Serbian Crown
King Peter’s crown is the only crown of all Serbian rulers that is kept in Serbia today. It was cast in France from the handle of Karadjordje’s cannon from the First Serbian Uprising. It survived two Balkan, two world wars, communism, and is now stored in the Historical Museum of Serbia. During World War I, it was buried for three years at the Seminary in Prizren, during World War II it was in Žiča. The only crown from the Nemanjić era is that of Stefan Dečanski and it is kept in Cetinje

By: Miloš Lazić

The two-volume anthology Belgrade in Memories published by Serbian Literary Cooperative, feature memories of several prominent residents of the capital and witnesses to its history from 1900 to 1929 written in the form of stories. The first is the one signed by Aleksandar Deroko, who stepped into the 20th century as a boy of six. The work is interesting because it offers insight into events not recorded by the official history, deeming them insignificant. Thus, from the memory of the old professor emerged the coronation of King Petar Karađorđević on 21 September 1904:
”... Then I saw the procession when King Petar exited the Cathedral Church after the coronation and walked to the court with the whole entourage. His white horse was led by two guards with feathers. He had a large purple mantle with white ermine, while an oversized and too heavy a crown dangled on his head, which had fallen deep over his ears. It was said that the crown was to be made from Karadjordje’s cannon. It was drawn by Juza, a Czech, a drawer in the Ministry of Defense (who otherwise wrote in his spare time, by hand, in calligraphy, business cards for the Belgraders because there were no printed ones at that time), and the crown was cast in the cannon factory in Kragujevac, which is why it was so heavy.”
This crown was kept in the Karadjordjević home from 1904 to 1941, survived the Great War in Prizren buried for three years under the building of the Seminary, and until the next global massacre it was exhibited in the court chapel. It spent World War II in Žiča. After the liberation, it was at the National Museum, then at the Museum of the First Serbian Uprising, and after that it was kept for a while in the depot of the National Bank of Serbia. Since 2005, King Peter’s Crown has been stored in the Historical Museum of Serbia and is exhibited occasionally, on special occasions.
But what about the other insignia of Serbian rulers and dynasties, and there were so many of them during our tumultuous past?


It has long been rumored in Serbia that the crown of Stefan Uroš IV Dušan Nemanjić, the Serbian emperor, better known as Emperor Dušan the Mighty, is kept in a Vienna museum. No one doubted the story because even then it was known that all the conquerors who rummaged these areas (and an occasional ally) set as their sacred duty to murder, demolish and burn as much as they can, and to take away as much as possible.
It is irrelevant how this story got through the centuries all the way to Prince Milan Obrenović, but when he decided to turn the principality into a kingdom, in addition to everything that was planned, there was also the ceremony of crowning the first Serbian king after centuries of devastation. This act, he thought, would also contain a clear message about intentions to return the small Serbia from the dark hamlet of oriental principality to the European gleam.
The symbolism of the coronation always carried a complex message, and the youth and vanity of the prince added to it. In an effort to restore the broken continuities, the idea emerged of being crowned with the insignia of Serbia’s most powerful medieval ruler. That is why he sent to Vienna a letter with a fervent request that, for the act of coronation, the local museum return, sell or at least lend to the Serbian court the crown of Dušan the Mighty. But although the future king was considered an Austrophile, with strong connections with the court of Vienna, he did not even receive a protocol response from Schönbrun! If anyone, despite the secret convention of the small principality and the great empire of 1881, had doubted Milan’s ties to the Viennese court, they would be reassured by the greeting card sent to the newly crowned king by Emperor Francis Joseph himself, long before others!


Half a century later, a text by Dr. Aleksa Ivić from Subotica was published in the Gazette of the Novi Sad Historical Society (no. 22 of 1935), mentioning two Serbian crowns. The first, kept in the Viennese court treasury, was handed over to Prince Bocskai by the Grand Vizier Lala Muhammad in November 1605 at Rakoczy Field, and he brought it home, to Vac. There he encountered another one: at the city gate he was stopped by the deputation of Kronstadt (present-day Brasov) presenting him with another crown, which was then believed to be of Serbian origin.
It was known eight decades earlier, when Description Ignaz Aurelius Fessler in his work Die geschichten der Ungern und ihrer Landsassen (Leipzig 1849) on page 589, described in detail both the deputation and the crown which had been seized in some battle (today in the depots of Budapest museum). He noted that they also donated a golden belt to Prince Bocskai, which apparently belonged to some Serbian despots.
Thus, in Vienna, they keep a crown that is known only to have been in the possession of the Prince of Transylvania and that it is of Serbian origin, and that it resembles Dušan’s crown shown in the fresco of the Lesnovo Monastery. It is certain that the Monastery of the Holy Archangels in Metohija, Dušan’s endowment near the imperial city of Prizren, housed an even more faithful image. But both churches were destroyed by the Ottoman in 1455, and the monastery near Prizren was razed to the ground in 1615, and used that material to erect the monumental Sinan Pasha mosque.
But King Milan didn’t see that there was another Serbian crown, one that belonged to Stefan Uroš III Dečanski, the son of King Milutin and the father of Emperor Dušan. It was in the possession of the Metropolitanate of Karlovac for centuries, until it was donated to the Montenegrin Bishop Peter I Petrović Njegoš in 1784, when he was consecrated by the Metropolitan of Karlovac Mojsije Putnik. Today it is kept in Cetinje. It was found to have been made in the late 13th and early 14th century, and was last used in 1910 for the coronation of King Nikola, which is what he himself insisted because of the symbolism of its origin.
As far as is known, therefore, only three crowns of medieval Serbian rulers or nobles have been preserved, but unfortunately none are in Serbian possession.


