The Residence of Prince Milos
The Location Where the First Collection of Paintings in Serbia Was Situated!
Prince Milos Obrenovic (1780-1860), the founder of a modern Serbian state, built a residence on the estate in Topcider in 1831. The chief architect of his time, Hadzi-Nikola Zivkovic, was engaged in the project. The prince spent his last days in this residence, and after his death, the structure fell into oblivion. After the First World War, it housed the Museum of Hunting and Forestry for a short time and subsequently the Museum of the First Serbian Uprising. Since 1966, the Residence of Prince Milos belongs to the Historical Museum of Serbia.
The building, which consists of a ground floor and a first floor, was erected following the elements of Oriental-Balkan architecture, although the profiled wall cornices and the frame of the main entrance have classicist shapes. According to the patterns originating from the Ottoman residences, the main entrance is oriented towards the park. The second step of the staircase, at the entrance to the residence, is slightly larger than the first one, according to the prince’s idea that if a visitor trips, he will figure out who enters his residence for the first time.
The premises are decorated according to the Ottoman tradition, primarily reflected in Turkish sofas and carpets. There was an office on the ground floor, a dining room, and rooms for the guard, and on the first floor, were situated luxuriously furnished Prince Milos’s private rooms. The premises of the residence were embellished with lamps, mirrors, clocks, and paintings acquired from Vienna and Budapest. The residence owned the first collection of paintings in Serbia, which, unfortunately, has not been preserved. When the Karadjordjevic dynasty came to power in 1903, the majority of the furniture was transferred to the National Museum, where most of the items from Milos’s residence were destroyed during the Austro-Hungarian bombing in the First World War.
The permanent exhibition was planned according to the idea of emphasizing the struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire in the First and Second Serbian Uprising and further efforts of Serbian dynasties to strengthen the modern Serbian state in the second half of the 19th century. Following that, there are exhibited yatagan (Ottoman saber) and flag of Karadjordje, the leader of the First Serbian Uprising and the ancestor of the Karadjordjevic dynasty. Also, there are displayed weapons of the rebels Hajduk Veljko, Tanasko Rajic, and Petar Dobrnjac, as well as dolama (a type of coat) of Prince Milos and the garment in which Prince Mihailo Obrenovic was assassinated in Kosutnjak in 1868.
On the ground floor are situated permanent exhibitions that follow the development of urban and rural lifestyles in Serbia in the 19th century, which in the first place relate to clothing and home decorating. At the same level are the pieces dedicated to the First Serbian Uprising and the most significant battles of Karadjordje’s heroes: the victories at Misar and Deligrad and the battle of Cegar.
The second floor is dedicated to the Second Serbian Uprising, its leader Milos Obrenovic, his wife, Princess Ljubica, and Prince Mihailo and King Milan, the heirs.
In addition to the chambers of the prince and princess, which are the most representative, the divanhana (old-fashioned living room) stands out with its painted decorations. The woodcarvings of the residence are especially representative, and they are among the oldest examples preserved in Serbia.
Residence can also boast about original paintings by Paja Jovanovic, Djura Jaksic, Veljko Stanojevic, Bozidar Prodanovic and Uros Knezevic.
In front of the building, visitors can encounter a plane tree over 185 years old, protected as a specific natural monument.