House of Vuk’s Foundation in Belgrade (KraljaMilana 2) was the house of the former merchant Demetrius Mite Golubovic, built in the years 1870/71. The building was built by architect Alexander Bulgarski, one of the greatest Serbian architects of the nineteenth century. Architect Branko Tanazević built a wing with an inner courtyard in 1912, and on this occasion he made the facade, which has retained its appearance to this day. Dragutin Inkiostri Medenjak, painter and professor at the Arts and Crafts school in Belgrade, decorated the murals at the entrance from 1906 to 1907 with ornaments and motifs of Serbian folk art.
The four allegorical figures – Religion, Art, History and Education -were very carefully and successfully restored in 1997.
The building is one of the oldest and most valuable historical monuments of Belgrade after the Terazijska fountain. Built in 1860, it is the oldest building on the Terazije plateau. The Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments declared this building a cultural monument in 1966.
The building, along with the activities which took place in it, for more than 100 years, are woven into the educational and cultural history of the Serbian people. The building was originally located to the Department of Education, then the Church, Endowment and Art Departments. From 1878 to 1952 the building was placed under the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs: first, the Principality and Kingdom of Serbia;then from 1918, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and later in 1944 the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of Serbia.
In the occupied Belgrade from 1915 to 1918, the building was used as the main office of the directorship of the Austro-Hungarian army, in which the main postal administration was housed. After the capitulation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941, the Ministry of Education had briefly stopped working, but the Department for Education in the German language was soon established, which remained until the liberation of Belgrade in October 1944. In November 1944, the Commissariat of Education People Republic of Serbia was established, which at the beginning of April 1945 was turned into the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education remained there until 1952, when federal institutions moved into the building as well: the Federal Patent Office; Federal Bureau of labor productivity and Editorial office of Youth.
Since 1988 the building has been assigned to Vuk’s Foundation. General reconstruction of the building was carried out from 1997 to 1998, with the assistance of the Government of Serbia. On this occasion, the ceiling of the hall, stairs and railings were successfully reconstructed, and the lighting of the main hall was solved by a modern chandelier.
In 2006, as part of the ‘Beautiful Serbia’ project, revitalization of the external facade of the House of Vuk’s Foundation was conducted, which was funded by the City of Belgrade and the Greek government. After a month of intensive work, this beautiful building – shined brightly.
Vuk’s Foundation, together with the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments, published a monograph on the House of Vuk’s Foundation (1996), under the name ‘The Building of the Ministry of Education, the author being Milojko Gordić.
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