Topola got its name, so the story goes, after three poplar (topola) trees which could be found near the Kamenica river. People would come by, stayed and rested here from their journeys on the way from Belgrade to Rudnik mountain. The poplar trees were easily recognizable, and in the end of the 18th century the name Topola replaced the town’s name Kamenica which was used until then. That is, the town was called after a stream which passed between and separated the village Mitrovčić and the town of Topola. Right near Kamenica stream, where there was a fertile ground for poplars, stood those three trees and it’s logical that they made an impression. And a tavern, which stands here for more than 200 years, if not more, is connected to a night lodging and resting place of passengers, so the very existence of the tavern is connected with those poplars trees in the nearby and a tree-lined path after which Topola got its name. As a settlement, here near Oplenac, Topola was formed at the time of Karadjordje. Before him, the settlement mainly occupied the other side, the area of the present-day village Mitrovčić and village Topola. And the place where we stand now is the new town of Topola which was formed at the time of Karadjordje, and its centre is the very town of Karadjordje. Going up towards Oplenac, we have the oldest core of the town protected by the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments.In 1882, at the time of the Obrenović dynasty Topola got the status of a town. It received that status from King Milan Obrenović, which is a very interesting fact. Today it’s a municipality with around 356 square meters and 25.000 of inhabitants, and the center is the town with 5000 inhabitants, a very interesting place in cultural and historical sense with tradition which lasts more than two centuries.

Within the municipality, we have village Lipovac and its art colony with a tradition almost half century old. It gathers recognized painters, artists, but for a couple of years now some multimedia works could also be seen in the art colony. The art colony gathered guests from Belgium, Russia, China, the Netherlands, so it doesn’t have only a national character, but international one as well. At the moment, the selector is Željka Momirov and she as well has very interesting guests. The colony isn’t just a host to guests with formed academic careers, but also to those talented yet to be acknowledged in the world of painting.

Then, there is the Folklore Festival, the largest cultural event within the tourist manifestation Oplenac Vintage, which also has a tradition more than half century long. One of the initiators of the Festival, which is the core event of the Oplenac Vintage, was ethnographer Mile Nedeljković Topolac, a very interesting publicist, editor and journalist of many media, even Politika. He wrote about Karadjordje in that period and researched the origin of people of Topola. The whole manifestation, according to the newest data, is the third most visited manifestation in Serbia, after Exit and Guča. It lasts three days, and is traditionally held every second weekend in October, and when the weather is good, it is visited by a very large amount of people. If I’m not mistaking we had visits amounting to around 200.000 people.

Topola is an interesting place also because of the people who come to live here as pensioners. Here in Topola we have a paradoxical situation with literary nights, which are less visited in much larger towns then they are here, because we have very interesting audience here for these kinds of events. The last time, when Dejan Ristić was here, there wasn’t an empty seat, more than 100 people attended the event. We, the towners of Topola are we interesting people, it is a small place which has a lot to offer.

When someone visits Topola, they usually visit the Mausoleum and the entire complex of the Endowment of King Peter. Apart from that, there are also monasteries from the late Middle Ages, in Lipovac village, between Topola and Arandjelovac, that is between Lipovac and Brezovac, both of the villages consider it their own. The monastery is supposedly, according to the stories, the endowment of Djuradj Branković, although it seems to me a bit strange, he was a ruler after all. But why not, our rulers didn’t erect endowments which are pretensions. When you look at endowments of early Nemanjić dynasty, Studenica monastery isn’t big, on the contrary, it’s quite modest but it made a mark in history. As a historian, I cannot confirm those claims, but it’s an interesting story that leaves its sway.

In history sometimes, it’s not important if something its true, but if it influences the collective consciousness and memory. Our history is like this, consciousness and memory are deeply intertwined with that, so to say, fictive projected truths, because we cannot know all the details we have that collective inclination towards semi mythical or legendary contents.

When we have this project in mind, anecdotes are useful material and they are significant for comprehending the consciousness of the people in this region.