The Royal Compound in Dedinje
Step into life of royal family and go on a journey through turbulent past that royal compound went through as well as country once called Yugoslavia.
When someone mentiones royal compound most of people think only about White palace but actualy it is a compound with two residencies, Royal palace and White palace, royal chapel devoted to Saint Apostle Andrew the first-called and park that surrounds entire place. It is situated in famous neighborhood of Dedinje with over 135 hectares and it is official residency of Serbian royal family Karađorđević. It is built in Serbo-Byzantine style and it is a masterpiece of architecture of that period.
Royal compound was supposed to represent entire Kingdom of Yugoslavia when foreign rulers visited country and yet it was built entirely from private funds of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. Palace was dedicated to king’s son Prince Peter, later on King Peter II of Yugoslavia, Prince Tomislav and Prince Andrej. After assassination in Marseille in 1934, young King Peter II moved to Royal palace with his mother and two brothers until beginning of Second World War. Today palace is home for Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia and his family.
Representative and big villa from white stone, surrounded by park, balconies, pools, pavilions and platforms. From the palace that is on the top of Topčider ridge there is amazing view on Košutnjak forest, Topčider and Avala mountain. On ground level there are lavishly decorated rooms. Entrance hall is paved with stone and decorated with copies of medieval frescoes from the monasteries of Dečani and Sopoćani while the Golden drawing room in Renaissance decoration is the same as dining room. Blue drawing room is made in baroque style and in all rooms there are precious paintings and objects from royal collection. Grand and small library are in similar Renaissance style like Golden salon and on the first floor there are apartments that are used by members of royal family.
In the same royal compound there is White palace building, built as a wish of King Alexander I as residency for his sons. King did not lived to see the end of construction because he was tragically assassinated in Marseille but Prince Paul, brother of King Alexander I continued construction and it was finally completed in 1937. Prince regent Paul moved in palace as King Peter II was underage. On ground level of this classicist building there is Ceremonial hall and salons decorated in Louis XV and Louis XVI style. There is also official dining room and royal library with over 35.000 books. On first floor grand five apartments are situated as well as gallery.
Saint Andrew Chapel
Royal chapel is also part of royal compound and it is devoted to Saint Apostle Andrew the first-called, patron saint of royal family. It is connected with royal palace with a colonnade with semicircular arches. Chapel is made as a replica of King’s church in Studenica monastery, foundation of King Milutin and also Andrijaš church on Tresca, foundation of King Vukašin. Inside the chapel there are frescos made by Russian painters that traveled through Serbia and made replicas of Serbian medieval monasteries. During communism time church was used as storage room for cleaners and gardeners. One of the sings of desecration is bullet hole in Christ’s forehead and scratch of the Angel’s wings that represent communist symbolic “murder of God”. Chapel is used today by the royal family especially for Easter, Christmas and Slava, patron saint day.
Josip Broz Tito
After the end of Second World War and communist revolution in Yugoslavia Josip Broz came to power as lifelong president. He used the palace for his own personal needs but he also organized receptions of foreign representatives from other countries there. Because of him entire compound is addressed as White palace by mistake because there he hosted guests such as British Queen Elisabeth, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, Spanish King Juan Carlos and other well known people from that time. After that Slobodan Milošević moved in palace and after him it was used for representative purpose only.
Royal compound is open for visitors every weekend from April until November. Visitors can sign up for visit with tour guide and see beauties of compound. There they will have an opportunity to hear fascinating history of Yugoslavia and Karađorđević dynasty, stories about Josip Broz Tito and also to enjoy in breathtaking view on the city. Tour lasts around an hour and a half and there is even possibility to meet royal family members if they are there at the moment. If you are interested you can contact Touristic informative center in Knez Mihajlova street where you can get more details about the tour.