The Obrenović Dynasty – Decorations and Money
Thirty-nine panels displayed at the Sava Promenade will show decorations, coins and banknotes issued during the reign of the Obrenović dynasty (1815–1839; 1858–1903). The presented items are part of the Collection of Coins and Medals of the Belgrade City Museum.
The first segment of the exhibition displays medals that served as marks of the legitimacy of power and were granted by a sovereign or the state to military men and civilians in reward for their loyalty, commitment and other merits. The 19th century was full of significant events that shaped the history of the Serbian state: St Andrew's Assembly, gaining independence, the proclamation of the Kingdom, wars against the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, the adoption of the first Constitution – one of the most liberal at that time, King Milan's abdication and the wedding and murder of King Aleksandar. This turbulent period was largely reflected in decorations, which mirrored historical, economic and social circumstances of the time.
The second segment of the exhibition presents money, ranging from the first series of banknotes issued in 1876, the money from the time of revival of Serbian coinage – the first copper paras issued in 1868, to the money of the Kingdom of Serbia.
An important event for Serbia was the establishment of a national monetary system, though the country had only a limited autonomy within the Ottoman Empire. Until 1869, 43 different currencies of neighbouring countries were used in Serbia along with Ottoman money. That year, the first Serbia’s money minted in Vienna from an alloy of copper, zinc and tin was introduced as part of the efforts to establish independence and statehood. In 1875, the dinar became the main currency; in 1879, the first series of coins of the recognized and independent state of Serbia were minted. The modern history of money in Serbia began in 1884, when the 100-dinar banknote redeemable in gold was issued by the Privileged National Bank of the Kingdom of Serbia.
Visitors will also be able to see: the Medal of Loyalty, which is one of the oldest decorations minted on the occasion of St Andrew's National Assembly and the beginning of the second reign of Prince Miloš Obrenović in 1858; the Golden Cross of Loyalty, one of the rarest decorations granted to members of Serbian clergy on the occasion of St Andrew's National Assembly in 1858; the Order of the Takovo Cross of the third degree, the first medal in the Principality of Serbia established by prince Mihailo on the occasion of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Second Serbian uprising; the Medal of Princess Natalija for Diligent Service, as the first ladies’ decoration for "helping the wounded and ill soldiers in the war of 1876, 1877 and 1878"; the first silver coins – Serbia’s most beautiful and rarest coins –minted in 1875 by the Imperial and Royal Mint in Vienna, as well as the first test banknotes printed in 1876, which were never put into circulation because of the outbreak of the Serbo-Turkish war.