After Milan’s abdication in 1889, the throne of the Kingdom of Serbia remained vacant and the state was governed by the governorship. It was not until 1893, when he was of age, that Milan’s son Alexander was enthroned. The new king did inherit the throne, but not the crown, and the Obrenović dynasty, which was irrevocably extinguished in 1903 in the bloody May coup, remained forever without a crown.
The new king Petar Karađorđević demanded, since it was already being made, that his crown is cast out of bronze from a cannon that his grandfather Karađorđe had seized in battle from the Turks!
It seems that the official history does not mention Juza, the Czech from Deroko’s recollections, as the conceptual author of the crown, but Mihailo Valtrović, then director of the National Museum, founder and first professor of archeology at the Great School. To everyone’s surprise, of the five drawings offered – the king chose the most modest one!
In his previous life, Petar Karađorđević had already been crowned with the glory of a learned and honorable man, patriot and hero, and now he added modesty to this list of virtues. He is probably the only king under the sun that was called by his subjects using term of endearment – Uncle Pera.
Making the new crown is a state job for which a Main Board was formed, and a general, artilleryman and then president of the Council of Ministers, was appointed as its secretary. He chose the ”abuz” cannon, because it had a Serbian-language inscription testified that it was remodeled in Belgrade in 1812, during the reign of Karađorđe. But the cannon also had a text written in Arabic, confirming its Turkish origin. Only the right dolphin-shaped handle was cut from the barrel. The crown was made from it by the brothers Andrea and Jacques Faliz in their Paris workshop, completing it on 29 August 1904, and charged Serbia 19,000 francs for it. The Crown was sent to Belgrade by ”Orient Express”. It was consecrated on September 20, the day before the crowning of the first king of the Karađorđević dynasty, at the Cathedral Church in Belgrade (Church of St. Archangel Gabriel, endowment of Prince Miloš Obrenović).
Of course, the idea to return important artifacts of Serbian history, including the insignia of the rulers, to the country and have them settled under one roof has long been there. But after the sudden resignation of the celebrated world actress Melina Mercury as Greece’s minister of culture in 1983, many only whisper about it. For, her resignation came just days after publicly expressing the blasphemous thought that Britain should return all the antique exhibits it had looted across Greece during the second half of the 19th century, and also later. Because who knows...


The announced exhibition ”Kings and Saints of Serbia” at the Historical Museum of Serbia will be opened immediately after the end of the state of emergency in the country due to the pandemic of COVID-19 virus. After its closure, an exhibition dedicated to the Karađorđević and Obrenović dynasties is planned. Probably in early 2021. As part of that exhibition, the crown of King Petar I Karađorđević will be exhibited again.
The Crown was last exhibited in 2013 in the National Assembly Hall, marking the 50th anniversary of the Historical Museum of Serbia.


It might be worth explaining that the name Stefan used by Serbian medieval rulers was not a personal name but a title. It was derived from the Greek term stefanos (Στεφανοσ), taken from the Byzantine protocol, meaning: crowned. Much later, the godfathers around Serbia began to give names to children after that title: Stefan, Stefana, Stevan, Stevica, Stevanija... which has been preserved to this day.


There are some indications that the German crown (Hofenstaufena), made in a Byzantine manner, is of Serbian origin, namely it belonged to some Serbian medieval ruler. But the Germans do not allow this to be investigated and the origin reliably verified.


From now on you
can buy National Review at Trafika sales outlets

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 81 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 80 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 79 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 78 - руски

Serbia - National Review - Tourism 2020

Србија - национална ревија - Број 77

Србија - национална ревија - Број 76

Србија - национална ревија - Број 75
Србија - национална ревија - ФранкфуртСрбија - национална ревија - МоскваСрбија - национална ревија - Москва
Србија - национална ревија - ПекингСрбија - национална ревија - број 74
Србија - национална ревија - број 73

Србија - национална ревија - број 72Туризам 2019.
Србија - национална ревија - број 71
Србија - национална ревија - број 70Србија - национална ревија - број 69Србија - национална ревија - број 68Србија - национална ревија - број 67Tourism 2018
Србија - национална ревија - број 66
Serbia - National Review - No 65
Serbia - National Review - No 64Србија - национална ревија - број 63
Србија - национална ревија - број 62
Србија - национална ревија - број 61

Србија - национална ревија - број 60
Србија - национална ревија - број 59
Serbia - National Review - No 59
Serbia - National Review - No 58

Serbia - National Review - No 56
Serbia - National Review - No 55
Serbia - National Review - No 54
Tourism 2016
Српска - национална ревија - број 53
Српска - национална ревија - број 12-13
Srpska - National Review - No 12-13
Serbia - National Review - No 51

Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 48
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46Serbia - National Review - No 46, russianSerbia - National Review - No 45Srpska - No 6
SRPSKA - National Review - No 5Tourism 2014SRPSKA - No 2
Tourism 2013
SRPSKA - National Review - Special Edition

Battle above Centuries
Legends of Belgrade
History of the Heart


Чувар светих хумки
Србија од злата јабука - друго издање
Orthodox Reminder for 2013
Пирот - Капија Истока и Запада
Беочин - У загрљају Дунава и Фрушке Горе
Србија, друмовима, пругама, рекама
Србија од злата јабука
Туристичка библија Србије

Коридор X - Европски путеви културе
Београд у џепу
Тло Србије, Завичај римских царева
Добродошли у Србију