Reconnecting With My Roots, A Trip To Serbia – Belgrade Part 1

By Goran Prvulovic

After having a busy past few weeks, I’ve been trying to re-establish a normal blogging schedule again. Last time, we finished up our rural escapades throughout Serbia’s countryside, brushing past one of it’s most famous cultural landmarks, the Golubac castle. Now we’ve reached the other half of this trip, which is focused on the capital city of Serbia, Belgrade.

According to Wikipedia, Belgrade literally means the “White City.” Located where the Danube and Sava rivers converge, the 1.6 million residents reside in one of the most culturally rich cities in the entirety of the Balkans. Evidence of ancient settlements on this key location on the river dates back to the 6th millennium, with various Thracian and Dacian tribes residing in the area before Roman occupation.


Among the most beautiful parts of the Serbian cultural scene is its architecture, most notably it’s churches. The city boasts one of the largest Orthodox Christian churches in the entire world, the Church of Saint Sava. Styled in a neo-byzantine fashion, this church has a capacity of over 10,000, and once completed, would be the largest church of its kind on the planet. Although much of the building is still under development, my son and I were able to browse through the beautiful mausoleum and crypt.


As is often the case with orthodox church’s, lavish decorations are usually the norm. This particular crypt was so adorned with various icons and images that I felt compelled to take some pictures of what I saw. The photo above features my son looking at the iconography of one of many walls depicting religious scenes (photo 1).

Here’s another picture of the same crypt but from a much different angle. Looking straight up at the hanging chandelier, the icons of four different saints split the image up in a slightly, off-centre fashion. It’s not the kind of sight you will stumble across your day to day life, and that’s especially why I like this scene as a photograph (photo 2).


Aside from the church of Saint Sava, the second most famous church in Belgrade is St. Marks Church. Completed in 1940 during world war two, this modern, Byzantine-styled building was built on the site of an older, previous church that dates back to 1835. Here is a frontal picture of the church (photo 3).


Another prominent church is St. Michael’s Cathedral, which I managed to take a couple of pictures of (photo 4 and photo 5). In both the photos above and below, I experimented with where I wanted to place the subject of my image. The clear sky above gave these images a charming simplicity, dividing the picture into three visual areas, the sky, the trees, and the church steeple. Either way, you can’t deny the effect having excellent weather has on your photographs.

Seeing again these types of buildings in this distinctly eastern European style is a refreshing change from the more bland looking churches the dot the landscape of North America, at least from an architectural and aesthetic standpoint.

Until next time,

Goran

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