When Belgraders say that a concert, a scientific lecture or a panel discussion “on Kolarac” it is clear that they are referring to the Ilija Kolarac Foundation.
The Student Square building, intended for beautiful and useful experiences and knowledge, has been available to the city since the 1930s.
The endowment clerk who bequeathed all his property to “the Serbian people for the purpose of spreading science and culture”, merchant Ilija Milosavljevic Kolarac, was born in 1800 in the village of Kolari near Smederevo.
He spent his life in Belgrade and Pancevo, always devoting money to education and culture. In 1861 he personally founded the Literary Fund to assist the Serbian publishing industry, and his last wish was to leave his small fortune to establish a university, which would bear his name.
At the end of 1932, Kolarac’s National University began to operate, in a new building designed by architect Petar Bajalović for the purpose.
The People’s University had a concert hall, one of the most acoustic in Europe, and rooms for scientific and popular science lectures, studies and classes, a foreign language school, a library. The institution has maintained a similar concept to this day.