Monday, June 25, 2007

Guidebook news: Belgrade, Kosovo, and more

From Serbia news reaches me of a new entrant in a surprisingly crowded field: city guides to Belgrade. How to Conquer Belgrade is a locally produced guidebook that aims to provide visitors with an insider's view of the city, taking an honest and wryly humorous look at Serbia's idiosyncractic capital. In addition to the usual descriptions of monuments and museums, you can find out about the best songs to request from a Roma brass band, which cafes are frequented by girls who like books, and which part of the stadium you should sit in at a Red Star home game. The guide comes with a separate map of the city, and is available in six languages.

Another new city guide is the Bradt Mini Guide to Zagreb. Croatia's capital is often overshadowed by the more obvious attractions of the coast, so it's nice to see it getting a guidebook if its own. Bradt have also published new editions of their guides to Croatia and Dubrovnik.

Lonely Planet have also been updating their range of single-country guides. The 4th edition of Romania and Moldova is still, as far as I know, the only guidebook with any kind of decent coverage of Moldova. Although I prefer the Rough Guide to Romania, right now LP is considerably more up to date - hopefully Rough Guides will follow suit with a new edition soon. Meanwhile Lonely Planet Slovenia has moved on to its 5th edition.

Perhaps the most interesting piece of news is about a book that doesn't yet exist. Bradt Guides have pioneered the publication of dedicated guides to small Balkan countries, so it's not surprising that they plan to produce the first English-language Guide to Kosovo. The expected publication date is September 2007 - sadly too late for the hordes of foreign tourists who are no doubt planning to descend on Kosovo this summer.

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