April 11, 2018 Now and Then

Savski Square: From Traffic Hub to Prince’s Memorial

Serbian Prince Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the most important dynasty in medieval Serbia, will take his stand at Savski Square by the end of 2018.
The most recent confirmed plans to reconstruct the area at Savski Square involve the erection of a monument to Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja (1165-1228), founder of the Nemanjic dynasty and a great contributor to Serbian culture and history. Photo: gradnja.rs

Siri Sollie

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New plans for the city’s Savski Square and the area surrounding the former central railway station have been up for discussion for the last year.

One of the most profound changes has been relocating the railway station to Prokop, the new central train station, close to Hyde Park in the city centre’s Savski Venac Municipality.

But Savski Square is getting ready for more urban planning reforms, partly due to the construction of the controversial Belgrade Waterfront project.

Monument to an ancient prince

The most recent confirmed plans to reconstruct the area at Savski Square involve the erection of a monument to Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja [1165-1228], founder of the Nemanjic dynasty and a great contributor to Serbian culture and history.

The statue was initially intended for the area of the bombed Defence Ministry building, on Knez Milosa. However, last September, City Manager Goran Vesic reported that the statue would be erected at Savski Square and construction would finish by the end of 2018.

The city’s Secretariat for Culture on March 16 announced the winners of the proposals that took part in the tender to decide the future look of Savski Square, shaped by the monument to the prince.

Russian sculptor Professor Alexander Rukavishnikov from Moscow and architect and professor Petar Arsic are the authors of the winning proposal for the statue.

The design proposal reflects a certain Russian flair for monumentality. The conditions for the design, however, included that the monument had to be realistic, and Stefan had to be portrayed in his middle years.

The architects have also taken into account the ambient of the area as a whole, keeping in mind that the former railway station building will become a museum of Serbian Medieval history.

Byzantine influence

As the photos indicate, Stefan Nemanja will be placed at an ancient, Byzantine helmet. Underneath the helmet and the monument, a space is left for the gathering of the Serbian people, alongside scenes from Nemanja’s life.The outside will portray two of his most important legacies, the Studenica monastery in central Serbia and the Hilandar monastery on Mt Athos in Greece.

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