More than a Village
A Serbian king visited this village twice. The oldest document in the Čačak Archive is related to the local village school. This is where poet Vladislav Petković Dis was born, as well as mining engineer Dragutin Popović, the first Serb who set foot on the North Pole. Joakim Vujić and Felix Kanitz wrote about this village, this is where Jevrem Obrenović learned to read and write… There are many artefacts and stories. Life, of course, is constantly writing new pages. The village is growing and the old school is full of students. There is both hope and faith

By: Danica Otašević
Photo: Vladimir Simić, Dragan Todorović, NR Archive

Many will say: a village like any other. But Zablaće is much more than a village.
First written traces originate from the XV century, although life here started much earlier, in the Cenozoic, Neogene period. The medieval iron sword, amber necklace, ring, Byzantine and Roman money discovered in Zablaće enriched the permanent exhibition of the National Museum in Čačak. The oldest written document of the Čačak Archive is related to the Zablaće school. At the time of Karađorđe’s uprising, chieftain of the Požega nahiyah, Avram Lukić, lived in Zablaće. This is where Vladislav Petković Dis, forefather of Serbian modern poetry, was born. King Aleksandar Obrenović visited Zablaće twice. Priest Vladimir Popović wrote ”the oldest Čačak book” and raised a school. The church and school were burned down in wars by Austrians and Germans, they took away the church bells, but couldn’t kill the hunger for freedom and knowledge. Parliament member Milan Popović raised eight schools in the Trnava district. Mining engineer Dragutin Popović, the first Serb who set foot on the North Pole while leading a Russian expedition, was born here in 1869. In the churchyard, locals raised a monument to an unknown Red Army soldier, pilot ”who died for our freedom in the fight against bloody fascism in 1944”, as well as a monument to Miljko Tanasković, knight of Karađorđe’s Star. The Church of Holy Archangel Gabriel keeps a a list of 193 heroes who died in the Great War. Travelogue writers Joakim Vujić, Felix Kanitz, Vladimir Popović, all wrote about Zablaće, but life is not stopping, it continues writing new pages.


The fossil remains of animals kept in the Paleontological Collection of the National Museum in Čačak testify that life in the area of Zablaće existed already in prehistoric times. Slavoljub Zarić discovered the teeth of extinct proboscides gomphotheriid and mammoth on his estate in 1968. The permanent exhibition of the National Museum includes a 114 centimeters long iron sword from the XV century, discovered in the old bed of the West Morava. Also excavated was a ring from the XII century. Austrian XIX century travelogue writer Felix Kanitz writes about the amber claim in Zablaće: ”Pierced pellets were discovered, which, strung together, probably decorated the neck or hand of a prehistoric beauty.”
In 1969, a deposit of Byzantine money was discovered on the former Roman road passing through the village. The Čačak museum purchased 125 Byzantine trachies from Kuzman Koturović, while ten years earlier the National Museum in Belgrade purchased a more significant collection with 268 Byzantine copper coins forged in the mints of kings Manuel I Komnenos, Andronikos I Komnenos, Isaac II Angelos and other monarchs who ruled the Balkans in the early XIII century.
In the Turkish cadaster census of the Smederevo pashalik from 1476, there is a village Zablato enlisted, with 12 homes and three bastions. The inhabitants of Zablato were Radovan Ćuričić, Vitko, son of Dobrisal, and with him Radul, his brothers, Petak, son of Borčin, Nikola, son of Radosal, and with him Radoj, his brother, etc. In total 15 adult men. In the census from 1523, Zablato was enlisted as Zablatje, with 24 homes and 45 bastions, while in 1572 the village had only three Christian houses. Zablaće paid to the sipahi 1.029 akches of feudal taxes. During Turkish slavery, the number of Christian homes was reduced, and the Muslim increased. After the First and Second uprisings, newcomers from Old Walachia, Herzegovina and Montenegro inhabited liberated areas. Zablaće had 28 houses in 1822, and about ten years later it grew into 44 households. From mid-XIX century to 1962, Zablaće made one municipality with Vapa and Baluga, while the Zablaće parish included several villages.


