The Cathedral of St. Sava is an Orthodox Church that is located in Vracar which is in Belgrade, Serbia. It is considered as the largest church in the Balkans and one of the ten largest churches in the world. It is also known as the Saint Sava Temple, named after the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and an important figure in medieval Serbia.
Cathedral Of St. Sava History
Construction of the church was first planned sometime in 1895 when the Society for the Construction of the Cathedral of Saint Sava on Vracar was founded. Its aim was to build a church on the grounds where St. Sava’s remains were burned in 1595 by Sinan Pasha of the Ottoman Empire. A small church was initially built in the site of the future Cathedral. Wars delayed the planning for the church building. It wasn’t until 1919 that interest in building the church was renewed. A design contest was held and the winning Cathedral design was awarded to architect Aleksandar Deroko.
It took another 40 years before the first stone was laid to begin the construction of the church. The first cornerstone was laid in May of 1935. The construction of the church continued until 1941, when work ceased after the bombing of Belgrade by the Germans. It was only in 1985 that construction of the cathedral was resumed, with Branco Pesic chosen as the new architect of the church. Because of the massive undertaking of constructing the church, it remains unfinished. While most of the exteriors have been done as of 2009, internal decoration of the cathedral still remains unfinished.
Cathedral Of St. Sava Features
The Cathedral of St. Sava was built under the Neo-Byzantine architectural style. The church was centrally planned and following the form of a Greek Cross. Its main feature is the massive central dome that is supported by four pendantives that are supported on each side by a lower semi-dome. The central dome is 70 meters or 230 feet high, with the main gold-plated cross standing on top of it extending its height to another 12 meters or 39 feet. It is 91 meters or 299 feet long and 81 meters or 266 feet wide. The Cathedral has a capacity to hold around 10,800 people.
The facade of the church is built with white marble and granite. The Cathedral of St. Sava is built on a plateau that is 134 meters or 440 feet above sea level. This location makes it a dominant landmark in the city of Belgrade. The cathedral is visible from all approaches going into the city.