• Daniel Solomou

Orthodox Church of Saint Sava in Belgrade used as a tank's parking in WW2 |Read to learn more

Updated: Aug 17


General Informationℹ️



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History 📑


Saint Sava (1175–1235), the patron saint and national hero of the Serbian people, was born Rastko Nemanja in 1175, the son of Serbian Grand ŽupanStephen (r. 1166-1196). Serbia was still a relatively young nation, having freed itself from the Byzantine Empire in the previous century. In 1077 Duklja became the first Serb kingdom, its founding being intimately interconnected with the establishment of the Roman Catholic Bishopric of Bar.


Petar Arnautović painted the final Nestorović/Deroko model in 1932. As thus it was publicly presented through newspaper outlets.

On the 300th anniversary of the burning of Saint Sava's body, a group of Serbian Orthodox believers founded the Society for the Construction of the Cathedral of Saint Sava on Vračar with the idea of building a cathedral on the site. Initially, a small church was constructed and the search began to find an adequate design.


History 📑 of Engineering 🏗


Forty years after the initial idea, construction of the church began on 10 May 1935, 340 years after the burning of Saint Sava's remains. The cornerstone was laid by Metropolitan Gavrilo of Montenegro, (the future Serbian Patriarch Gavrilo V).


The project was designed by Aleksandar Deroko and Bogdan Nestorović, aided by civil engineer Vojislav Zađina. The work lasted until the Second World War Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941.


The church's foundation had been completed, and the walls erected to the height of 7 and 11 meters. After the 1941 bombing of Belgrade, work ceased altogether.


The occupying German army used the unfinished church as the Wehrmacht's parking lot, while in 1944 the Red Army, and later the Yugoslav People's Army used it for the same purpose. After that, it was used for storage by various companies.

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Church Foundations

The Society for Building of the Church ceased to exist and has not been revived. Children who grew up in the vicinity, including the future President of Serbia Boris Tadić, didn't know the intended purpose of the unfinished construction, so they played inside thinking it was a ruin of an old castle.


The granite slabs, intended for the construction of the church, were used for the building of the Tomb of People's Heroes in 1948, in the Kalemegdan section of the Belgrade Fortress.


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Source: Wikipedia

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