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Milivoje Radovanović

The history of the Sava banks of Belgrade begins around the Cathedral Church. From the Ottoman era, a Christian population lived there, including Serbs, Greeks, Vlachs, and others. The Radovanović family is one of the oldest Serbian families in Belgrade. The picture collection preserved by the descendants of this family is a valuable archive of the history of this part of Belgrade from the 19th and 20th centuries. They have shared their photographs and stories about their ancestors with us.

Lazar Radovanović was born in 1816 in the Serbian part of the then Belgrade, near the present-day Cathedral, the former Old Church. He was a café owner, and his tavern was located on the slope of the Sava River. His son was Milivoje Radovanović, a lawyer and judge who, through his work across Serbia, contributed to establishing the legal system in the new state. He was born in 1869 in Belgrade, where he completed elementary school, which lasted four years at that time.

In 1879, Milivoje enrolled in the First Belgrade Gymnasium. The gymnasium was then located in the present-day left wing of the Captain Miša's Mansion. His schoolmate was the later renowned jurist Slobodan Jovanović. The gymnasium was known for being an exceptionally strict school, so it is interesting that 113 students enrolled in the first school year of 1878/9, and only 31 students from that generation passed the graduation exam after 7 years of schooling. Milivoje was among them. The picture shows the graduates of the First Belgrade Gymnasium.

Učenici I beogradske gimnazije, oko 1885. privatna arhiva


Milivoje completed his law studies at the Faculty of Law in Belgrade. After graduating, he married Jelena, the daughter of Živko Kostić from Kragujevac. Živko Kostić comes from a family with a significant place in the history of modern Serbia. He worked as a comptroller in the main control office in Kragujevac. He was the grandson of Vojvoda Čolak-Anta Simeonović, one of the most important leaders of the First Serbian Uprising in 1804. During a conflict, he was wounded in the arm and crippled, earning him the nickname "Čolak" (which means crippled or maimed in Turkish).

Živko was married to Jovanka, and they had daughters Jelena, Danica, and Natalija, as well as sons Dragoslav and Kosta-Koja. Kosta was an officer in the army of the Kingdom of Serbia who fought in the First Balkan War but tragically died of cholera near Edirne. The First Balkan War was a conflict waged from 1912 to 1913 between the members of the Balkan League—Kingdom of Bulgaria, Kingdom of Greece, Kingdom of Serbia, and Kingdom of Montenegro—on one side, and the Ottoman Empire on the other. The cause of this war was the desire of the Balkan League countries to expand their territories. The war concluded with the signing of the Treaty of London.

In the picture (far right), a young Kosta in the uniform of a Serbian officer during the First Balkan War is visible.

The T-shirt with Živko Kostić's face 🙂

Milivoje and Jelena had three children in their marriage: Ruža, Jovanka, and Živko. The daughters got married in Belgrade, and their son Živko, like many young men of that time, wanted to participate in the war. Due to fragile health, he was accepted as a hospital attendant-volunteer but sadly passed away from typhus in Niš in 1915, during the height of World War I.

Milivoje Radovanović worked as a judge throughout his life in various parts of Serbia. He served in the court in Pirot, as well as in the Higher Court in Negotin from 1905 to 1907. In the picture, there's a scene of a family gathering in a garden somewhere in Serbia. Men are playing chess, children are playing cards, and two women are reading the daily newspaper Politika, which began publishing in 1904.

Porodica Milivoja Radovanovića na porodičnom okupljanju

Towards the end of his career, Milivoje moved to Belgrade, where he became the chief in the Ministry of Justice.

The descendants of Milivoje Radovanović shared valuable archival photographs with us, depicting a gathering of former graduates of the First Belgrade Gymnasium, including Milivoje Radovanović, Slobodan Jovanović, and other prominent citizens of Belgrade at that time.

Okupljanje nekadašnjih maturnata I beogradske gimnazije (Milivoje Radovanović prvi red krajnje desno)