April 29, 2015

1550 SERBIA - Belgrade

1. Belgrade Fortress - Zindan Gate 2. The Church of Saint Sava
3. The Pobednik 4. The House of the National Assembly

Belgrade (White City), the capital and largest city of Serbia, located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans, has a long history, which started in the 6th millennium BC, with Vinča culture, one of the most important prehistoric cultures of Europe. In antiquity, Thraco-Dacians inhabited the region, the city being conquered by Celts, and then by the Romans. It was settled by the Slavs in the 520s, and changed hands several times between the Byzantine Empire, Frankish Empire, Bulgarian Empire and Kingdom of Hungary before it became the capital of Serbian king Stephen Dragutin (1282-1316).

In 1521 was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, in the following centuries frequently passing from Ottoman to Habsburg rule. Belgrade was again named the capital of Serbia in 1841. Northern Belgrade remained the southernmost Habsburg post until 1918, when the city was reunited. As a strategic location, the city was battled over in 115 wars and razed to the ground 44 times. Belgrade was the capital of Yugoslavia from its creation in 1918 to its final dissolution in 2006. Belgrade has wildly varying architecture, from the center of  Zemun, typical of a Central European town, to the more modern architecture and spacious layout of New Belgrade.

Belgrade Fortress, consists of the old citadel (Upper and Lower Town) and Kalemegdan Park (Large and Little Kalemegdan), on the confluence of the River Sava and Danube, on top of the 125.5-meter high ending ridge of the Šumadija geological bar, is the core and the oldest section of the urban area of Belgrade. It is known for its kilometers-long tunnels, underground corridors and catacombs, which are still largely unexplored. Placed at the southeast of the fortress, Zindan Gate was built in the mid-15th century and is connected with bridges to the Despot's Gate on the inside and Leopold's Gate on the outside. Since the 18th century, the Ottoman Empire used towers' basement as dungeon, a zindan, hence the name of the gate.

The Church of Saint Sava ranks amongst the ten largest church buildings in the world.  It is built on the  Vračar plateau, on the location where his remains were burned in 1595 by Ottomans. Since the late 19th century there were several attempts to erect the cathedral, but its construction began only in 1935, after a project made by architect Aleksandar Deroko, being completed in 2009. It has the form of a Greek Cross, and its main dome is 70m high, while the main gold plated cross is another 12m high. Its domes have 18 more gold-plated crosses, while the bell towers have 49 bells. It can receive 10,000 faithful at any one time.

The Pobednik (Lit: The Victor) is a monument built to commemorate Serbia's victory over Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empire during the Balkan Wars and the WWI, and is probably the most powerful, most popular visual symbol of Belgrade. Built in 1928 and standing at 14m high, it is one of the most famous works of Ivan Meštrović. he statue, holds a falcon, on watch for the new threats on the horizon, in the left hand, and a sword of war, ready to counter these threats in the right. It's looking over the vast Pannonian plain, towards the (at the time), Austro-Hungarian empire.

The House of the National Assembly, located on Nikola Pašić Square in downtown Belgrade, was built between 1907 and 1936, largely after a project made by the architect Konstantin Jovanović, in the neo-baroque style. The building contains 100 offices, a great and small plenary halls, four committee halls, and a library, and its interior was designed by architect Nikolaj Krasnov in the manner of academic traditionalism. It is decorated with 23 frescoes and numerous paintings, sculptures and other pieces of fine art. During the October 5th riots in 2000, 91 pieces of art work were looted, only 35 being found and returned to date.

About the stamp
The stamp is one of the two of the series Joy of Europe, issued on September 2, 2013.

Belgrade - Wikipedia
Gates of Belgrade - Wikipedia
Church of Saint Sava - Wikipedia
Pobednik - Wikipedia
House of the National Assembly of Serbia - Wikipedia

Sender: Ana Popović and the Serbian postcrossers who participated to the meet-up which held on Belgrade on October 26, 2013.
Sent from Belgrade (Serbia), on 26.10.2013

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