History of Vračar

Everything begins on Vračar

Terms Vračar and Vračar field appeared for the first time in 1492, in the Turkish plan for Belgrade conquest, made on the request of Suleyman Pasha, theSanjak-bey of Smederevo. In the Turkish documents from 1560, Vračar was mentioned as the Christian district with 17 houses inside the city of Belgrade. In a chronicle from XVI century, which reported on cremation of the holy relics ofSaint Sava on April 27, 1594, Vračar was defined as future center of the Serbian spirituality: “The holy relics of Saint Sava, the first Serbian archbishop burned; Sinan Pasha from Mileševa monastery took them in the golden coffer and burned them on Vračar.”

On the place where the ashes of Saint Sava, the first Serbian archbishop, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and en-lightener were strewn, the beautiful Orthodox Temple was built. Although it is still in construction, the Saint Sava Temple became a symbol of the Serbian Orthodoxy and major peculiarity of Vračar and Belgrade. The Temple was built according to the project of architects Bogdan Nestorović and Aleksandar Deroko, made in 1930. The artificer – architect Branko Pešić manages construction works.

The Temple has its guardian. Just beside it, there is the small Saint Sava Church, built up in 1935 for only 57 days. It was made in Serbian-Byzantine style, according to the architect Viktor Viktorovič Lukominsky’s project, and it’s interior was painted with the selected copies of the Serbian middle age church paintingfresco’s, made by the Russian artificer Najdorf, with the help from zoo-graphs Obrascov and Diki.

Aside mosaics showing Saint Sava, the Church is decorated by iconostasis recently plated with gold, and dedicated to burning of the holy relics of the first Serbian archbishop and en-lightener. Iconostasis and two doors, dedicated to Saint Simeon and Saint Stefan Dečanski, were plated with gold by misters Sava and Dragomir Dimitrijević, whose workshop accomplished all gold plated works in the Church and on the Temple. This workshop is the only one dealing with gold plate works in churches today, and is located near the Temple. School for education in gold plating is also established in the workshop. Its main objective is to create the professionals capable to save the great church treasure from ruining.

Across the Temple, there is another beautiful architectural institution built up on the ashes of the previous one the National Library of Serbia. Library funds, completely destroyed in German bomb attack in April 6, 1941, have been hardly renewed for five decades. Today, with about 4 millions of library items, the new Library building is one of the most important national institutions.

The Library was found in 1832 owing to intervention of Gligorije Vozarević, owner of the first Serbian bookshop in Belgrade. He and his like-minded people, with the support of the prince Miloš Obrenović, managed to establish the national institution out of 800 literary items fund. Name of one part of Vračar –Crveni Krst (Red Cross) – is also connected with Gligorije Vozarević. He rose a reddish cross on its property in 1847, as a mark of the place where the holy relics of Saint Sava were burnt.

Colossal statue of the commander Karadorđe, the leader of the First Serbian rebellion, stands on a way to the Temple and the Library. The statue is faced toward the Karađorde park, a point from where Karađorde, with 15.000 rebellions and majority of the artillery, came in 1806 to conquer Belgrade. It is placed there to watch over the sources of the Serbian spirituality. On the other side of the park there is a monument dedicated to rebellions died in 1806 and built by the prince Aleksandar Karadorđević. It is the first built monument in Belgrade, with the following words written on it: “Aleksandar Karadorđević, the Serbian prince built here this monument in honor to the Serbian heroes, died bravely for their country in 1806.” Monument dedicated to the French poet Lamartine, third-call soldiers died in Belgrade defense in 1915 and the memorial tablet dedicated to victims of the German bomb attack in 1941 are located in the same park. On Easter Sunday in 1944 even worse crime occurred, when allied air-planes, coming back from Romania and without any reason, throw out their bombs on Čubura. In memory of that day, the drinking fountain was built near the Vračar Sport Center.

Vračar has about 80.000 inhabitants today. Occupying the area of almost 3 square km, it presents the most heavily populated municipality of Belgrade. Three boulevards make its boundaries – King Aleksandar Boulevard, Yugoslav Army Boulevard and Southern Boulevard. The most distant points of the municipality arc Secondary Architectural School “Vojislav Ilić” and “Beograđanka” department store, which holds, with its 100m of height, a priority among high-rise buildings on Balkan. The most significant republic institution on Vračar, besides National Library, is the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments.

