One Czech historian once wrote while passing through this region: “Belgrade is Europe. However if you want to see a real Serbian town, go to see Kragujevac… “ And, indeed if you want to feel the real Serbian mentality and true Serbian spirit visit Kragujevac! Just contact us.
Kragujevac is 140 south of Belgrade and is, because of many facts, the first city in Serbia: the first capital city of new Serbia, the first theatre (1835), the first court (1820), the first grammar school (1833), the first newspapers and the first electric-power station. Although archeology claims that organized life has existed here since the prehistoric times, the Turks in 1476 first mentioned it as an urban settlement under the name of Trg (Square). The city got its modern name by a bird kraguj from a family of hawks, which was used for hunting in the Middle Ages.
In 1818 after the Second Serbian Uprising, prince Miloš Obrenović proclaimed Kragujevac as the first Serbian capital. In 1841 the capital had been moved to Belgrade, but Kragujevac had been developing an industrial zone of the first importance.And that’s how Kragujevac is economic lungs of Šumadija region. Its industrial activity, especially with the only national vehicle factory of Balkans makes of it an important town for the economic life of the country.
The only preserved building of the dukes’ complex of the capital Kragujevac, is Amidžin palace. It was built for the royal staff in 1824. And speaking of buildings, one of the most beautiful edifice in Kragujevac is the building of the First Grammar School.
Today it is a beautiful, modern, dynamic city that is surrounded by slopes of Rudnik, Crni Vrh and Gledic mountains, representing its natural borders. It is an important traffic center with roads leading to six sides. Just a few kilometers from the city, by the road to Gornji Milanovac, there is a big park and a lake Šumarice with arranged bathrooms.
Kragujevac is in heart a young city with old memories. One story houses, mostly made of wood, with gardens in front and in the back; clean streets paved with white rock, that run through the center of the town that you have to walk through. Backpackers Serbia will be glad to help you find your way to Kragujevac.
The whole history of the city of Kragujevac can be dramatically told through the history of this church. The church is foundation of Prince Miloš, dedicated to the Decent of Holy Spirit on the Apostles. It was built on an old cemetery, on the right bank of the Lepenica River, in the times when Serbia still had the status of a vassal. Only Miloš’s wits could trick the Turks and their regulations forbidding Christian temples to be bigger than mosques, so this church is much bigger than it was originally planned.
Here, in the Kragujevac Old Church and its yard, the most important decisions for the country and people were brought. In 1835, at the famous Sretenje Assembly, the first Constitution of renewed Serbia was proclaimed.
The Old Church was the metropolitan cathedral for a long time, while the seat of the first two metropolitans in liberated Serbia, was in the Bishop’s Quarters by the Old Church. Because of all this, this temple is also a very significant historical monument.
As early as 1823, prince Miloš started his collection of paintings, after receiving the first one as a gift. In 1837, the German natural scientist baron Herder gave the prince the first collection of minerals as a gift. Today National Museum is a modern museum institution, taking care of 26 000 artifacts and abundant study material. It is organized as several professional departments and corresponding collections (archeological, ethnological, historical, historical-artistic). Within the Museum are Amidža quarters, House of Ljubica Filipović, House of priest Miloje Barjaktarević, memorial houses in Dulenica and Grosnica, and the Modern Gallery.
Very close to the place where prince Miloš quarters were destroyed in the war in 1941, stand Amidža’s quarters – today the only preserved building from the prince’s court complex in the former Serbian capital. It was build from 1819 to 1824, for the accommodation of the court staff. There were lead by the manager of the Prince’s court who Prince Miloš called amidža (uncle in Turkish), after which the building was named.
In the Old Church port, exactly where Assembly sessions of great importance were held, this building was raised in 1859. Up to 1878, important Parliament sessions were held there and long-term resolutions were brought.
Šumarice Memorial Park is settled at the western verge of Kragujevac. It is the site of one of the most brutal crimes committed during WWII – Kragujevac massacre. In october 1941 the German occupier shot almost 7000 people, among which almost were students of elementary and middle schools! The painful memory of that day and heroic attitude of the victims is kept in the Memorial Park and Museum in Šumarice, where this event took place. The park, established as the institution in 1953, covers area of about 3.5 square kilometers, and contains the thirty mass graves at the spots of the 1941 executions. Ten of the graves are marked with monuments. Certainly the best known is “Broken Wing” – Monument to Executed Pupils and Professors created in 1963. There is also Monument of pain and contempt, Monument to the shoe-cleaners, Monument ”Table for one”, Monument of resistance and freedom and so on.