-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design Florin Alexandru Stancu-

Passing through Serbia in July 2014,
I thought that in history
King Sun had to fight with hard clouds before this country became
a symbol of spiritual and physical resistance between two (or more) empires.

Thus, the Slavic Serbian tribes came to this territory
(previously inhabited by Thraco-Dacians and Ilirians,
then “visited” by Greeks and Celts, conquered by the Roman Empire
and remaining for a while in the Byzantine zone),
in the 6th century,
assimilating in time the local populations.

They adopted the Christian (Orthodox) religion in the 9th century,
after Vlastimir created the first Serbian Principality,
and it seems they had a cult for Saint Stephen (the first martyr of Christianity),
many important Serbian leaders being named after him, such as:
-Stefan Nemanja (12th century),
who descended from Vukan’s Dinasty
(founder of the Serbian Grand Principality)
and created the “Cradle of Serbian Church”;
-Stefan II Nemanjich (13th century), founder of the Serbian Kingdom;
-Stefan Uros IV Dusan (14th century), founder of the Serbian Empire
(which mainly included what was the former Yugoslavia later,
plus Albania and parts of Bulgaria and Greece);
-Stefan Lazarevich (15th century), who, after the Battle of Kosovo
(which meant the conquer of Serbia by the Ottoman Empire),
founded the Serbian Despotate,
continuing for a while the anti-Ottoman fight.

Then the Serbs were condemned to live under Ottoman occupation
and brutal raids of the Habsburg Empire.

But they made a heroic anti-Ottoman Revolution
led by Peter Karageorgevich in 1804-1813
and by Milos Obrenovich in 1815-1817,
so that Serbia became a semi-independent principality
and, in 1882, an independent kingdom
under the rule of King Milan Obrenovich,
who was born in Romania and whose mother was
a Romanian aristocratic woman, Maria Elena Catargiu.

After World War I (when the Serbs gave
an immense tribute of human lives fighting against the Central Powers)
Serbia realized a union with the surrounding Slavic countries as Yugoslavia,
a kingdom which, after World War II (when the Serbs also gave
an impressive human tribute for the good cause),
become a federative republic with a
(much freer than in other countries) communist regime.

The fall of communism provoked a violent disintegration of Yugoslavia,
and finally, since 2006 Serbia became a republic…

It is interesting, however, that the first queen of Yugoslavia was,
in 1922-1934,
the Romanian princess Mari(j)a of Hohentzolern,
as the wife of the Yugoslav King Alexander Karageorgevich…

But the Serbian-Romanian connections have been much stronger.

Thus, in Serbia
the Vlach (Aromanian) minority lives especially in the Timoc Valley
and the Romanian minority lives especially in the Serbian Banat and Vojvodina,
while in Romania the Serbian minority lives especially in the Timisoara zone.

Captain Baba Novac and his Serbian warriors
helped the Romanian “voievod” and “domnitor” Mihai Viteazul (the Brave)
to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the end of the 16th century,
Ion Ivanovici (a Romanian composer of Serbian origin)
composed the Waves of the Danube
(the second most famous waltz dedicated to the Danube River
after The Blue Danube by Johan Strauss II),
Lavinia Milosevici (a Romanian gymnast of Serbian origin)
became an Olympic champion for Romania in the 1990s,
a Romanian basket-ball team, Asesoft Ploiesti,
won an European trophy in the 2000s
using mainly Serbian players and a Serbian coach…

In their turn,
Vlachs and Romanians gave important contributions to the Serbian society,
and I would end this chapter with a few verses of cosmic inspiration
by the contemporary Serbian poet of Romanian origin Vasko Popa
(from Blind Sun - my English translation):

“The evening went to the world
With the bed on its back,
Bagging for a star.”

Obviously, being there for a short time,
I wanted to touch the heart of Serbia,
Belgrade (the White City),
founded by Celts,
developed by Romans and Byzantines,
and becoming the Serbian Capital in the 13th century,
the fortress of one of the most important victories of Christianity
against the Ottoman invasion in 1456,
then the largest city of the Ottoman Empire in Europe for about 3 centuries
before re-becoming the Capital of Serbia since 1841…

When I came to Belgrade from Timisoara
(the westernmost Romanian city, about 160 km distance of the Serbian Capital)
passing on the Pancevo Bridge over the Danube River,
I saw the Sun
and I wrote a tipuritura (the shortest Romanian poetic form):

The great Sun looks more than pretty
When he sets in the White City.

Then I wanted to touch the heart of Belgrade,
the Knez Mihailova Street,
launched in 1870
and named after Prince Mihailo Obrenovich III (1823-1868).

After that I wanted to touch the soul of Serbia,
Saint Michael’s Cathedral,
built in 1837-1840 by Prince Milos Obrenovich,
and completed after almost a century with the building
of the Patriarchate of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Finally, when I left the Cathedral of Belgrade
I saw the Sun again and I wrote another tipuritura:

King Sun, a chosen charity
Rising over the White City.


© 2015 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)