Waking up in European Gowns
Since the mid 19th century, people have been able to send telegraphs from this town in Serbian, Turkish and French. Since 1880, they have played tennis, since 1885 the city water supply system has been in operation, home bathrooms have water heaters with fireboxes. There is a modern hotel, with chess and pool rooms, publications from around the world arrives, orchestras are playing vivacious dance and Serbian kolo, day also organize ”dance evenings with lottery”... Since the mid 20th century, everything has changed, only the main street and a few alleys have remained where they used to be

By: Savo Derikonjić

In the late 19th century, Priboj on the Lim goes through significant changes. The Balkan-oriental lifestyle present for centuries in this caravan station undergoes a transformation. It becomes a live town, with developed trade and various deals with big trading centers: Thessaloniki, Skopje, Sarajevo, Dubrovnik... There are many reasons for these changes: arrival of a garrison of Turkish army; construction of the railway down to the Uvac; arrival of numerous merchant families from neighboring towns; creation of bipolar government and existence of free Serbia in the neighborhood.
After the Berlin Congress, Austria gained the right to station its military garrisons in Novopazarski sandžak. Pursuant to the agreement with Turkey from April 1879, about 1000 Austrian soldiers marched in March into Priboj on the Lim. They were planning to station the garrison in Kaluđersko polje, where they saw a possibility to create a new settlement in the vicinity of medicinal water. Representatives of the town did not agree with this. An agreement was made with the Hasanagić family to give them a part of the estate on Zelenac, for a hundred year lease, for one crown per year. On Zelenac they build a building for officers’’ apartments, four barracks for the army, post office, bakery, well furnished restaurant and a small church. Below a nearby hill they built stables for horses, outhouses and warehouses for military equipment. Roads in the barracks were covered with white crushed stone, and flowers were planted along the edges. In the area of the barracks they built a tennis court and a bowling alley. It was in 1880.
After the construction of Austrian barracks, life in Priboj on the Lim changed significantly. It became a live town, with numerous merchants who migrated from Nova Varoš, Nikšić, Čajnič, Užice and nearby villages. Local crafts developed significantly, but new trades were also being adopted. The former little town between Hodov and Goduški potok expands toward Miškovac, Zelenac and descends down to the right bank of the Lim. The main street was made through the middle of the town, over Brijeg, toward the ferry on the Lim, and it was intersected by smaller alleys along the lateral streams. Along the main street they built public buildings, residential buildings with shops on the ground floor, made in European style, a market... The main street was pebbled and lanterns with candles were replaced with gas lanterns. Wooden poles with lanterns for lighting were erected on Brijeg, in front of Municipality Building, in front of the mosque and Serbian chapel.


Construction of the railroad toward Uvac in the early 20th century also sped up the development of the town. Trading activities are growing The first trading companies are being founded – ”Bajrović”, ”Stevović”, ”Veseličić”, with significant capital and branch offices in Prijepolje, Pljevlje, Bijelo Polje and Sjenica. The Vukovići, Borisavljevići, Hadžihamzići and Rustemagići become well known merchant families. Caravan transport and caravan postal service are developed along the Constantinople road. From the mid 19th century, people were able to send telegraphs in Serbian, Turkish and French from Priboj on the Lim. Since 1885, the city receives water from the water supply system, first bathrooms are being built in houses, with water haters with fireboxes. Four public fountains and a modern hotel were built, with a small and big salon, neat sleeping rooms and verandas facing the Lim. In the small salon people were plying chess and pool, reading newspaper and listen to music from the music device. In taverns and the hotel, they organize dance evenings with lottery, music bands with singers perform, the first theatre performances are presented... Orchestra of the Austrian garrison is playing ”vivacious dances”, and orchestra of Serbian youth is plying folk kolo music.
At the beginning, curious local people would gather at the tennis court to watch foreigners, officers and their wives, skillfully handling the rackets and yellowish ball. Since the Austrian garrison was composed of soldiers of various nationalities, their tennis competitions were the first ”international tennis tournaments”. In rare occasions, dignitaries from Priboj would join them. Designers of the Uvac–Priboj Railroad also joined the game, and later the citizens of Priboj themselves.
Since the mid 20th century, everything in Priboj has changed, only the main street and a few alleys have remained where they used to be. A few old houses remained in the main street, the pebble-stone roads were covered with asphalt, and on the place of demolished houses they built plain skyscrapers and residential buildings. On the place of the Austrian barracks and tennis court, they built production plants o INKOP, residential buildings, Church o the Holy Knez Lazar and Beograd–Bar Railroad...


School System and Culture
The first school in Serbia was built in 1888, and the first teacher was Vladislav Protić, a graduate of the seminary from Nova Varoš. The newly founded school and its teachers are spreading the spark of cultural development of Priboj on the Lim, they buy books and magazines, establish a reading room and together with the Church-School municipality they create the Cultural-Artistic Ensemble ”Sveti Sava”.


The First City and the First Tennis Player
before the New Year holidays, based on the wish of the best tennis player in the world Novak Đoković, Jelena Ristić appeared in Priboj on the Lim. In the town where tennis was played for the first time in Serbia, the foundation of the famous athlete will help the construction of modern tennis courts. This was agreed with the hosts Lazar Rvović, president of the Municipality of Priboj, and Mirko Tošić, the founder of ”Tennis Club 1880”.


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