Sunday, September 03, 2006

Another visit to St. Sava Cathedral

St. Sava Cathedral (Belgrade)
Back in Belgrade, I decided to visit St. Sava Cathedral and check its progress. Although the outside of the massive structure was completed several years ago, the inside decoration was in its beginning stages the last time I had visited. (The structure was begun in 1926, but interrupted many times, particularly during Nazi bombing in 1941, post WWII, and during the breakup of Yugoslavia). I took the entrance on the Vracar Plateau side, walking through the path lined with fountains. Here the Turkish burning of St. Sava’s relics in 1594 (as a way to break the spirit and punish the Serbs) is commemorated. Inside were the sounds of construction. The large cupola domes were still unornamented, as was most of interior. Parts of walls were covered with large sheets of colored marble, cut in geometric designs. The Serbian Coat of Arms, with its double-headed eagle, was carved in white marble, contrasting with the colored background marble. Through the scaffolding I saw a large mosaic mural in progress. Sections of white carved marble were piled on the floor, with some already in place. Piles of marble slabs and other building materials filled a large portion of the front entrance. On each side were places where candles were lit, one for the dead and the other for the living.

After walking past the smaller St. Sava Church (1935), I turned around to take another picture of the magnificent larger structure, brightly gleaming against the blue sky. The bells began to toll, briefly but with strength. Already the pride of Serbia, St. Sava Cathedral will be a thing of beauty once it is completed.

To get back to my neighborhood of Senjak, I took the bus instead of my preferred tram route. I was glad to see that the rails of the tram line finally were being redone, but lament their present inoperability and accompanying inconvenience. In the early evening, I heard traditional brass music coming from the direction of the hippodrome, overlooked by my apartment. Comprised of subtle but beautiful colors, the sunset provided a wonderful end to the gorgeous day.

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