House of the National Assembly of Serbia

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The House of the National Assembly of Serbia, in Belgrade

The House of the National Assembly (Serbian: Дом Народне Скупштине/Dom Narodne Skupštine) is the seat of the National Assembly of Serbia. The building is located on Nikola Pašić Square in downtown Belgrade, and is a notable landmark and tourist attraction in the city.

Between its completion in 1938 and 2006, it was the seat of the Parliament of Yugoslavia and later the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro.

History[edit]

Fountain "Girl with a pitcher".

King Peter I took the initiative that to the area near the place where once located a large-Batal mosque, build a building that would serve the purpose as the House of Representatives of the Kingdom of Serbia. The first project of the future House of Representative was made by the architect Konstantin Jovanović in 1891. His plan later was little changed for technical reasons, because of a new state constitution which requires a bicameral instead of the unicameral legislature. In the new competition in 1901, won the second architect, Jovan Ilkić, under whose plan constructed building assemblies. Architect Ilkić was not deviate from the basic version of the plan Konstantin Jovanović. The cornerstone of the House of Representative at a special ceremony was laid in 1907 by King Peter I, in the presence of other members of the royal family, senior officials and the people. The works lasted for almost 30 years, up until 1936. Construction were interrupted on several occasions - due to the two Balkan War, World War I and Great Depression from 1929. The house was completed in 1936 with the first sitting taking place on the 20th of October that year.[1] The building is designed in the neo-baroque style. The building in that time was not been fully completed, because it still needs to work on its interior decoration, up until 1938. For this work he was engaged Russian architect Nikolai Krasnov, who is in every room of the building of 13,800 square meters done project of interior design. Krasnov was designed every detail - chandeliers, lamps, handles, windows, and furniture. His plans were not carried out as a classical technical drawing with a ruler and a pencil, than a watercolor. Lawmakers have not long to enjoyed the newly built House of Representative. After the invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941, the country was occupied, and during period of the Second World War in the House of Representative was located a German High Command of southeastern Europe. The parliament building was damaged during the October fifth demonstrations in 2000. The building is shown on the five thousand Serbian dinar banknote. The parliament building was also featured in the movie Coriolanus (2011).[2]

Exterior[edit]

Play of the Black Horses sculptures by Toma Rosandić in 1938.
Main entrance.

The original design of the house was drafted by architect Konstantin Jovanović in 1891, but financial difficulties prevented its construction at the time. A new design was proposed by Jovan Ilkić in 1901, following a constitutional amendment and the creation of a bicameral parliament.[1]

Following the formation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, the size of the parliament was considerably enlarged and the original design under construction deemed inadequate. A modified design was made by Ilkić's son Pavle Ilkić in 1920 and construction was resumed until its completion in 1936.[1] A sculpture by Toma Rosandić, Igrali se konji vrani ("Play of Black Horses"), was placed in front of the building in 1939.

Interior[edit]

The interior of the house was designed by architect Nikolaj Krasnov in the manner of academic traditionalism. The building covers an area of about 13,400 m2 and contains four storeys: subterranean part, ground floor, first floor and attic and mezzanines – below the subterranean part, between the subterranean part and ground floor and between the ground floor and first floor. The building contains 100 offices, a great and small plenary halls and four committee halls. The library, situated on the first floor, has an area of 165 m2 and contains over 60,000 books.[3] The house is decorated with 23 frescoes and numerous paintings, sculptures and other pieces of fine art.[1]

During the October 5th riots in 2000, 91 pieces of art work were looted from the National Assembly house. 35 have been found and returned to date, 56 still remain missing.[4] The building itself was also damaged in the process.

Construction[edit]

The official start of construction has been on 27 August 1907, when cornerstone was placed in the presence of Peter I of Serbia, George, Crown Prince of Serbia, Members of Parliament and the diplomatic corps. The Charter, which was immured in cornerstone, on that occasion, contained the names of the king, the Metropolitan, and the main architect Jovan Ilkić. Execution of works has been entrusted to the contractor from Belgrade Vasa Tešić. Until the end of World War II there was delay in the works, and construction was performed only up to the first floor. The construction was influenced by historical events. The formation of Yugoslavia kingdom caused the need for the project modifications, because the old program is no longer fits in the new requirements. Due to the death of the architect Jovan Ilkić in 1917, the author's son and the architects of Ministry of Construction Pavle Ilkić, becomes the leader of the project. His duties comprise not only changes but also the restoration of lost draft. According to the reconstruction projects, construction continued in 1920 and lasted until 1926, when the works were once again suspended. Decision on commencement of the next phase of the construction came after the death of Alexander I of Yugoslavia in 1934. In that moment contractor becomes Architectural department of the Ministry of Construction. Chief architect of this department was a Russian architect Nikolaj Krasnov.[5](1864–1939). His thirty years of experience in the design of public buildings, by which he gained the title of "Architects of the Russian Imperial Court", and "the academician of architecture". Led him to the situation to work on some of the most important buildings in the Serbian capital. Special contribution to the representativeness of the building Krastov gives to the project interior design with all the details. Palace of the National Assembly was completed and consecrated on October 18, 1936 in the presence of Peter II of Yugoslavia. The construction of the building lasted twenty-nine years. The first session in the presence of all members of the government, was held two days later, on October 20, 1936. By the end of the same year were determined, and organized deploy, of all parts of the building.

