Yugoslav Ministry of Defence building

Last updated

Yugoslav Ministry of Defence building
Yugoslav General Staff
Савезни секретариjaт за народну одбрану
Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu
Serb-milit-bomb-nato.jpg
The damaged Yugoslav Ministry of Defence building in 2005
Location map Belgrade Central.png
Red pog.svg
Location within Belgrade
General information
StatusDamaged / partially used
TypeGovernment building for the Ministry of Defense [1]
Location Nemanjina Street, Belgrade, Serbia
Coordinates 44°48′20.2″N20°27′40.5″E / 44.805611°N 20.461250°E / 44.805611; 20.461250 Coordinates: 44°48′20.2″N20°27′40.5″E / 44.805611°N 20.461250°E / 44.805611; 20.461250
Construction started1957
Completed1965
Closed1999
Technical details
Floor area49,235 m2(pre-1999)
Design and construction
Architect Nikola Dobrović

The Yugoslav Ministry of Defence building (Serbian : Савезни секретариjaт за народну одбрану, romanized: Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu, lit. "Federal Secretariat for the People's Defense"), also known as the Yugoslav General Staff (Serbian : Зграда Генералштаба, romanized: Zgrada Generalštaba, lit. "General Staff Building") is a building that was previously occupied by the Ministry of Defence of Yugoslavia, a governmental department responsible for defending the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from internal and external military threats.

Contents

Considered to be a masterpiece of post-war architecture, it was bombed and heavily damaged during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Today, only a small non-damaged portion of the building is used by the Ministry of Defence of Serbia.

History

The building was built between 1957 and 1965 and it was designed by Serbian architect, Nikola Dobrović. [1] It is divided by Nemanjina Street, and its design is meant to resemble a canyon of the Sutjeska river, where one of the most significant battles of World War II in Yugoslavia was fought, with the street as a river dividing the two monumental, gradually completed tracts. As Nemanjina Street comes up the hill from the main railway station, the two parts of the building form a symbolic gate. [1]

In addition to expressive cascading forms, facades are characterized by the application of contrasting materials - robust, brown-red stone from Kosjerić and white marble slabs from the island of Brač. [2] The most striking visual motif representing the window bars on the facades, designed in the spirit of late modernism.

The first part of the building, standing across the government of Serbia building in Kneza Miloša street, is named Building "A" and has 12,654 square meters. [3] The other part of the building, divided by Nemanjina Street, is named Building "B" and has 36,581 square meters. [3]

1999 bombing

Around midnight on 29/30 April 1999, 40 days into the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the building was bombed two times by NATO in the space of 15 minutes, because of the structure's significance as a military facility. [4] [3] It was uninhabited at the time it was bombed, leading some to speculate that it was bombed more due to its symbolic significance as a representation of the state, rather than merely just for immediate tangible purposes. [1] It was bombed once again nine days later, around midnight on 7/8 May 1999. [3]

Post-bombing

Severely damaged by the 1999 bombing, the building has not been repaired for over a decade and is Belgrade’s most famous ruin. Since 2005, it has been the protected monument of culture, [3] symbolizing the 1999 NATO bombing and suffering of Serbia.

Building "B" was much less damaged during the bombings, and in the following years entrance of the building has been removed, for the safety of the pedestrians. Part of the building "B" has been used by the Ministry of Defence of Serbia.

Reconstruction

In November 2015, with the budget of 650,000 euros, the first phase of reconstruction of Building "A" has started, for the purpose of structure collapse prevention. [5] [6] By May 2016, the central part was entirely demolished and the pillars for the part of building close to the street were poured. [6] Around 5,000 square meters was demolished. [5]

In February 2017, the government of Serbia has decided to demolish most of the Building "A" construction with the obligation to re-build it to its original appearance once the country has the funds. [7] This sudden decision was explained with the high cost of the further reconstruction amounting to the estimated 7.66 million euros, while the demolition was estimated at 1.46 million euros. Minister of Defence of Serbia, Zoran Đorđević said that experts advocated for this solution despite already paid first phase of the reconstruction, while the military experts condemned this decision. [7] On 9 March 2017, the Association of Serbian Architects (an informal, private group) launched an initiative for the submission of candidature for the UNESCO World Heritage Site, also saying that the Government of Serbia wanted to remove it from the register of cultural properties, but due to the long legal procedure resorted to the reconstruction. [8] The Association condemned the decision and marked it as a "definitive loss of our culture" as it is a "monument of suffering and brutality of NATO forces". [8] In March 2015, on the occasion of the 16th anniversary of the beginning of NATO intervention, the government of Serbia organized a ceremony in front of the ruined building which some observers interpreted as the evidence that the ruin has indeed become a de facto war monument. [9]

