast forests (šuma) that once covered most of it. The same was true for the vicinity of Belgrade that had a number of oak and ash groves scattered around it. As the town spread, the woods were cut down and only a few trees survived. One of the rare survivors from these long gone days is the huge English oak on Cvetni trg. Over 200 years old, the oak casts its shadows over most of this small square, including the old marketplace, now a large supermarket. It is by far the oldest thing around as the first buildings sprung here only a hundred years ago. It is also the only large tree around, forming a sharp contrast with the surroundings.
With many sights to distract them, many of the locals don’t seem to care much about the oak tree, that is at least until Belgrade’s unrelenting sun starts burning and the people seated in open-air cafés, shoppers, florists and passersby start noticing the benefits of the green giant.
As for me, I find it to be the most beautiful sight in the square (which, by the way, does not lack in nice buildings), a living reminder of the past. I cannot pass by this magnificent oak without stopping and noticing how it changes through seasons. Actually, it would be hard to imagine Cvetni trg without this tree growing tall from its concrete.