When history intertwines with natural beauties, you get an incredible adventure. Join us on a tourist visit around Topola and Oplenac – the Endowment of the Karađorđević dynasty. This small town in the heart of Šumadija surrounded by hills and hummocks is a proud place which was the starting point of liberation of the Serbian people from the Turk occupation.
The Karađorđević dynasty
The founder of the Karađorđević dynasty, Đorđe Petrović, known throughout history and sung in many folk songs as Karađorđe, led the Serbian people to liberation from the Ottoman Empire spurring the First Serbian Uprising (1804). Topola, the seat of the leader, became the first capital of the liberated Serbia, and nowadays tourists can visit the Church of Karađorđe, the leader’s residence, as well as barracks dating back to the times of the Serbian Revolution. This “historical core” represents a small preserved part of the former Topola which was damaged and destroyed many times by the Turks and in inter-dynasty conflicts between the Karađorđević and the Obrenović.
On the road with us to Oplenac
Oplenac and church of St. Đorđe
The magnificent church of St. Đorđe on the Oplenac hill is unique in this part of Europe. It is the Endowment of the King Peter I. Due to the Balkan wars and World War I he did see it raised to the roof, so the works on completing the endowment were carried out during the reign of the King Alexander. It is also the mausoleum of the royal family where most of the dynasty members are buried. The beautiful variety of motifs and colours that immediately catch your eye when you enter the church emanate from a mosaic of more than 40 million glass cubes.
In addition to the church, visitors can also see the museum exhibition set in Peter’s house, as well as king’s wine cellar. Proud of the history of the area, people used to sing “Oplenac is a holy place, there will be a throne in the Balkans”. Our interlocutor, the endowment’s manager Dragan Reljić, confirms the importance of this complex:
Topola itself and the Endowment of the King Peter is one of the most popular places in Central Serbia visited by more than 100,000 tourists a year.
Oplenac hillside, along with other hills in the area, are mostly covered with vines grown in this area since the Middle ages. Former capital of Serbia during the Karađorđević dynasty, today Topola is a wine capital of our country.
Oplenac vineyards are considered one of the most promising in Europe so it does not come as a surprise to encounter a large number of mostly private wineries in the area. Our famous athlete Novak Djokovic also created his vineyard here.
We visited one of the most successful wineries, Aleksandrović, which went a step further and in addition to wine production, successfully develops wine tourism. Over 250 organized groups of tourists visit their cellars every year, of which more than a half are foreign guests. Naturally, every wine tour ends with degustation of this premium drink.
Did you know?
- Karađorđe was 1.90 m tall and was said to be one of the tallest people in Serbia then.
- When he was in Petrograd, he dyed his hair black following the advice of a painter who made the only known portrait of the Serbian leader.
- He was illiterate, all documents were signed by his secretary.
- He got angry when people called him “Black Djordje”, he was often unhappy unhappily because of Serbia.
- He was killed with an axe: people thought he was so strong that a bullet would bounce off him.
- His body was moved as many as four times, and a legend has it that a severe storm descends on Serbia on the day of his murder.
This is our Serbia, beautiful, rich in historical heritage and magnificent nature, it seems to tell us that we have something to keep, something to truly enjoy and be proud of.
So travel with us, travel after us, visit Serbia, explore its treasures. And in two weeks we will take you on a new adventure.
Useful tips for your trip
- Be ready for a hundred-meter ascent from the parking space in the Karađorđević Endowment Complex to the St. Đorđe Church in Oplenac.
- Bring along a bottle of water because at the top of Oplenac where the church is located there is only a souvenir shop. You might need it especially if you decide to take a walk in the park.
- You will not want to go on a trip without a camera or mobile phone – there are so many beautiful landscapes for you to photograph and capture!