The first inhabitants of Zablaće lived in crusty huts made of wood and mud on the banks of the West Morava, or in dugouts. It is believed that already during Koča’s Frontier, around 1720, there was a wooden church in Zablaće, which the Turks burned down. A new church was raised in 1808 by chieftain of Požega Avram Lukić, and a new school alongside the church. The Lukić family came from the village of Rajac, and Avram inherited the chieftain of the Požega nahiyah title from his older brother Arsenije. Lukić settled in Zablaće due to his political obligations and cattle trade. He had a personal secretary and went to battles against the Turks during the time of the uprising, as well as to important missions. In the year 1805 he was elected member of the Government Council, where he represented first the Požega, and then the Rudnik nahiyah. In 1806, Karađorđe sent chieftain Lukić and Jeremija Gagić, secretary of the Council, to Trieste to ask rich Serbs for monetary support. They returned with 12.750 forints and a promise that Dositej Obradović will come to Serbia. The following year, Avram Lukić went to a diplomatic mission to Russians in Bucharest, asking for military support. He is responsible for the arrival or Russian diplomat Rodofinkin, who was greeted in Belgrade with a cannonade from Kalemegdan.
Avram Lukić opened the first school in Zablaće in his home, and then, in 1808, under the influence of Dositej Obradović, the first public school in the nahiyah. Avram’s secretary Neško Nedović taught Jevrem Obrenović, brother of prince Miloš, to read and write in the Zablaće school, then Janko Mihailović Moler from Negrišor, his son Ivan, later Bishop of Žiča Joanikije, Milosav Peruničić from Slatina, priest Vukosav from Valjevo, future priests Sima from Ježevica and Vidosav Vučetić. Avram’s church and school were burned down by the Turks after Hadzi-Prodan’s uprising.
Chieftain Avram Lukić joined prince Miloš Obrenović in the Second Uprising. He participated in the battles in Ljubić, Rtari, Kraljevo. After the battle in Ljubić, Lukić accompanied prince Miloš to Hurdish-pasha’s camp in Zvornik for negotiations. The negotiations went badly for the Serbian side, so sly prince Miloš offered to leave Lukić and Kragujevac chieftain Mijailo Otašević as hostages and return to Serbia to calm down the uprising. The opposite happened, Miloš continued his fight for freedom, and the Turks buried the hostages alive.
In 1819, Lukić’s wife Bosiljka renovated the church which Joakim Vujić described in 1828: ”There is a small church in this village made of wicker and boards. The church celebrates Archangel Michael. It did not own any land, but paid five akches annual tax to the Turkish spahi.”
Around 1840, it was allowed to bury locals next to the log church, so the cemetery is today called the Old Church. The name of the old church ground was preserved, although many don’t know that it used to be the center of faith and literacy of the entire nahiyah in the past. In the 1860s, parishioners decided to build a new church, two kilometers to the south, near the just cleared Čačak–Kraljevo road. The church was completed in 1874, but the first service was held on St. Demetrius’ Day the following year.


Thanks to the writings of priest Vladimir Popović, born in 1846 in Zablaće, priest of this parish from 1871 to 1894, chronicles of the village in the XIX century can be reconstructed to a certain degree. Vladimir’s uncle Vidosav Vučetić was priest of the Rajac parish from 1830 to 1856. Vidosav was one of the rare literate people, subscriber to books printed in Vienna, and influenced the education of his three nephews. The youngest Vladimir graduated from the seminary in Belgrade in 1867. The Vučetić family received inheritance rights to the parish and permanent surname Popović.
Vladimir first worked as teacher in Arilje, Zablaće and Đunis. He was ordained priest in 1871 and received a parish in his birth village. He cooperated with Milan Đ. Milićević. Prone to writing and oratory, he described his education, the building of the church in Zablaće and turning the municipality court into a school. For this school, inn owner Dimitrije Petković, newcomer from Tabanovci, donated 12 ducats, as well as 1.800 groschen for raising the church. A century later, the elementary school was named after his son Vladislav, who was born in Zablaće on March 10, 1880.
Protopriest Popović found an inscription on a page of a menaion in the Monastery of the Presentation in Ovčar about the existence of the school in Zablaće during the First Serbian Uprising. ”These books were renewed by Jovan Janković, teacher in Zablaće, for eternal memory, with the help of his students in February 1813, during the ninth year of the rule of Karađorđe Petrović.” He kept records of teachers and number of students during an entire century, as well as the position of the village teacher. Putting himself as head of the board for raising the third school in Zablaće in the autumn of 1901, in the manner of a great orator and educator, he called that day epochal. ”Ever since Serbs have existed in this soil, there was no such day for the school municipality of Zablaće. This day will talk about our love for our youth and national education for centuries.”
Popović’s printed brochure What is the priest’s reward and how it should be from 1879 is considered the oldest ”Čačak book” in the National Library of Serbia. In 1868, Vladimir Popović wrote a ”Sermon of Grief” in Srpske Novine, after the assassination of prince Mihailo. King Milan Obrenović ordained the priest from Zablaće with a non-military memorial for his achievements in the Serbo-Turkish war, and ”upon God’s mercy”, king Aleksandar Obrenović appointed Popović in 1894 member of the Religious Court of the Diocese of Žiča. The same year, he received the Order of St. Sava of the fourth degree. Protopriest Popović’s descendants handed his written documents to the Historical Archive in Čačak, so based on his writings, we have arguments about the past of Zablaće.


