The Golden Hill villa (Zlatni breg villa) in Smederevo, better known as The Royal Vineyards (Kraljev vinograd), a one-time summer residence of the Obrenovic royal dynasty, is situated in the most beautiful part of the town, on a hill turned northwards, towards The Danube and the Banat plains.
The history of the Golden Hill Villa traces its descent back to the beginning of the 19th century, during Serbia’s liberation wars against the Ottoman sway. The estate, covered by vineyards and boasting a wine cellar, was founded by Prince Milos Obrenovic, in the third decade of the 19th century. He seems to have displayed a refined sensibility for a countryside setting, having chosen the best position possible. In front of the summer house stands a nicely shaped stone, the so-called binjektas, which the prince, being fairly short in stature, used for mounting a horse.
It was at this very position that, back in history, ancient Romans grew vines that yielded vintage wine, giving it a poetical name, Mons Aureus (Golden Hill). The winemaking tradition was continued on the same spot by medieval Serbian ruler despot Djuradj Brankovic and his noblemen and then by the Ottomans.
In 1865, Milos Obrenovic’s son, Prince Mhailo Obrenovic, restored the vineyards of the estate and built a one-storey summer residence there. King Milan and Queen Natalija Obrenovic organized parties and gathered eminent artists and writers (Milan Rakic, Laza Kostic, Milovan Glisic, etc.) in the residence. When the royal couple divorced, the Golden Hill Villa came into Queen Natalija’s possession and she hired a famous court architect, Jovan Ilkic, to make some alterations in its appearance. (By the way, Ilkic designed edifices in downtown Belgrade such as the Serbian Parliament building, the “Moskva“ hotel and the Officers’ Home – the present Student Cultural Centre). Natalija’s son, King Alexander Obrenovic and his wife, Draga Masin, spent a lot of time in the Golden Hill Villa, hiding due to their unusual way of life and marriage that was not generally accepted. They organized parties, feasts, receptions, gatherings and dances. It was there that they celebrated their birthdays and their first wedding anniversary and it was from there that the news of Queen Draga’s false pregnancy were sent into the world. After their tragic death in 1903, Natalija presented the villa as a gift to colonel Antonije Oreskovic, the head of the Serbian Army Drina Division.
The Golden Hill Villa was not a venue for parties only – some important historical and political decisions as well were made there – the proclamation of the Kingdom of Serbia in 1882, the enactment of major constitutions, etc. The king held ministerial sessions there, signed decrees and appointments, received foreign delegations coming for official visits to Serbia. The first official guests who stepped into the Golden Hill Villa were envoys of Sultan Abdul-Hamid. Ottoman pashas, European MPs and generals came and so did the head of the Russian secret police, Alexander Yosipovich Grabo, who acted as an intermediary between King Alexander Obrenovic and Russian Tsar Nikolai II.
Today, the villa houses a permanent exhibition of the History Museum and the Applied Arts Museum in Belgrade. Few original artifacts from the times of the Obrenovic dynasty have been preserved, as numerous valuables were dispersed worldwide.On the ground floor, there is a drawing-room, a dining-room and a kitchen, while on the first floor there are two suites and a study. The Golden Hill Villa boasts some 18th century furniture and decorations, as well as icons, and some 19th century Asian rugs. The most remarkable feature is King Milan’s study, which boasts a three-century old Persian carpet made of camel hair and consisting of 500,000 knots. There is a fountain in front of the mansion, designed by famous Serbian artist Olja Ivanjicki.
After the end of the Second World War, the villa and the vineyards became state property and a residence of the Serbian government. Architect Bogdan Bogdanovic conducted extensive reconstruction works on the villa in 1961. The Serbian presidency is now due to take over the villa and to hold gatherings at the highest level there in future.
Open to visitors from the 1st of April until the 1st of October.
Tuesday: 9:00, 10:30, 12:00 and 13:30
Saturday: 10:00, 11:30, 13:00 and 14:30
Tickets for The Golden Hill Villa visit
Adults: 200 dinars
Concession Ticket: 100 dinars
For children up to 7 years admission is free.
Visit tour of The Golden Hill Villa can only be organized by prior booking. For announcements of group visits and guide services, please contact the Tourist Organization of Smederevo.
+381 26 615 666