Sunday, May 12, 2019

A wedding, Belgrade, Serbia: May 10-11, 2019

View of the Danube and Sava Rivers from the Belgrade Fortress
From Skopje, Macedonia, we traveled to Belgrade, Serbia, to attend the wedding of Ana and Alex. Dan had the pleasure of working with Ana in 2012 and again in 2014 while he was working at Partners Serbia. Ana graciously invited us to attend her wedding.

The location of the wedding was about 30 minutes outside of Belgrade on a hillside covered with blooming, fragrant locust trees. Since we were picked up and taken to the wedding, I can't pinpoint the exact location. The wedding was outside on a patio within the locust tree forest. After the wedding, guests stood in line to have their photos taken with Ana and Alex before heading into the reception.

 

The reception was in a space I can only describe as a glass box perched like a jewel within the locust tree forest. It was beautiful and when it began to get dark, small lights overhead came on much like stars shining in a dark sky.



After we'd had our fill of great Serbian food and wine, we danced to American rock and roll and Serbian Folk tunes. We had a great time, and Ana and Alex make a handsome couple.


Before the wedding event, we spent some time reacquainting ourselves with the beautiful city of Belgrade. We visited the newly opened National Museum as well as several churches.

The best place to get a view of the city is from the fortress. The Belgrade fortress is very well maintained with lots of green spaces both inside and surrounding the walls. From the overlook you can see where the Sava River merges with the Danube River.





A couple of Orthodox Churches are built just outside the walls. First, the small, vine-covered Ružica Church at the Fortress' Zindan Gate was an 18th century gunpowder magazine before it became a church in 1867. It was leveled in the 1915 Austrian demolition of Belgrade and reconstructed after World War 1 in 1925. Now, the church's doorway is guarded by a bronze statue of a soldier from the 1912-1913 era Balkan Wars and a medieval soldier. Both were created from melted down war materials. The iconostasis, the icons and the wall paintings were created in 1938. The interior of the church is elegantly serene.



The chapel of St. Petka built in 1935 sits on a nearby slope at the site of a spring said to work miracles. The interior is covered with spectacular mosaics created between 1975 and 1982.

Chapel of St. Petka



We once again visited the Temple of St. Sava to check on the progress of its construction. The reason for its existence is because on this site in 1594 Ottoman Turks (Koca Sinan Pasha) burned relics of St Sava, the founder of the Orthodox church, who lived 1175-1237. The church was begun in 1936 and all work is financed by contributions. Construction was paused during the second World War and the subsequent establishment of communism in Yugoslavia. The temple is the biggest orthodox church in Southeastern Europe by volume and the tallest in the world. The interior (not accessible on this visit) will be covered with mosaics. Now, only the below-ground level crypt and Church of St. Lazar are open to visitors. The walls are covered with gold and paintings of those martyred by the Ottomans. When complete, the church will accommodate 10,000 people and has room for 2,100 choir members.

Temple of St. Sava
The below ground Church of the martyred St. Lazar
It was great to have a reason to return to the beautiful city of Belgrade if only briefly. Our next destination is Italy for our walking vacation.

Particulars:
Boutique Garni Hotel Townhouse 27
Marsala Birjuzova 56, Belgrade, Serbia
Small, comfortable hotel, well located, friendly staff and owner

Vuk Restaurant for excellent seasonal Serbian specialties
Vuka Karadzica,12, Belgrade

Toro Latin Gastrobar for food with modern Pan Latin food
Karađorđeva 2, Belgrade

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