Vladimir’s son Milan Popović took over the Zablaće parish in 1900. He had the honor to welcome the Serbian monarch for the second time. In September 1902, king Aleksandar Obrenović and queen Draga visited Zablaće on their way from Kraljevo to Čačak and attended the service in the local church. A ceremonial lunch was organized for more than 100 people, a merry kolo dance was dancing in the churchyard, and the king replied to the priest’s toast by greeting the gathered people of the Trnava District.
Priest Milan Popović was with his parishioners and people in the Balkan wars and the Great War and performed his priestly and patriotic duties in Bizerte and the Salonica Front. Upon his return to Zablaće, he saw a church without bells, a dilapidated school, impoverished parish dressed in black. Led by his father’s example, he undertook the renovation of both the religious and secular temples, with the support of people and their contributions. In the year 1931, at the first elections after the January 6th Dictatorship from 1929, he was chosen by the people of the Trnava District and the city of Čačak to represent them in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia National Assembly. The booklet My work as member of the National Assembly published in 1935, tells us what representative Popović spoke in the parliament and the interpellations he received. In the eight municipalities of the Trnava District, seven schools were being built, for which the representative provided about 250.000 dinars and gave personal donations. The difficult position of peasants was an issue of all issues. He spoke that peasants are the soul of a country, criticized the low budget for agriculture, which was lagging behind in all branches. ”In my land, there are homes which are so poor that they cannot even provide gas.” In wars ”a peasant is the greatest fighter, they give their homeland and the entire military corps bread, they feed everyone”, and in peace they are forgotten and overindebted, he said. He also criticized the neglection of war invalids, suggested importing high-yielding varieties of vegetables and fruit, purebred cattle and poultry in order to increase harvests. Milan Popović was shot in 1941 by the Germans during their retreat from Čačak to Kraljevo, and the priest’s house was robbed and burned.
Although chieftain Avram Lukić, poet Vladislav Petković Dis, priests and teachers Vladimir and Milan Popović make Zablaće more than a village, they still don’t have memorials. Time is saving what people have forgotten. Lukić’s church land was populated by the shadows of ancestors and old books are the most enduring monuments. The Church of Holy Archangel Gabriel is still proudly serving people, the school building raised more than 120 years ago hasn’t lost its beauty and is full of schoolchildren. Perhaps some of them will remember their debt to the ancestors and bring them back to life.


New pages have recently appeared from the darkened past of Zablaće. In 2018, locals raised a monument to their only knight of Karađorđe’s Star with Swords, lieutenant colonel Miljko Tanasković (1888–1956), hero from two Balkan and two world wars. Tanasković was honored with the Albanian Memorial, Golden Medal for Courage, medals of the White Eagle, St. Sava, French Order of the War Cross with Palms. The monument is also a recognition for peasant Velisav Tanasković, who walked over Albania with his four sons (Tanasije, Milosav, Radovan and Miljko) and brought freedom on his bayonet, as well as to all the heroes from the Zablaće parish, who died in the wars from 1912 to 1918. Zablaće sacrificed 44 lives, Vapa 36, Baluga 25, Kukići 27, Lipnica seven, Goričani 54.
The story about mining engineer Dragutin A. Popović, born and baptized in Zablaće in 1869, is still incomplete. Life took Popović to Russia for education. As mining engineer, he traveled the most remote areas from the Dnepr to Vladivostok and from Crimea to the Arctic Ocean. Popović traveled all those places, mostly alone, with a backpack and necessary mining tools. From 1908 to 1913, he researched the polar areas (Spitsbergen, Bear Island, Varangerfjord). His last journey was in 1913, when he led the scientific expedition made of 100 people to the New Land, to areas man had never set foot before. The expedition in the land of ice, Samoyeds and polar bears lasted almost a year, moving the borders man had reached to the latitude 74 degrees north and to 160 kilometers from the North Pole. The scientific mission and Popović’s successful life in Russia were stopped by the October Revolution. He returned to Belgrade with his family, where he died before World War II. This sketch is just a hint about another great man born in Zablaće; we will certainly mention him again.
The village is growing, life is blossoming. New pages of history are opening. Perhaps the names of glorious ancestors will be written in one of them with capital letters. Since, without knowing the past it is difficult to recognize oneself in the future and survive in whirlwinds.


King Aleksandar Obrenović visited Zablaće on June 23, 1889. In his greeting ode to the Obrenović dynasty, priest Vladimir Popović, calling upon the ”fatal St. Vid’s Day, when Serbian glory and power were defeated in Kosovo, where the most wonderful Serbian heroes died”, bade the young monarch:
”Serbia still doesn’t have Kosovo and Priština. It doesn’t have Dušan’s capital city of Prizren; Skopje, Serbian gathering point; Peć, the Serbian patriarchy; Serbian endowments Visoki Dečani and Đurđevi Stupovi, Mileševa and Sopoćani churches, Serbia is still not splashed by the Lab, Sitnica, Struma and Vardar rivers, and outside of the borders of our Kingdom, the crying and sighing of our suffering brothers is still heard. The future expects you, Majesty, to unite with Serbia everything that belonged to it, when Your time comes, to settle and join our torn and quarreling brothers, and to lead Serbia from the waves of a turbulent sea into a quiet port of peace and serenity.”


Dis’ Birth Certificate
Priest Vladimir Popović wrote in the local church birth records that baby Vladislav, son of Dimitrije and Marija Petković from Zablaće, was born on February 27, and baptized on March 2, 1880 (according to the old calendar and March 10 of the new). This information erases any dilemmas about the birth of one of the most important Serbian poets, Vladislav Petković Dis (1880–1917). The elementary school in Zablaće was named after Dis in 1963, and a year later, a poetry event ”Dis’ Spring” was established in Čačak.


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