“Whoever wants to conquer the fortress, must first conquer his soul. The path through our own soul leads us to Belgrade, one of the oldest and most often destroyed cities in the world “- wrote the writer Milorad Pavić about Belgrade. On the hill above the confluence of the Sava and the Danube, is the Belgrade Fortress, one of the most beautiful on the Danube. Throughout the history of two and a half millennia, it was inhabited and conquered by various peoples: Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Austro-Hungarians, Turks. In the Middle Ages, the city was Serbian twice, during the reign of King Dragutin Nemanjić, and the capital for the first time during the despot Stefan Lazarević. The remains of the Roman Singidunum can be recognized in the part of the ramparts in the Upper Town, on the other side the foundations of the Despot’s castle and the metropolitan court, as well as the Despot’s gate and the ramparts of the Upper Town, have been preserved from the medieval city. The fortress we see today is mostly from the time of Austro-Hungarians and Turks. In the Danube region and Central Europe, Belgrade was the most important city between Vienna and Constantinople, a place of great events that changed the history of the city and its inhabitants. It was first mentioned under the Slavic name in 878 “as the most famous city on the Danube”. What we know about that Belgrade today are modest wooden architecture, dugouts and a buried house with stone stoves that archaeologists found at the Belgrade Fortress.

We have no reliable data on what Belgrade looked like before the Middle Ages, but on what the medieval and later city looked like we learn from a large number of preserved engravings showing the city and its natural surroundings with the confluence of two large rivers and a large river island. One of the surviving testimonies is Marseilles’ map, which shows the Big and Small War Islands, Lido and Ada Huja. The map depicts the Lower Town and the Upper Town with Kalemegdan. The Nebojsa Tower was renovated in the Lower Town, which preserves the memory of the turbulent events that took place around the tower, among which is the memory of Riga of Fere, a poet and a great Greek hero, a fighter against Turkish slavery. The Nebojsa Tower that we see today is not a medieval tower that was located in the Upper Town of the castle of the despot Stefan Lazarević, but a tower that was built later and which had the task of protecting the entrance to the port. In the 18th century, the Austrians renovated the tower, and then the Turks turned it into a dungeon and imprisoned the poet Riga of Fere, as well as many Serbian heroes. An exhibition on five levels in the tower, which testifies to historical events and personalities related to the Nebojsa Tower and the Belgrade Fortress, is also dedicated to great suffering.

Many historical records testify that Belgrade has been destroyed and rebuilt 40 times throughout its history. Its ancient ramparts were strengthened many times and rebuilt with the aim of defending the city, but they also gave in to the attacks of enemies and invaders. Belgrade withstood two Turkish sieges, but not the third. On August 29, 1521, the Turks, under the leadership of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, entered the city and Belgrade became an Ottoman city, the center of the Smederevo Sandžak and the main Turkish base for further penetration into Central Europe. Otherwise, in the four great wars, Belgrade was a key point of conflict between the two empires: the Habsburgs and the Ottomans. As Belgrade was occupied by invaders from both the East and the West, so the city changed its character. During the 39 years that the Austrians lived in Belgrade, the city was thoroughly renovated, reconstructed and turned into a real baroque city. The reconstruction of the city was entrusted to the Swiss, Baron Doxat de Morez. From that period, almost everything was destroyed except the Roman well. The real name of the well is the Great Well, which was built by the Austrians, and the colloquial name “Roman well” was created only in the 19th century. The 212 steps leading to the bottom of the well, below the Sava River, have always aroused curiosity and tickled the imagination of visitors, so they intrigued the famous director Alfred Hitchcock, who visited the Roman well during his visit to Belgrade in 1964. He then stated that “such an ambience has always been a real treat for him”.

By handing over the keys of the Belgrade Fortress to Prince Mihailo Obrenović in 1867, the Turks left Belgrade forever and then a new life of the fortress began. The space between the city and the fortress is transformed into a public city space and the establishment of Kalemegdan Park begins. Following the example of European parks from the end of the 19th century, Belgrade also got the Veliki Kalemegdan Park, which will be decorated with monuments to famous people. Today we call this space the Alley of the Greats. The idea of ​​the appearance of the park was first presented and designed by Emilijan Josimović, and the large and small staircase, the first woman architect in Serbia, Jelisaveta Načić. 

Today, there are important institutions in the area of ​​Veliki Kalemegdan: the Military Museum, the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of the City of Belgrade, the Natural History Museum and the Art Pavilion “Cvijeta Zuzorić”. The Clock Tower and turbe (tomb) have been preserved from Turkish times. In the Lower Town, next to the Nebojsa Tower, Barutana was opened for visitors, where sculptures and tombstones from the Roman Singidunum are located. In the Lower Town there are also sacral buildings: the old church of Ružica and the church of St. Petka with a source of healing water. 

The Belgrade Fortress was declared a cultural monument in 1947, and was established in 1979 as an immovable cultural asset of exceptional importance for the Republic of Serbia. The turbulent history that Belgrade has, but which many other cities do not have, is not accidental, because, as Jovan Cvijić said, “Serbia is a house on the road, and the gate of that house is Belgrade.”. At that gate of the Balkans, for nine decades, it has been welcoming and sending off the ships, “Pobednik” as the unique symbol of Belgrade

Захваљујемо се на помоћи при реализацији пројекта:

  • ТО општине Бач, дир. Дарко Војновић, www.turizam.bac.rs
  • ТО града Новог Сада, дир. Бранислав Кнежевић, www.novisad.travel
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  • Туристичко друштво Земун, Мирјана Николић
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  • ТО града Београда, зам. дир. Слободан Унковић, www.tob.rs
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  • Тврђава Голубачки град, Искра Максимовић, tvrdjavagolubackigrad.rs
  • Центар за културу Кладово, дир. Жаклина Николић, www.kulturakladovo.rs
  • ТО Шабац, дир. Тамара Пејић, www.sabacturizam.org
  • ТО општине Пећинци, дир. Љубица Бошковић, www.pecinci.org
  • Републички завод за запштиту споменика културе - Београд

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