Topola… A town, so significant for our history. Truthfully, as we know, it was a small town in the second half of the 19th century, a town of several thousands of people, there on the slopes of mountain Venčac. Firstly, as we well know – Karadjordje built an entire town there, a fortified town; there he trained his army, received dukes, commanders, foreign deputies, as we are well acquainted… Topola was a sort of other Serbian capital – and more, since we well know that Karadjordje wasn’t especially fond of Belgrade. First of all I would like to remember of what can be found in the notes of King Peter I at the time of WWI – that what is rarely quoted, not the memories of the encounters with important figures, which were quite frequent, but his memories which are maybe hard to associate with a ruler who is known as a military type, who is, nevertheless, aware of his special position. During the year 1915, from April until October, until the great retreat, thus half a year, King Peter mainly spent in Topola. In the notes we will stumble upon that at the end of May, according to the old calendar, because he annotates dates according to the old calendar, or at the beginning of June according to the new one, he spotted first strawberries and sent them to the heir of throne, Alexander. Also, it somehow sparks in those memories and surprises the notion that first watermelons came in August. Apart from that, of course, we stumble upon on what we expect… King looks, a bit astonished, those airplanes which appear above Topola. Airplanes were something new in those times. Some even threw a bomb in the nearby. They were not able to tell, it is quite clear, which are ours – that is first of all French, and which are opponents’. The relationship towards technological wonders of that time can be apprehended taking into account that King Peter also annotated when someone would come or go by car. If we know that cars appeared only a couple years before, we cannot be wondered by this fact. Apart from this, there were a lot of memories and this can be felt especially in the recollections of King Peter. In the end the whole area was connected to his ancestors. And about King Peter, it is sufficiently to say that he decided to build a family mausoleum here. And not only mausoleum… Although it all began after 1903 and the church on Oplenac was finished in its basic shape before Balkans wars in 1912, the construction continued during the WWI which preceded the retreat across Albania and Montenegro, so the prisoners of war were brought to Topola. Not any prisoners, but those skilled in stone carving and they were engaged in these works… The hospital was also built, Saint George hospital in Topola, which was opened couple days before the retreat – that day when Smederevo fell. In those circumstances, nevertheless they thought about these things…
…And to comment on the stories concerning secret tunnels under Topola and Oplenac. I think it has really prosaic explanation. It is scarcely known that, around hundred years ago, when only Belgrade had proper water supply system, they introduced the water supply system in Topola as well. So, there was special attention dedicated to Topola. As in the time of Obrenović dynasty special attention was given to Dobrinja, birth place of prince Miloš, as well as other places connected to dynasty Obrenović. So, Topola was fortunate enough to get water supply system very early. As a consequence, at that time there were digging works everywhere, so I suppose the part of story was connected to this fact. In the end this is vineyard region, as it is well known, so another part of the story is connected to this fact. Therefore, very often things have prosaic background, and later legends are born out of it.