Sep 07

St. Sava’s Cathedral (Catedrala Sf. Sava)

When taking into consideration the idea of visiting Serbia, the first thing that springs to mind is going to Belgrade. As this is the capital city of the country, tourists are more inclined to choose this as their first stop. Probably because they have this idea ingrained that Belgrade is the most important city located in Serbia and, as a consequence, they are bound to find several touristic attractions worth seeing.

St. Sava’s Cathedral is one such points of interest located in Belgrade. The Orthodox church is the largest house of worship of this kind located in the Balkan region and it is among the 10 biggest churches in the entire world. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Sava, thus the name of the edifice is explained. The location of the construction site, on the Vračar plateau was not randomly chosen. It is generally believed that in that exact place where the cathedral now stands erect the relics of the saint were burnt by the Ottomans.

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The grandiose edifice dominates the skyline of the city and it is undoubtedly the most imposing building of the city. Even though this specific religious house is referred to as being a cathedral, the term is not accurately used from a clerical perspective as it is not the seat of a bishop. But it should be mentioned that in Serbian, the name bore is that of temple; the English translation is in a sense altered as a means of emphasizing the impressive size of the construction as well as the importance it carries in Serbia.

In terms of structure, we are talking about a Greek cross-like form. The cathedral consists of a main dome which is sustained by means of 4 spherical triangles (pendentives) which were used as transition elements between the circular dome and the rectangular base.

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The main dome is elevated at 70 m, but the height of the cathedral is calculated while taking into account the gilded cross placed atop the dome, which adds another 12 m, thus piercing the sky with its 82 m in stature. Lengthwise, the church measures 91 m by 81 m. In total, the cathedral numbers 19 gilded crosses, which differ is size, placed atop its domes, and comprises 49 bells within its belfries.

In order to get an accurate idea of the colossal size of the edifice, it should be noted that St. Sava’s Cathedral can house as much as ten thousand believers, not to mention that the gallery especially arranged for the church choir contains 800 de seats.

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The cathedral’s appearance is conveyed by means of white marble and granite, whereas the interior is meant to be entirely covered with mosaics. The inner decorative design is still in the making process but the parts that are completed reveal that the final result will be stunning. The main dome is programmed to be adorned by means of a mosaic of Christ Pantocrator – a specific portrayal of Christ. Just to grasp the magnitude of this undertaking, you should know that the eyes of Christ will measure about 4 meters in width (each).