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October 27, 1999

Milena Pavlovic Barilli
Milena Pavlovic Barilli

Do you like painting? If your answer is "yes", then you have certainly heard about Milena Pavlovic Barilli long time ago. The Serbian and the European modern painting can not be imagined without her art. She was the first and the only Serb featuring the front page of the fashion magazine Vogue. She was born on November 5, 1909 in Pozarevac. She got her education in Linz and stayed in London, Paris, Rome, New York, Belgrade and her hometown - Pozarevac. The young artist's life-path was unusual or better to say odd. From misunderstandings to plaudits. From allegations, gossips and other inconveniences accompanying the so-called "world jet set" to periodical and short outings into happiness and pleasure. It was all packed into the short but turbulent life of a young girl from Serbia. The official post-mortem report was heart failure following previous spine injury. Many doubt this possibility, even nowadays. Behind her, she left paintings and designer works.

Kompozicija, 1938.

In 1962, in Pozarevac, at the Pavlovic family home, the gallery was opened. Till 1997, the Gallery was a part of the City Museum. It then became self-supporting - named "Milena Home Foundation - Gallery of Milena Pavlovic Barilli". There are 893 artworks in the gallery, childhood drawings, household and personal belongings, as well as old furniture and library that belonged to the artist or her family.

National Museum in Pozarevac

Pozarevac is situated at the mouth of the River of Velika Morava to the River of Danube, west from the River of Morava. The date the city was founded is unknown, but there is one monument that could be related to the city.

During the Great Movement of People in 1960, many subjects from these parts have fled from the Turks to Hungary. Even today, not far from Budapest in Saint Andrea there is the Serbian Orthodox Church dedicated to the Saint Archangel Michael, but is better known as the Pozarevac Church.

Although the time Pozarevac was first mentioned could not be positively established, it is certain that Pozarevac was first recorded in history by the end of the 18th century. Namely, at the end of the Austrian-Venetian-Turkish war (1714-1718), at the hill of Sopot near Pozarevac a treaty was signed, known as the "Pozarevac Peace Accord ". By this peace accord, the northern part of Serbia, including Pozarevac, came under the Austrian rule for the next twenty years. According to the census dated from this period (around 1730), Pozarevac had 230 households and with the surrounding parishes, around 390 households. The center of the military district was also under the Austrian rule.

At the very end of the 18th century, the area around Pozarevac was the field of many battles fought in the Austrian-Turkish war in which many Serbs- volunteers took part at the Austrian side. One of the Serbs-volunteers from that time was Koca Andjelkovic, more known as "Captain Kocha". He had temporarily liberated the city from the Turks, but the Turks then returned and the exodus of Serbs occured again. They fled to Banat, then ruled by Austria.

The beginning of the 19th century is marked by the uprising against the Turks. In 1804, led by Karageorge Petrovic the First Serbian Uprising began and Pozarevac was set free from the Turks. During the Second Serbian Uprising (in 1815), the rebel's leader Milos Obrenovic personally commanded the battles for the liberation of Pozarevac.

In the years to follow Pozarevac takes active part in political events in Serbia: in 1821 the so-called Abdulah's Rebellion; in 1825, the so-called "Djak's Rebellion": in 1842 the so-called Vucic's Rebellion.

Milos had his "konak" (residence) in Pozarevac so the city was considered a capital city. At that time, the twenties of the last century, the city had no more than 250 households. According to the records from 1834, Pozarevac had the largest number of registered voters, more than all the other district cities in Serbia. In the wake of the 1912-1918 wars, Pozarevac had 10 000 citizens.

After the World War Two, the city rapidly progressed. A convenient geographic position resulted in two aspects of progress. The people engaged in agriculture but the trading had greatly improved. The city has its own river harbor, on the River of Danube, so many tradesmen came to live in Pozarevac at that time. The railway line to Belgrade was built in 1922.

Near the end of the 19th century the forming of the banking capital had started. The first credit bank was founded in Pozarevac in 1884 - the Post Savings Bank. Then another several of these.

Count Mikhail Obrenovic himself founded the first State Estate in Pozarevac - the horse farm which he named after his mother, countess Ljubica "Ljubicevo". The horse farm still exists, and every year the traditional horsemanship games are being held.

Horse races in Ljubicevo

In 1839 the so-called "Gvardijska Skola" "Guards' School", kind of a military school was started. The half-high school was founded in 1862 and in 1888, it became a fully high school. The National Museum was founded in 1896.

At the time of Count Milos Obrenovic's rule, the hospital was founded in the city, with a permanent medical service.

In addition, one among the earliest printing shops in central Serbia started working in the city.

After the World War Two, Pozarevac lived through its second rapid progress. The city prospered, became urbanized and the industry grew. One of the largest food industries in Serbia is "Bambi" with a wide assortment of products.


