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On the Architecture of the Konaks in Serbia (1804–1830s)
Serbian Studies (2007)
  • Jelena Bogdanović, East Carolina University

The First National Uprising of the Serbs against the Ottoman Turks in the Belgrade paşalik (Smederevo Sandjak, also known as the Morava administrative division of the Ottoman Empire) in 1804 was the major event in the political history of the Balkans. Led by Đorđe Petrović—Karađorđe (Black George) (1762–1817), the Uprising (1804–13) was the first autonomous attempt of the subjugated to set themselves free from Ottoman rule. Initially local in scope and aims, the Uprising ultimately enabled the development of modern Serbia as well as the national development of other countries in the Balkans. Judging by the scope and quality of the building activitiesof the Serbs, it would be unfair to state that the year 1804 simultaneously marked the beginning of a new Serbian cultural history as the Serbs eventually achieved internal self-government and established state and educational institutions only after 1830 under Prince (Knjaz) Miloš Obrenović (1780–1860). It is true, however, that around 1800 some historical events announced important architectural changes in Serbia. The most important of these events were: 1) in 1793 the Ottoman Sublime Porte in Belgrade issued a decree permitting building and rebuilding of churches, and 2) in 1794 Sultan Selim III (r. 1789–1807) issued a firman, an imperial edict, which explicitly granted the building of new churches in the Belgrade paşalik for the first time after the Ottoman conquest of Serbia in 1459.3 Suffering centuries of cultural isolation under the Ottoman rule (1459–1830) with several episodes of the Austro-Habsburg reign (1688–91, 1718–39, 1788–91), in the early nineteenth century the insurgent Serbs included in their negotiations a provision for building and re-building of the monasteries and churches. Semi-educated Serbs rebuilt or built a significant number of churches and monasteries in this short period despite the difficulties in obtaining necessary material and qualified workers.

Publication Date
Publisher Statement
Copyright 2010 North American Society for Serbian Studies. Posted with permission.
Citation Information
Jelena Bogdanović. "On the Architecture of the Konaks in Serbia (1804–1830s)" Serbian Studies Vol. 21 Iss. 2 (2007)
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