Sava Centar’s Renovation Marks a New Chapeter in Serbia’s Congress Industry


Miodrag Spahić - Feb 21, 2024

After a two-year complete renovation, Belgrade’s Sava Centar welcomed its first visitors on November 14th. Among them – 1.500 nutritionists, the participants of this year’s European Nutrition Congress – the first major event for the renovated Sava Centar, purpose-built to host a wide plethora of events, primarily congresses. ‘Due to various circumstances, the number of congresses dwindled while the Center was under public ownership.’ Says Kristina Milinčić, the venue’s CEO, and adds ‘Since its establishment, the Sava Centar has been envisioned and has thrived as a congress center, having hosted many globally significant political, scientific and business gatherings. The renovation aimed to enable the Sava Centar to host such events again, just like it was designed to do. Its renovation is not only important for Delta Holding; it is crucial to Serbia’s congress industry, and I dare say for the nation’s entire economy as well.’

The Sava Centar’s renovation was managed by Delta Real Estate, and its CEO and Vice President of Delta Holding, Angelina Nekić, further emphasized the Sava Centar’s wider significance, stating ‘With a renovated Sava Centar, Belgrade and Serbia are in a much better position on the map of congress destinations. The Sava Centar has Serbia’s largest congress, conference, and theater hall, and its brand transcends the boundaries of our country.’

Kristina Milinčić further explained how the Sava Centar’s capacities have tripled. The Main Congress hall now accommodates far more visitors, and the venue as such now has 46 halls with a large range of different capacities. She added ‘When you have a congress center that can accommodate thousands of people at once, your city has the capacity to become a meeting place for the best of the best in any field; a place for people to gather and exchange experiences and knowledge – a potential global focal point.’The venue’s CEO further stressed the essential role of the congress business in branding Belgrade as a business, cultural, and scientific hub that hosts decision-makers from various fields to meet and negotiate. ‘Their presence represents an opportunity to establish connections, communicate with global leaders, promote domestic expertise, and attract investments to exchange goods, services, and business models. It goes without saying that the congress industry has a multiplying effect on the overall economic, social, and scientific development of our city, and our country.

There is a noticeable increase in the number of congresses, conferences, and other gatherings and events, across Europe, and especially after the Pandemic. Organizers consider various criteria when choosing a city for their events. Serbia’s strategic location and Belgrade as the largest city in the region have been pivotal. Over the last decade, Serbia has seen significant growth in congress tourism, with Belgrade being among the top five cities chosen by congress organizers.“The opening of Sava Centar marks the beginning of a new era for Serbia as a destination. Our entire society can expect significant benefits because one of the symbols of the city is operational again,” says Dušan Borovčanin, Director of the Congress Bureau of Serbia.

“Congress attendees typically stay in the host country for three days and spend thousands of Euros during that time, significantly more than the average tourist,” says Kristina Milinčić. She emphasized that satisfied congress participants often return or establish business ties with the country, representing significant development opportunities not only for Belgrade and Serbia but also for the regional countries.

The investor, Delta Real Estate, fulfilled its obligation to preserve the purpose of this facility, conserving its architecture and interior elements – the Sava Centar is a protected architectural landmark. In addition to preserving the exterior appearance, the interior of the building has been renovated to the highest possible standards, whilst preserving the overall appearance. The foyer still greets visitors with the famous world map on the wall, green exposed ceiling pipes, orange fire hydrants, concrete elements, and many innovations. One of the new features, rare in the world but introduced here, is the technical innovation called the Immersive Hall, expected to be a significant attraction for event organizers.  Delta Real Estate bought Sava Centar in a public tender for 17.5 million Euros, promising to invest an additional 50 million Euros in its renovation. So far, more than 118 million Euros have been invested, resulting in a modern facility that meets and exceeds all the requirements to host the most demanding events. Angelina Nekić, Vice President of Delta Holding and CEO of Delta Real Estate, says that it will take 15 to 18 years for the investment to pay off, highlighting that for Delta Holding, the Sava Centar’s primary purpose is not profit, but rather a desire to contribute to the community.Spanning nearly 100,000 square meters, the unique concept of the largest congress, cultural, and business center in this part of Europe offers top-notch business and commercial spaces along with high-quality services and unlimited possibilities for all kinds of events. “The reimagined Sava Centar serves as an inspiration not only for the region but also for Europe,” says Angelina Nekić.“The congress industry is specific, requiring applications for events several years in advance. Large event organizers contacted us while the reconstruction works were ongoing, inquiring about available dates,” explains Kristina Milinčić, emphasizing their continuous efforts since Delta Real Estate acquired Sava Centar.

The reconstruction of Sava Centar was realized in two phases, following the pace at which it was built in 1977 and 1978. After the opening of the congress-business section, work continues on the renovation of the famous Blue Hall – set to welcome its first guests in the summer of 2024.


Over four decades, the largest congress-business center in this part of Europe has welcomed over 10 million visitors. Sava Centar hosted numerous business, professional, cultural, and political events. The Non-Aligned Movement Summit, General Assembly of the World Bank and IMF, UNESCO, and EBRD meetings were just a few among many highlights. In the 1980s, Sava Centar was recognized as one of the top ten congress centers globally. In just two years, 1980-81, it hosted 30 major international events with nearly 22.000 participants and 22 domestic significant gatherings (in addition to around 600 smaller ones) with approximately 16.000 participants.


The history of Sava Centar is a chronicle of Belgrade and Serbia’s social life during the past four decades. The masterpiece of the renowned Serbian architect Stojan Maksimović was constructed for the Conference on European Security and Cooperation (now OSCE). Maksimović received numerous domestic and international awards for this work, including a Pritzker Award nomination. A plaque at the entrance still bears the engraved words of the then-president of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, who officially opened the Sava Centar, acknowledging its significance in providing space for international events aimed at promoting peace and cooperation globally.


After its reconstruction, Sava Centar has become a smart and green building, unique in this part of Europe for its numerous ecological and other certifications. The building was designed not only to save but also to generate electrical energy, thanks to over 900 solar panels installed on its roof. The new glass facade consists of triple-layered glass, providing excellent thermal insulation, with a solar factor ranging from 25-35%. Practically, this means that during winter, the glass facade retains heat, while in summer the sun’s rays will have a much smaller negative effect on the temperature inside the building.


Following the example of the world’s most famous congress centers, the Sava Centar will be a true green oasis in the center of New Belgrade. The surroundings of the building, spread across more than 18 thousand square meters, feature new vegetation, while the interior is filled with plants that require less water for maintenance, tolerate dry periods better, and also act as excellent air purifiers.A: Milentija Popovića 9, Belgrade 11000, Serbia





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