It’s primary task is preserving of cultural, primarily architectural values, which are numerous on Vračar. The most significant architects, who lived in the first half of XX century and left their trace should be mentioned – Milan Zloković, bard of the Serbian expressionism; Milutin Borisavljević, aesthetic and architect; Momčilo Belobrk, Serbian modernist and follower of non-ornamental architecture; Josif Najman, follower of romantic academic architecture; Branislav Bojić, supporter of folkloric art, academic-ism and modernism; Dragiša Brašovan, follower of neoclassicism, who projected the building in 51 Krunska street, where Nikola TeslaMuseum is placed. The urn and complete personal inheritance of the great scientist, his large correspondence, numerous technical drawings and a number of original photographs are kept in the Museum. The urn with the ashes of Nikola Tesla is preserved in the special room.

Natural History museum in Njegoševa street has a collection of over 900.000 exhibits.

Four theaters are located on Vračar. Besides the professional one, Belgrade Theater, there are two amateur theater associations that achieve professional results – DADOV and Theater Left, with the small theater “Snail” for the future big people.

Head office of the oldest publishing house in Serbia, Serbian Literary Association, as well as one of the oldest and most renowned grammar schools – Third Belgrade Grammar School are also located on Vračar. There are also Fourteenth Belgrade Grammar School, Secondary Technical School “Bora Marković”, Fine Arts Center, School for elementary musical education “Josif Marinković”, three secondary music schools -“Stanković”, “Mokranjac” and “Slavenski” and six elementary schools -“Vladislav Ribnikar”, “Siniša Nikolajević”, “Sveti Sava”, “Sava Kovačević”, “Svetozar Marković” and “Milica Pavlović”, which is a foundation of the king Petar Karadordević, and the Special elementary school “Dušan Dugalić” for growth-defected children. School of Dental Medicine is the only high-education institution on Vračar.

Regarding medical institutions, the Institute for blood transfusion, the Institute for dental protection, Polyclinic for students, Health care center, as well as head offices of two important pharmaceutical organizations -“Hemofarm” and “Beograd” are located on Vračar.

Sport center offers a great number of recreational activities. The center includes handball club, swimming club, volleyball club, club for synchronized and artistic swimming, table tennis and tennis clubs, dance club, fighting skills club and others. Stadium of the football club “Obilić”, which competed in the First league, is also located on Vračar. “Obilić” is a name of the chess club as well, which gave three FIDA masters. Vračar municipality is a patron of the Easter Day race on the Belgrade racecourse. Restaurants are probably the most famous sights of Vračar. Although many of them disappeared forever, like “Tabor”, “Toplica”, “Složna braća”, “Tri lista duvana”, “Golubac”, “Orač” and “Kikevac”, where the famous musician Carevac played with his orchestra, some of them survived – former “Trandafilović’, “Sokolac”, “Vitava”, “Kalenić”, “Mlava”, “Šumadija”, “Orašac”, “Zona Zamfirova” and “Mala Madera”. Some restaurants have Rosen afterwards, like “Čubura”, “Ras” and “Čuburska lipa”.

They have always been and still remained the gathering places of poets, writers, journalists and bohemians, and of withering middle class. “Trandafilović” still keeps the memory of the famous Serbian writer Borislav Pekić, while over “Čubura” watches the spirit of the poet and bohemian Slobodan Marković alias Libero Markone, after whom the square in front of the restaurant got the name.

The famous craftsman center “Gradić Pejton”, first of a kind opened in Belgrade, is placed on the same site. Shopping center is located in front of the Saint Sava Temple. Although it was built as temporary facility, the architect tried and succeeded to adjust the center to the environment of Kalenić market, one of the oldest and most popular green markets, which is located in the middle of Vračar municipality.

Municipality Assembly established the Saint Sava Day as its patron’s day. It should be noted that His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle officiated on the first ceremony in January 25, 1994. Since April 1993 the Vračar municipality has its coat of arms and lances. Author of them is Mr. Dragomir Acović, president of the Serbian Heraldic Association “White eagle”. The coat of arms is the symbol of all inhabitants of Vračar.

Aleksandar Arsenijević

Belgrade, 2004

ANTHEM of Vračar
(Text: Ivan V. Lalic)

(Composed by г. Рајко Максимовић)

Врачар, то је златно слеме и купола нашег града;
Врачар, то је гордо време, летописа Београда.


Карађорђе, Свети Сава историју овде ствара.
Београде, твоја слава то су звуци са Врачара.

На Врачару ватре горе из којих се феникс рађа;
На Врачару свићу зоре, да векови проговоре.

Карађорђе, Свети Сава историју овде ствара.
Београде, твоја слава то су звуци са Врачара.


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