Belgrade A Cultural History (Cityscapes) by David A Norris

By David A Norris

Perched above the confluence of 2 nice rivers, the Sava and Danube, Belgrade has been domestic to many civilizations: Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Bulgars, Magyars, Ottomans and Serbs. A Turkish castle, the focal point for a Serbian principality, an highbrow and creative middle, town grew till it turned capital of Yugoslavia. Now it's one of many biggest towns in south-eastern Europe and capital of the Republic of Serbia. regardless of many demanding situations, Belgrade has resisted assimilation and created a special cultural id out of its many contrasting aspects, occasionally with incredible consequences.

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His own brother, Sava, a pious monk from Mount Athos, became the first archbishop of this newly-formed institution. Sava was later canonized and adopted as the patron saint of Serbia. Dragutin became the first Serbian king to rule from Belgrade in 1284 when he was given the city by the Hungarian King Stephen V whose daughter, Katarina, he married. The city, now linked to the Serbian lands further south and its natural hinterland, was in an advantageous position to expand. Under Dragutin’s stewardship the population grew and trade developed.

The conquering army drove out the whole civilian population from Belgrade, while a totally new community moved in. The city duly went through one of its frequent and complete transformations, belonging to a foreign empire, governed by men of a different religion, subject to a radically changed way of life. The Serbs usually referred to their new masters as Turks, or in Serbian Turci, although the term is inaccurate as the administrators, soldiers and governors in the service of the Ottoman Empire could come from any part of its vast territories.

Then, once across Slavija Square, with its throngs of circling traffic, we would climb to the Vračar plateau. There are two churches here, one large and new, the other smaller and older, both dedicated to St. Sava, sharing the space with the National Library. A monument stands in front of them, just as one stands on the Kalemegdan plateau. This memorial is in honour of Karađorđe, leader of the First Serbian Uprising at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the idea of the modern Serbian state was formed.

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