Proposals for other purposes

Over the years, there have been talks that the building could be turned into a luxurious hotel of The Trump Organization. [10] [11] Following the reconstruction of Building "A" and later proposed demolition of the most of the construction, Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, said that there are plans for the construction of Monument to Stefan Nemanja and Museum of medieval Serbia on the place of the Building "A". [12] [13]

Panorama of Buildings Damaged in 1999 Kosovo War - Belgrade - Serbia (15803615912).jpg
Panorama of damaged Yugoslav General Staff in 2014, building "A" on the left and building "B" on the right

Related Research Articles

Preševo Town and municipality in Southern and Eastern Serbia, Serbia

Preševo, pronounced [prêʃeʋo]; is a town and municipality located in the Pčinja District of southern Serbia. It is the southernmost town in Serbia and largest in the geographical region of Preševo Valley.

Ponikve Airport Airport in Serbia

Ponikve Airport is an airport in the western part of Serbia, located on the Ponikve plateau: 12 km (7.5 mi) northwest from the city of Užice. The airport boasts one of the longest runways in the Balkans, and the second longest in Serbia.

Morava Airport

Morava Airport, also known as Lađevci Airport, is a mixed public and military airport in Lađevci, Serbia - some 15 km (9.5 mi) from Kraljevo, 25 km (15.5 mi) from Čačak, and 39 km (24.4 mi) from Kragujevac.

Slavija Square Urban neighbourhood in Vračar, Belgrade, Serbia

Slavija Square is a major commercial junction, situated between the intersections of Kralja Milana, Beogradska, Makenzijeva, Svetosavska, Bulevar oslobođenja, Deligradska and Nemanjina streets in Belgrade. The square was previously named Dimitrije Tucović Square after the prominent Serbian socialist.

National Museum of Serbia Art museum, Design museum, National History Museum in Belgrade, Serbia

The National Museum of Serbia is the largest and oldest museum in Belgrade, Serbia. It is located in the central zone of Belgrade on a square plot between the Republic Square, formerly Theatre Square, and three streets: Čika Ljubina, Vasina and Laze Pačua. Its main facade is on the Republic Square and the official address ia 1a Republic Square.

Nemanjina Street

Nemanjina Street is a very important thoroughfare in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, in the Savski Venac municipality. After the completion of the construction of the Railway station in 1884, it became one of the city's main infrastructure links. The street got its name in 1896, when it was named after a Serbian ruler from the 12th century, Stefan Nemanja.

Ušće, Belgrade Urban neighbourhood in New Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

Ušće is an urban neighborhood of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It is located in Belgrade's municipality of Novi Beograd. Ušće is located on the mouth of the Sava river into the Danube, thus the name. It occupies Novi Beograd's Blocks 10, 13, 14, 15 and 16 on the Sava's left and the Danube's right bank, covering a tip of land that overlooks the islands of Little War Island and Great War Island to the north and the old core of Belgrade, the fortress of Kalemegdan to the west. Ušće borders the neighborhoods of Staro Sajmište and Savograd on the south. As a compact grassy and forested area it stretches along the bank of the Danube into the Block 10, to the Zemun municipality and the Hotel Jugoslavija and the ENJUB shopping mall.

Bulevar kralja Aleksandra

Bulevar kralja Aleksandra is the longest street entirely within the urban limits of Serbian capital Belgrade, with length of 7.5 kilometers. Known for decades after World War II as Bulevar Revolucije, it is so distinct in the Belgraders' hearts and minds that they simply refer to it as the Bulevar, although there are 20 boulevards in Belgrade.

Serbian Railways

Serbian Railways is a Serbian engineering and technical consulting company based in Belgrade, Serbia. It is an affiliated member of the International Union of Railways (UIC).

Many human rights groups criticised civilian casualties resulting from military actions of NATO forces in Operation Allied Force. Both Serbs and Albanians were killed in 90 Human Rights Watch-confirmed incidents in which civilians died as a result of NATO bombing. It reported that as few as 489 and as many as 528 Yugoslav civilians were killed in the NATO airstrikes. "There is always a cost to defeat an evil," said NATO spokesman Jamie Shea, "It never comes free, unfortunately. But the cost of failure to defeat a great evil is far higher." He insisted NATO planes had bombed only "legitimate designated military targets," and if more civilians had died it was because NATO had been forced into military action. He then defended this notion by stating, "NATO does not attack civilian targets, we attack exclusively military targets and take every precaution to avoid inflicting harm on civilians."

Ethnographic Museum, Belgrade Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade, Serbia

The Ethnographic Museum is a museum located in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It is one of the oldest museums in the Balkans. The Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade fulfills its mission together with the efforts of various stakeholders in the domain of presentation, revitalization and development of crafts in Serbia.

