SERBIAN CEMETERIES AND CHANGES IN THE AREA OF BELGRADE
Text topic: Critical History of Transforming Belgrade Public Spaces - from the End of the 18th Century to the Beginning of the 21st Century
Text author: Бојана Миљковић Катић
Forming of the New Cemetery at the end of 1820s at the far outskirts of Belgrade, next to the Tašmajdan quarry, was part of a policy of space conquest at several levels: political – by emancipation from the Turkish political authority; cultural – by restoring the concept of positioning the cemetery next to the church; urban – by expanding the city territory to the cemetery and organizing urban space by forming of streets and residential buildings; communal – by routing and infrastructural development of roads and open market places; economic – by constructing bazaars and new business centres. Such a transformation of the area around the cemetery enriched the contents and functions of this part of the town, although it remained less attractive than neighbouring Vračar, until the Principality of Serbia acquired independence. By changing the cultural patterns of Belgrade’s middle class, the culture surrounding death also changed during the 19th century, along with the attitude towards cemeteries and its functions. After the closure of the Large Cemetery, the area was levelled and used for formation of new streets, without transferring the graves or remains of the deceased to an ossuary or to the New Cemetery. The New Cemetery, in turn, was neglected, unmaintained, had no fence nor guards and was often desecrated. However, when cultural norms changed in the second half of the 19th century, such an appearance of cemetery became inappropriate, requiring better maintenance or relocation to the outskirts. This time, remains of the deceased family members were either transferred with piety or new ossuaries were formed.