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King Peter I became King of Serbia when he was 60 faithful to the freedom-loving formation of his youth. He translated into Serbian John Stuart Mill’s work “On Freedom” and published it, which he later put into practice when he became King. He established freedom of the press, civil liberties and Parliamentarism, all of which reached their peak during his reign.

As a man with frisky spirit, and volunteer in the French-Prussian (1870-1871), and an insurgent in the 1875 Uprising in Bosnia-Herzegovina against Ottoman occupation, under the name of Peter Mrkonjic. His achievement as king was that Serbia was viewed as the Piedmont of the Southern Slavs. After six years of war (1912-1918), he became the first King of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

When he returned to his homeland in 1903, he rushed to Topola, where he had not only the memories of his parents and his home, but also of his childhood. This King-Democrat stayed in Topola and spent his days there in the simplest way, with common people.

He spent a lot of time with his childhood friends and they reminisced their adventures. He was at that time known as the “farmer King” in the true sense of the word. Decades spent abroad (1858-1903), living in various European countries, had only strengthened his desire for the homeland. The most vivid expression of longing for the homeland was seen when he refused an offer, as an old man, to leave the country which was about to face Austro-Hungarian occupation. He said: “You don’t know what it’s like to be without one’s own people!” Having said that, he went through the Albanian Golgotha.

With the intention to build his foundation at Oplenac, King Peter decided to build an estate on this hill, where today his foundation is, the historic and memorial grounds at Oplenac, which include: the St. George Church (the Mausoleum of the Serbian Royal Family), King Peter House, villas and the Foundation House (Hotel).

 

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