Church Ruzica at Belgrade Fortress

Church Ruzica at Belgrade Fortress

Church Ruzica is the oldest church in Belgrade. Its unique story, chandeliers made of ammunition shells and officers’ swords, make it a unique tourist attraction of Belgrade’s Fortress and an irresistible destination within the walls of the fortress.

The church Ruzica at Belgrade’s Fortress shared its destiny with that of the fortress and the city over centuries of turbulent history of Belgrade. The earliest records of Belgrade from the 15th century, written by the biographer of Despot Stefan Lazarevic (the son of knez Lazar), testify that the lower city (a part of Belgrade fortress towards the rivers) was well-developed, adorned with numerous buildings among which there was even a church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin. It is not known whether this church was destroyed when Turks conquered the city in 1521 or whether it was converted into a mosque.

The current church had been a gunpowder warehouse which was converted into a military church around 1867. Who built it and the exact year of its construction remains a mystery till this day. The thing that researches are sure about is that this is the oldest church in Belgrade.

During the First World War, the church was destroyed, while in 1925 it was again consecrated after it had been completely restored. At that time a memorial plate was added on which it is written: “During the World War 1914-1918, the Austrian and German Armies robbed and destroyed this holy military temple. Under the rule of the king of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, Aleksandar and during the administration of the first Patriarch Dimitrije this temple of God has been restored”. During this restoration two statues casted out of artillery shells were placed in front of the church: the first represents a lancer of Tsar Dusan’s army, while the other represents a foot soldier from the First World War.

During the restoration after the First World War, a few beautiful chandeliers were installed. These chandeliers made of ammunition shells and officers’ swards from the First World War represent the main feature that fascinates curious tourists. Remember that these chandeliers are not an eccentric choice of interior decoration, but since Serbia suffered a lot during the First World War (1.1 million casualties or 43% of its population), they represent a warning that the horrors of this war should never repeat.

Working hours of church Ruzica at Belgrade's Fortress
From Monday to Sunday working hours of the church are: 07:00-18:00h.

Interesting facts

  • During the First World War, many soldiers that defended Belgrade from the Austrian-Hungarian army for the last time received their communion in this church after which they died in the trenches next to the rivers. Their remains were laid in a common grave under the Jaksic Tower, a few dozen meters away from the church.

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