Read, Write, Run, Roam

When it comes to shoe repair, Belgrade dwarfs the competition


Should you wake up in a foreign city with no recollection of where you are, look out the window. If there’s a lingerie shop, obucar (cobbler), and hairdresser on your street, congratulations! You’re in Belgrade.

Belgrade has the highest obucar-to-person ratio in the world.* If these numbers are any indication, it’s a pretty good business. Like most other cities, Belgrade obucar also provide key-cutting services. (Begging the eternal question, what does shoe repair and metal filing have in common?) I’m not surprised that there are so many obucar here. Everyone walks in Belgrade and shoes are expensive to replace. But I am surprised that every single obucar has one of these in the window.

Where do these come from? Is one given with every cobbler license? “Congratulations Milan, here is your obucar certificate and cermonial troll to put in the window.” Whatever the reason, no obucar seems complete without one. Belgrade shoe repair is not for the pediophobic.

This is my obucar of choice. He’s reasonable, fast, and has FOUR trolls in his window. That’s got to mean something, right?

*Completely invented fact

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2 responses

  1. Agnieszka

    Dear RHOB,

    I think these dwarves are from German fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. They represent different type of professions or characters. I think Serbs connect them to manufacturing process. Most of dwarves are hard working characters (Germans love them in gardens) so I presume this Obucar wanted to show that he is a hard working and reliable person. Look, they have aprons and some tools in their hands! They are at work!
    BTW, in England shoe repairs place is always linked to little shops where they sell batteries and provide key cutting or engraving services. And everybody seems to think it’s somehow connected. Very convenient.

    October 17, 2011 at 4:39 pm

  2. I thought about the seven dwarves but I figured since none of them made shoes that it wasn’t connected. I may be wrong, though. I kind of want a dwarf. Maybe I should become a cobbler. It might save me a lot of money.

    Batteries!?!? I’ve never heard of that. In the US they almost always have key cutting services but nothing else. That’s why I love my readers. I am always learning something new.

    October 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm

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