Architecture[edit]

Facade medallions (from left: Demosthenes, Cicero, Athena, and Pericles) by Đorđe Jovanović.

The National Assembly is designed as a monumental and representative, facility with symmetrical base. It was free-standing structure, built with strict adherence to the academic principles. Adherence to academic principles was the most appropriate expression for the palace of such importance and purpose. The central risalit of the building is dominated by a portico with a triangular tympanum, above which is an elegant dome with a lantern at the top. External design of the building with rustic processing of the basement with green stone of Ripanj, shape of windows and pilasters that extend through the two central levels and end with roof cornice with balustrade, point to Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque models. The entire heraldic and sculptural decoration, provided for in the original design was not executed. The only realized plastic ornament are medallions with images of Pericles, Athena, Demosthenes and Cicero on the lateral risalits, as a work of sculptor Đorđe Jovanović. Sculptural decoration above the portals in the form of the sculpture of an angel with a torch and an olive branch, was performed according to the concept of sculptor Petar Palavičini. An integral part of the ambient arrangements of the building, was a decorative fence with decorative candelabras, set up in 1937, according to the project of Krasnov. The two guard rooms with stylized lanterns on top represented a part of the fence. In this place the fence stood until 1956, when it was removed within the arrangement of Marks and Engels Square (now Nikola Pašić Square). In 1939 a sculptural group, the work of sculptor Toma Rosandić, called "Black Horses Playing" was placed by the monumental stair access.

Interior design of National Assembly of Serbia includes a special facilities large and small halls, conference sessions and Cabinet officials. To the solemn impression of the central vestibule over topped by the dome, in addition to the polychrome processed walls with columns, pilasters, niches and loggias, contributes even special marble floor surfaced decoratively. Heraldic symbols and statues of rulers provides a strong symbolic character to the object. Conversations Hall, or the Grand Hall is a central assembly room, which is decorated with rich stucco decoration and furniture carved in wood. The Grand Assembly Hall is located on the right building wing.

The Assembly Hall was designed for 200 people, but then after modification, Assembly Hall has been design for 400 delegates. On the opposite left wing of the building, a small hall was designed intended for work of the Senate. In these, as well as in the hall of the Ministerial Council, all the walls are covered with stucco decoration, and the entire furniture was made of walnut. Communication between the ground floor and the rest of the floor was achieved with two symmetrically placed staircases made of white marble, whose decoration was completed with bronze statues] personifications of Justice and Education and the tombs of the Kingdom. In the interior of the floor are especially distinct rooms intended for administrative and financial committee. There is also a library one of the most beautiful rooms of the Assembly.

Krasnov designs of furniture stylistically reflect the taste of Belgrade's civic spirit of the time. The walls of the Assembly are adorned with twenty frescoes which were made during 1937 by the prominent Yugoslav artists of decorative painting. Construction of monumental Building of National Assembly, was encouraged the process of Westernization and cultural emancipation of the Serbian civic culture, bringing it to the latest world trends in public monumental architecture. Besides the importance of continuity of the purpose it has served from its raise up to date, the building of National Assembly stands out as testimony to the most important events of political and social life in the Yugoslav and Serbian history. Because of its architectural, cultural, historical and artistic values, the National Assembly Building was established a cultural monument in 1984.

Gallery[edit]

Former building[edit]

Before 2006, the National Assembly of Serbia convened in the parliament building on Kralja Milana Street, while the current building was used by the Federal Assembly of Yugoslavia. The building is still used by the national assembly for its offices and administration.

The original design for this building was completed in 1948, and its construction was completed in late 1953. The building was designed by architect E. Azriel, and was constructed by the Construction Institute of Serbia. The building was named the "Office Building of the Presidency of the Government of the People's Republic of Serbia at Marshal Tito Street" (later renamed to Kralja Milana street). The first National Assembly session in the building was held on March 20, 1954, while in the period between 1945 and 1954, the National Assembly sessions were held in the current building known as the House of the National Assembly, Nikola Pašić Square.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "History and cultural heritage of the National Assembly" (PDF). National Assembly of Serbia. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Ralph Fiennes filming "Coriolanus" in Serbia
  3. ^ a b National Assembly of Serbia: Informer (This text is in public domain as the official material of the Republic of Serbia state body or a body performing public functions, under the terms of Article 6, Paragraph 2 of Serbian copyright law)
  4. ^ "Državna umetnička riznica bez premca". Večernje novosti. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  5. ^ А. Кадијевић, Естетика архитектуре академизма XIX-XX век, Београд 2005. Политика online, Belgrade from the Russian perspective, accessed on 11.10.2013. http://www.politika.rs/rubrike/Magazin/Beograd-iz-ruskog-ugla.lt.html Вечерње новости online, The influence of Russian architects in Belgrade, accessed on 11.10.2013. http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/kultura.71.html:351235-Uticaj-ruskih-arhitekata-u-Beogradu С. Г. Богуновић, Архитектонска енциклопедија Београда XIX и XX века, архитекти, том II, Београд 2005.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°48′40.68″N 20°27′56.88″E / 44.8113000°N 20.4658000°E / 44.8113000; 20.4658000