The Cathedral of Saint Sava


The Cathedral of Saint Sava
The Cathedral of Saint Sava

 The Cathedral of Saint Sava is the largest Orthodox Church in the world and ranks amongst the ten largest church buildings in the world. The Cathedral of Saint Sava also called Temple of Saint Sava is a Serbian Orthodox Church located in Vračar, Belgrade, Serbia. It is located on the eastern part of the Svetosavski Trg square on the Vračarski Plato in Belgrade.

The Cathedral of Saint Sava
The Cathedral of Saint Sava

It was constructed on the spot where it is thought that in 1595 Sinan-Pasha burned the relics of Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Construction of the church began on May 10, 1935, 340 years after the burning of Saint Sava’s remains. The occupying German army, after the 1941 bombing of Belgrade, used the unfinished church as a parking lot, while in 1944 the partisans and the Red Army used it with the same purpose.

The Cathedral of Saint Sava
The Cathedral of Saint Sava

Later, it was used for storage by various companies. Construction of the building began again on August 12, 1985 and as oftoday, the church is mostly complete.

The Cathedral of Saint Sava is unique in its architecture. One can see a mixture of artistic motifs taken from many churches built in the early Byzantine tradition. The church was built in the Serbian-Byzantine style, with four 44 m-high steeples. At its highest point the dome is 70 m in height, while the main gilded cross is an additional 12 m high, giving the Cathedral a total height of 82 m and a height above sea level of 134 m (64 m above the level of the Sava river).

The Cathedral of Saint Sava
The Cathedral of Saint Sava

For this reason the church occupies a prominent place on Belgrade’s horizon and can be seen from all approaches to the city. The church occupies an area of 3500 m² at floor level, with an additional 1500 m² in the three galleries on the first level. There are more galleries 120 m2 in area on the second level, where a panoramic outside view can be seen all around the dome. The church extends 91 m in the east-west direction, and 81 m in the north-south direction. The domes are decorated with 18 gilded crosses of three different sizes, while the belfries house 49 bells.

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