Oplenac, Church of St. George

Certainly one of the largest mosaics made in Serbia is the one in the Church of St. George at Oplenac near Topola. The church was endowed by King Peter the First Karadjordjevic. The church is also the burial chamber of the Karadjordjevic dynasty. In the upper part of the church, where the religious services are being held are the tombs of Karadjordje and King Petar the First.

The church was under construction from 1910 till 1912 and designed by Kosta Jovanovic, the architect. The corner stone was laid in 1907, and a big wooden cross was built into the foundation. It is coated with white marble from Vencac, a quarry nearby Topola and made in the Byzantine style. The four pillars were made in Carrara, Italy. Contrary to the Serbian mediaeval monasteries, where the interior is decorated in fresco painting technique, the Oplenac Church interior is completely covered by mosaic.

The company PAUL WAGNER from Berlin manufactured these mosaics from 1927 to 1932. Following the idea of King Aleksandar the First, the most renowned frescoes from 60 mediaeval Serbian monasteries and churches were copied. The only original composition is the benefactor's portrait of King Petar the First. The copying of these frescoes lasted from 1922 till 1927.

King Peter I Karadjordjevic

On the Oplenac Hill, in the vicinity of the church, homes of King Petar the First, King Aleksandar the First and Queen Maria are located. The home of King Petar the First is today a museum where the icons presented to King and the Karadjordjevic family by the official delegations or other visitors are now kept. Most of the icons were made by Russian masters. This building was erected in 1912. The home of King Aleksandar was built in 1923 and is now occupied by Prince Tomislav Karadjordjevic. Part of the family estate was returned to him. The home of Queen Maria was built is 1034. Within the Oplenac complex there is the hotel of the same name, built in 1930, and there is also one of the first open pools and a tennis court, also made in the thirties. On the slopes of Oplenac are the vineyards and the location is a frequently visited by the tourists.

The Oplenac complex is the part of the town and municipality of Topola, in central Serbia, in the part of the country better known as Sumadija, at a distance of 75 km from Belgrade.

The archeology excavations proved that this territory was inhabited in the prehistoric period. During the rule of the Roman Empire, the number of inhabitants was increased and the territory progressed. Numerous remnants of churches and settlements testify about an intensive life during the Middle Ages. Near Topola, in the Village of Stragari, there are the remnants of a 14th century town. The present name of the town was recorded in the first half of the 18th century only. Until then the name of the town was Kamenice, the same as the name of the river running through the area. The name "Topola" - "The Poplar Tree" was given to the town during the Austrian rule because of the tree the wagon drivers sat under and waited.

Among the Serbian people, when mentioning Topola, the first association is connected to Karadjordje and the First Serbian Uprising in 1804. Djordje Petrovic, better known as Karadjordje was born in the Village of Krcevo near Topola. In fighting the Turks in 1804, a process better known in history as "The Serbian Revolution, Karadjordje made Topola the headquarters of the newly formed Serbian army and the seat of all the state institutions.

Starting with 1811 till 1813 a fortress with defense towers was built in Topola. The interesting story is that in the construction of the fortress Karadjordje himself took part, carrying the building material together with the builders. Today only parts of the wall, the church endowed to the "Birth of the Holy Mother of God" and the inn (1813), now the museum of the Uprising, are saved.

Karadjordje, monument, overnight stay

Karadjordje's grave was initially situated in this church and the frescoes were painted by one of the leaders of the Uprising, Duke Petar N. Moler.

Until 1842, the town did not progress. It was then renewed by Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic. It was declared a townlet in 1882.

In 1887 in Topola the so-called Topola Rebellion broke. Namely, during the Second Serbian-Turkish war, one battalion refused to fight. They took refuge in Topola, but their resistance lasted for four days only. 24 persons were sentenced to go before the firing squad, but only seven of them were shot. One of them was lieutenant colonel Jevrem Markovic, brother of the renowned philosopher and writer Svetozar Markovic.

Topola were never spared of warring, and during the so-called "April War", in 1941, when Germany attacked Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav Royal Army put up a heavy resistance in some of the defense sectors. Near Topola a heavy resistance to the advancing German tanks was put up and on the slopes of Oplenac the infantry was engaged in hand-to-hand combat.

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Today, Topola is among the less developed municipalities and its inhabitants (around 12.000) are mostly engaged in agriculture. The town is included into the tourist offer of Serbia, and its advantages are the vicinity of Arandjelovac and Bukovicka Banja (Bukovicka Spa). The town itself is nicely landscaped, and since 1838, in front of the Konak (Inn) museum is the monument of Karadjordje designed by Petar Palavicini. In front of the St. George Church in Oplenac is also placed the cannon used in the uprising led by Karadjordje.



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