The Cathedral of Saint Sava, Belgrade, Serbia


The Cathedral of Saint Sava, Belgrade, Serbia
The Cathedral of Saint Sava, Belgrade, Serbia

The Cathedral of Saint Sava is an organic component of Belgrade’s contemporary skyline, and one of its key features. The Cathedral of Saint Sava is not only the largest Serbian Orthodox church; it is the largest Orthodox place of worship in the Balkans and also one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world. It is located on the eastern part of the Svetosavski Trg square on the Vračarski Plato in Belgrade. It was raised on the spot where it is thought that in 1595 Sinan-Pasha burned the relics of Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The project was designed by Aleksandar Deroko and Bogdan Nestorovic, aided by civil engineer Vojislav Zadjina. 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). At BeogradFor 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.

St. Savas Orthodox Church
St. Savas Orthodox Church

The church can accommodate 10,000 believers at any one time, and the western choir gallery can hold 800 choristers. Beneath the floor of the church, there are vaults and the crypt of Saint Sava as well as the burial church of Holy Prince Lazar, totaling 1800 m² in area. The cathedral is clad in white marble and granite, while the murals, which are yet to be undertaken, will be mosaics. St. Sava is still unfinished — after 100 years of work. Despite its grandeur, the proportions are very pleasing, and the mosaics-in-progress are gorgeous.

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