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The Royal Palace, Belgrade

Located on the ridge of a hill in the Dedinje neighborhood, a prestigious area of Belgrade, The Royal Palace (Serbian: Kraljevski Dvor) is a grand stucco villa in the Serbo-Byzantine style designed by architect Živojin Nikolić, who was assisted by Russian immigrant architects Nikolai Krasnov and Victor Lukomsky.

The Royal Palace is sometimes referred to The Old Palace (Stari Dvor) was built between 1924 to 1929 on orders by King Alexander I, as an ideal home for him and Queen Maria. King Alexander thought that it would be a nice and quiet place, away from the city noise and curious public eyes. The Palace was built with his private funds.

Postcard with four photographs of the newly built Royal Palace, Royal Chapel and accompanying edifices of kitchen and of the Royal Marshal building, c. 1928.
View of The Royal Palace from the Topčider Hill.
Aerial view of The Royal Palace in Dedinje, 1930.
Aerial view of The Royal Palace in Dedinje before 1933.
Aerial view of The Royal Palace in Dedinje after 1933.
The Royal Palaces Complex in Dedinje, northwest side, view from Topčider, after 1936.

The Royal Palace is surrounded by pergolas, park terraces, swimming pools, pavilions, and platforms. There are magnificent views from the palace towards the ridge of Dedinje Hill, Koshutnjak Forest, Topchider and Avala Mountain. The ground floor reception rooms are very beautifully appointed. The Formal Entrance Hall is paved with stone and decorated with copies of medieval frescoes from the Monasteries of Dechani and Sopochani. The Blue Drawing Room is decorated in the Baroque style; the Golden Drawing Room (Palma Vecchio) and Dining Room are in the Renaissance style with impressive wood carved ceilings and bronze chandeliers. These rooms are ornately decorated with paintings of old masters and Renaissance painted Florentine Cassoni from the Royal collections. The Greater and Lesser Libraries are decorated in the same manner.

The White Pavilion before.
The White Pavilion after.
The Royal Palace, 1941.

King Alexander I, also known as Alexander the Unifier, was the second son of King Peter I and Princess Zorka, who was born in Cetinje Montenegro 16 December 1888. Young Prince Alexander spent his childhood in Montenegro and was educated in Geneva Switzerland. After the death of King Peter I he ascended the throne of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

One of the key moments in Prince Alexander’s life occurred on 27 March 1909 when his older brother Crown Prince George publicly renounced his claim to the throne after strong pressure from political circles in Serbia. In the run-up to the First Balkan War, Alexander played the role of a diplomat, visiting Sofia to meet King Ferdinand of Bulgaria for secret talks for a Balkan League, which was intended to drive the Ottomans out of the Balkans. Crown Prince Alexander’s military success during World War I was followed by his accomplishments as a statesman. After a decree of the National Assembly and the National Council in Zagreb, The Regent HRH Crown Prince Alexander proclaimed the unification of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes into a single nation 1 December 1918. In 1929 due to an assassination in the National Assembly and the chaotic situation in the country, King Alexander I suspended the Constitution, changed the name of the state, from the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. He also reorganized the state administration by establishing nine “banovinas” (provinces). When the King estimated that the political turmoil in the country had calmed down, a new Constitution was proclaimed in 1931 (known as the “October Constitution”). In foreign policy, the King worked intensively on making defensive alliances against the forces that aimed at the revision of the Versailles Peace Treaty. The King’s first achievement was the “Small Entente” proclaimed in 1921 between the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Romania and the Czech Republic. An alliance with France was established in 1927, and another one in 1934 included Yugoslavia, Romania, Turkey, and Greece. King Alexander, I was assassinated in Marseilles 9 October 1934 along with the French Foreign Minister Monsieur Louis Barthou during a state visit to France.

King Alexander I.

The Royal Palace is currently home to Crown Prince Alexander II and his family.

The Royal Palace interior.
The Royal Palace interior.