Belgrade Main railway station

The Belgrade Main railway station was a train station in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It was built between 1882 and 1885 after the designs of the architect Dragutin Milutinović, and it has the status of a сultural monument of great importance. Until the opening of the new Belgrade Center station (Prokop) in 2016, it was the city's main station, and the busiest train station in the country. In order to free up the space for the Belgrade Waterfront project, the station was closed on 1 July 2018, and repurposed to become a museum.

Eternal Flame (Belgrade)

The Eternal Flame is a memorial in the Park of Friendship in Belgrade, Serbia. It is dedicated to the military and civilian casualties resulting from the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 and symbolizes the resistance of Serbian nation to the attack.

Ministry of Finance of Serbia Building

The Ministry of Finance of Serbia Building is a building of the Ministry of Finance of Serbia, located in Savski Venac, Belgrade, Serbia.

Balkanska Street

Balkanska Street is a street in downtown Belgrade, a capital of Serbia. It is one of the most recognizable streets in the city and one of the oldest still bearing its original name since the first official naming of the city streets in 1872. It is located in the municipalities of Stari Grad and Savski Venac. It has been described as "one of the most popular downtown streets, where the past and present dwell simultaneously", and one of Belgrade's liveliest streets. As the shortest route between the Belgrade Main railway station and downtown, for decades it was used by the passengers and visitors and, as the first street of Belgrade they would encounter, it was labeled as an "unofficial main transit thoroughfare of Belgrade immigrants".

Kneza Miloša Street

Kneza Miloša Street is a street in downtown Belgrade, Serbia. It was the main city's korzo (promenade) and today is one of the major traffic arteries of the city, location of some of the most important national institutions and a street with the largest number of embassies in Belgrade. It stretches through the territory of three municipalities: Stari Grad, Vračar and Savski Venac. Previously known as Topčider Road, it was later named after prince Miloš Obrenović, the first ruler of modern Serbia.

Bridges of Belgrade

Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is located on two major rivers, the Danube and the Sava which are spanned by 11 bridges in total.

Milica Šterić was a Serbian architect who worked at Energoprojekt for many years, founding and heading its architecture department. She is also responsible for many of the power plants built in Yugoslavia, which helped rebuild the country's economy after the Second World War. Known for her modernist approach, she is one of the first women in Serbia to undertake large scale architectural projects.

Old Post Office (Belgrade, Serbia)

The Old Post Office, is a former building in Belgrade, modern-day Serbia. Located next to Belgrade Main railway station, it was considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings and symbols of the city. Built in Serbo-Byzantine Revival, Post Office was mostly destroyed by Allied bombing of Yugoslavia in World War II and later reconstructed in 1947 in a functionalist style.

Milica Rakić Civilian casualty of NATO bombing

Milica Rakić was a three-year-old Serbian girl who was killed by a cluster munition during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "THE GHOSTS OF THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE: THE CASE OF THE ARMY HEADQUARTERS IN BELGRADE, SERBIA by Srđan MILOŠEVIĆ" (PDF). IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca . Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  2. Petrović, M. R. (30 July 2015). "Generalštab pola šminkaju, pola ruše". blic.rs (in Serbian). Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Tri varijante za ZGRADU GENERALŠTABA, ali na kraju ipak MORA DA SE RUŠI". blic.rs (in Serbian). 2 March 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  4. "A Kosovo Chronology". PBS . Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  5. 1 2 "Počinje rušenje nestabilnog dela zgrade Generalštaba" (in Serbian). Tanjug. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  6. 1 2 Rodić, Milena (11 May 2016). "ZGRADA GENERALŠTABA podeljena na DVA DELA" (in Serbian). Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  7. 1 2 "Sanirali zgradu Generalštaba za 78, ruše je za 180 miliona". insajder.net (in Serbian). 28 February 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  8. 1 2 "Generalštab je obeležje našeg stradanja". novosti.rs (in Serbian). 9 March 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  9. Ejdus, Filip (2017). "'Not a heap of stones': material environments and ontological security in international relations" (PDF). Cambridge Review of International Affairs. 30: 23–43. doi: 10.1080/09557571.2016.1271310 . hdl:1983/46946960-3281-4175-a8c1-6b46971a4e3f.
  10. "Trump Eyes Turning Serbian Army Ruin into Hotel". Balkan Insights. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  11. "Donald Trump to build a hotel in Belgrade". ExpatSerbia. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  12. "Na mestu Generalštaba spomenik i muzej Stefanu Nemanji". blic.rs (in Serbian). 21 November 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  13. Dragović, R. (27 December 2016). "UMESTO SRUŠENOG GENERALŠTABA: Nemanjićima muzej naspram zgrade Vlade". novosti.rs (in Serbian). Retrieved 24 March 2017.