Belgrade Coat of Arms and Flag


The first records of Belgrade coat of arms come from the time of Czar Lazar's son, Despot Stefan Lazarević, when Belgrade in 1403 became the capital of the Serbian state for the first time, but until today it has not been determined for certain how it has looked like. The next coat of arms dates back to the time of Hungarian rule and it is presented in the heraldry register "Fugersko ogledalo časti" of 1555. The tradition of Belgrade coat of arms has been interrupted under Turkish occupation, for the Turks haven't been familiar with this sort of symbols, and it has resumed again when the Austrians conquered Belgrade in the XVIII century. At that time, upon the proposal of the royal governor Alexander of Wurttemberg, the Royal War Council adopted a new seal in 1725. The literature mentions also: the coat of arms from the Brockhaus Encyclopedia, the coat of arms from the Larousse Encyclopedia, and a supposed town's ancient coat of arms. It is important to mention that all of these coats of arms are known only by their prints on engravings or from the literature. Besides that, those have been mostly the coats of arms assigned to Belgrade by non-Serbian governments.

The creation of Belgrade coat of arms was started in 1931 by the President of the Municipality of Belgrade, Mr Milan Nešić. An expanded committee was formed, consisting of artists, heraldists, university professors, generals and state counsellors. The expanded committee has had many sessions, and has examined the matter, and at the meeting of the regular committee in May 19, 1931 the following conclusions were made:
1. The Belgrade coat of arms must be shield-shaped, slightly pointed at the bottom.
2. The elements of the coat of arms: national colours, a river - as a symbol of primordial power of Belgrade, a Roman galley (trireme) - as a symbol of antiquity of Belgrade, white walls with a tower and an open gate - the walls represent the settlement, the tower represents the city, and the open gate represents free communication.
3. The ground between the rivers and under the walls is red, as a symbol of blood, eternal suffering of Belgrade; the rivers are white according to the laws of heraldry; the walls and the tower are white, as a symbol of the "white city" (NOTE: The name of Belgrade - Beograd literally means "the white city"); the sky is blue, as a symbol of faith and hope for a better future.
The convincing winner of the open competition was the sketch of the Belgrade painter Đorđe Andrejević - Kun. Minor changes have been made upon suggestion of the jury, so the awarded and officially adopted sketch of the coat of arms was printed in colour in the official gazette of Belgrade, "Beogradske opštinske novine", No. 1/32.

After World War II, due to altered social circumstances, the city seems to have begun forgetting its coat of arms. The statutory solutions have been going from total absence of relevant provisions, via use of the term "emblem", with no blazon (description) of it, to the provisions which give blazon of a stylized version with no supporting documents.

Having been faced with a confusion over parallel use of both coats of arms, in the beginning of 1991 the City Assembly of Belgrade formed a working group for finding solution to this problem. The working group has suggested reestablishing legitimacy of the 1931 coat of arms, three minor corrections of the graphic display and the blazon of the coat of arms and the flag.