Topola is a small town in central Šumadija which was founded on the right side of the small river Kamenica, where a poplar tree sprang up and branched. under the treetop of that poplar tree people and merchants found a place to rest, so in time , the town of Topola (poplar) got its name aft er this tree.
The first written documents about the town date from time of Austro – Hungarian census from 1817. The municipality of Topola is one of the seven municipalities of Šumadian district. it covers the area of 365 km² and it has 22 329 inhabitants. Th e municipality consists of the small town where 4.973 inhabitants live and of 30 villages.
The municipality has a modern local government that has invested a lot in infrastructure development in recent years. So, today Topola has 270 km of ranked roads, 800 km of not ranked roads and about 70 km of urban water supply networks with main pipeline which is 15 km long.
Fat soil and moderately-continental climate serve agriculture which is the guiding branch of economy. Special attention is given to wine growing and it is considered to be the industry of a special significance.
Besides agriculture, municipality of Topola is devoted to the rapid development of tourism, industry which is to be the backbone of the future development of Topola municipality. Topola is 80 km from Belgrade, 220 km southwardly is Niš and 280 km northwardly is Subotica, so because of its geo – graphical location at the crossroads, Topola seems unavoid – able tourist destination.
Topola attracts with wealth of cul – tural and historical heritage, stories about past and present, kings and founders, famous royal wines and vineyards. Topola, together with Ras and Studenica, is considered to be the source of recent Serbian history.
Topola was Karadjordje’s capital which inspires with tradition and culture, patriotism and orthodoxy, respects memory of ancestors and guides fu – ture generations.
CHURCH OF ST. GEORGE – THE MAUSOLEUM OF ROYAL FAMILY KARADJORDJEVIC
The church of St. george is situated on the top of little oplenac at an altitude of 347 m. This white fi ve – domed church of sophisticated forms and materials was built in Serbian-Bizantine style. The church was designed by an architect Kosta Ј. Јovanovic and its construction lasted from 1910 to 1930. The church is the foundation of King Peter i who was a grandson of Karadjordje, the founder of royal dynasty. The most important characteristic of church is its interior decoration made in mosaic that covers an area of 3 570 m². Cubes for mosaic are made in Murano near Venice of special type of glass paste. Walls of church are covered with more than 60 millions glass cubes in over 15 thousands shades color, and some of cubes are covered with fourteen-carat and twenty-carat gold. Th is impressive interior classifi es the church of St. george as one of the most beautiful churches in the world. Copies of the most beautiful frescoes from over 60 Serbian medieval monasteries are gathered in the oplenac church. in the center of the church , under the main dome, there is a big massive candelabrum.
This candelabrum is made of melted arms used in World War i in the battle of Kajmakčalan. Candelabrum, made in shape of Serbian medieval crown placed upside down, symbolizes the mourning of Serbian people for the lost of Serbian kingdom at Kosovo in 1389. in silence of oplenac church four of Serbian rulers and eighteen members of Karadjordjević dynasty have found a place of eternal rest. on the upper part of church there are two sarcophagi of honor made of Vencac marble – in the south choir is sarcophagus of djordje Petrović Karadjordje (1762-1817), the founder of royal dynasty, and in the north choir is the sarcophagus of King Peter i ( 1844 – 1921), the founder of the church. in the crypt ,where the tombs are made of dečani onyx, two more Serbian rulers are buried –duke Alexander Karadjordjević(1806-1885), son of Karadjordje, who ruled Serbia from 1842 to 1858 and King Alexander i who was murdered during offi cial visit to France in 1934. Skillfully incorporated into the environment of oplenac hill, Mausoleum of dynasty Karadjordjevic with its monumental exterior and wealth of ornaments and mosaic, represents the pearl of cultural and historical heritage of Topola and oplenac.
Of the entire fortified Karadjordje’s town, built in the period 1811-1813 by Karadjordje Petrović, the only parts that are preserved are: Main part of family house, Tower and Church of Our Blessed Lady. At the quarters is a constant memorial exhibition Vožd Karadjordje, dedicated to the time of First Serbian uprising and to Karadjordje.
Besides portraits of the great leader , his wife Jelena and comrades who fought together against the Turkish tyranny, Karadjordje’s personal belongings are very important. In the hall of great leader’s house, guests can see a cannon from 1812, a well known cannon named Aberdar( Herald ), which now misses its right handle.
King Peter I melted and incorporated that handle into his crown to make symbolic connection with his famous ancestor and to connect the time of his ruling with the time of dynasty founder.