December 24, 2008

St.Sava Temple in Belgrade

The largest orthodox church building in the world is in Belgrade, it’s the St.Sava’s Temple (Hram Svetog Save) situated in the Vracar District. The church holds a dominant position in Belgrade's cityscape and is visible from all approaches to the city. Indeed its place is well choosen, as it finishes the line of landmarks kalamegdan (the city fortress)-trg republike (the main square)-beogradjanka (the tower building)-slavija circle (a main juncition) and the Svetosavski Trg with the Temple. Here a picture of the church taken from our terrasse in Novi Beograd. The construction preparations have lasted for a very long time, ever since 1894 and until now the construction was financed only by dionations. In 1905 a architectural competition was launched, but all 3 aplications were rejected as judged not good enough for such an important building. At an open competition in 1926 the architectural design of Bogdan Nestorović was selected among the 22 entries, with later incorporation of several elements of the project of another architect: Aleksandar Deroko. Construction was interrupted by German attacks on Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941. It was not until the summer 1984 that the state permission was obtained to continue the construction works, so on April 30, 1985, the temple, thorn by war and human negligence, was conscrated again. The works were directed by Branko Pešić, an architect and university professor. The interior is far from being finished. Here a picture I made in 2005, I was pretty surprised to find some trucks inside the church. Here current pictures from the main website of the temple, but still a lot of works needs to be done.

In 2004 an open town planning and architectural design competition was held, and I would like to mention the entry from ARCSV that proposes an interesting aproach illuminating the temple from a skyscraper.

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