One of the more modern buildings in Leskovac, named “Tonkić Palace”, testifies to the “golden age” of Leskovac, before the destruction that will come seven years later. This monumental building, which the people of Leskovac, due to the small number of buildings that had multiple storeys, called “palace”, is not actually a palace in the narrow sense of the word. In any case, it was built in 1937 and carries elements of art deco and neoclassicism. The building is under protection and has the status of a cultural monument, named the building of the hotel “Dubočica”.
The man who built it was the investor and Milan Popović-Tonkić, and the building itself was built on the site of the older family house of Antonije Tonka Popović, Milan’s father. Popović-Tonkić intended to build a building for mixed use as residential and business. He imagined the building as a four-story building, which will have business facilities in the lower part and apartments in the upper parts. The palace was designed by the Belgrade design studio Manojlović-Azriel (Miloš Manojlović and Isak Azriel). It also had a lift, which was a great luxury for Leskovac in 1937.
The load-bearing structural elements are built of concrete, and the styles vary by floors. Namely, the business ground floor is low, modest, made in the style of moderate academic stone rustic. Above the ground floor rises a richly worked middle, perforated zone of canvas. The façade is in the style of monumental academic classicism, with elements of palladian architectural aesthetics. The main motif of this composition is a rounded angular tract of disjointed longitudinal volume. The most impressive segment of the decorative system is the pilasters, a popular motif in eclectic architecture. Art Deco elements are visible in the refined lines of the facade. Tonkić palace was damaged in the Allied bombing of Leskovac in 1944. After the war, it was renovated, the floor layout was converted to rooms, and the ground floor into a unique catering space, and it housed the Hotel Dubočica, and many Leskovac residents still call it that way. As for its current condition, some window panes have been broken. There is a sports equipment store on the ground floor, and there are apartments upstairs. The stone of the facade got a yellow-gray colour over time.
Entrance to the building is limited, due to its multifunctional role.
This project was supported by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia.