The perfumer of Belgrade resists the development of time

Sava perfumery, located in the historical center of Belgrade, is the last handmade perfume shop that has been fragrant for three generations, tickling the senses of customers and tourists.

The Serbian capital has changed over the years, but time has not left its mark on this store, where skills are passed down from grandfather to grandfather.

This craft is the passion of the Yovanov family, even if it does not provide them with a decent living.

“We have remained true to tradition and our passion, and armed with our determination to continue this work that sometimes does not provide enough income,” says their elder Nenad Yovanov, 71, as he mixes perfume in a backroom, which resembles a laboratory.

golden age

This perfume was born during World War II, but did not bear its current name until a decade later, when the Yugoslav authorities authorized the establishment of the private foundation.

Hand-made perfume shops in Belgrade witnessed its “golden age” in the fifties and sixties of the last century, Nenad recalls, but the former Yugoslavia opened up to imports, and industrial perfumes soon overshadowed the production of handmade ones.

The situation was made worse by the sanctions imposed on Belgrade in the 1990s, when Yugoslavia was bloodily splintered.

living museum

“The shops started closing down one by one, and in the end there was only us left,” says Al-Attar.

When the customer enters the small shop, whose walls are covered with wood, Nenad or his son Nemanya, who works in the cinema sector, helps him find what he wants on shelves full of glass bottles.


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