Church on Sunday: St. George’s Church, Topola, Serbia
It’s 2011, but I’m still digging into our 2010 adventures for y’all. In fact, this was the first church we saw in Serbia. It was our first Saturday here and we were invited to join a winery tour near Topola. Since we were running early (practically a sin in Serbia) our hosts decided to stop by St. George’s Church and the Oplenac Royal Mausoleum.
Hard to believe that was only 11 weeks ago. It feels like, well, last year.
We weren’t sure what to expect as we walked up a steep hill and entered the marble building. We certainly didn’t expect the jaw-dropping sight of frescoes and mosaics covering every inch of the church.
King Petar I commissioned the Church in 1912, but the mosaics weren’t installed until the 1920s. Murano glass tiles cover 38,000 square feet and depict 1,500 figures in 725 compositions, using 15,000 different colors. The scenes are copied from 60 Serbian medieval churches. Let’s just say it was designed to impress.
The center of the church also features a beautiful candelabra made from melted-down World War I weaponry.
The mausoleum holds King Petar’s remains and many remains of the Royal Karadorde family. Karadorde Petrovic was the leader of the first Serbian uprising against the Ottoman Empire, and King Petar was proclaimed King of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, so the church and mausoleum are an important part of Serbian history. But you don’t have to know Serbian history to appreciate the beauty of the church.
After our tour, we headed to the Aleksandrovic winery and feasted on great food and wine. We may not be members of the Serbian royal family, but we felt like it by the end of the day.