Zemunska tvrdjava Gardos-eng
Zemun Fortress Gardoš, a unique and very important cultural monument, is a witness to great historical events that take place here for the past seven millennia, long before the construction of the fortress whose remains we keep today. The fortress was built on the site where navigation on the Danube has been controlled for centuries, as well as the confluence of the Sava and the Danube. On the site of the original fortress in the 1st century, the Romans built a defensive structure and named it Taurunum, and in the 11th century a medieval fortress was built, the remains of which are still visible in the old town of Zemun. During the turbulent history, the fortress was occupied by: Huns, Sarmatians, Goths, Avars, Franks, Slavs, Bulgarians, Byzantines and Ugrians. At the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century, the Ugrians turned it into a powerful fortress that has all the features of the Gothic era.
At the end of the 19th century, the Millennium Tower was built in the center of the fortress, which today dominates on Gardoš, and at the foot of the fortress is the oldest church in the city of Belgrade, the Nikolajevska church from the middle of the 18th century. The tower is named after an easy hill, the hill Gardoš, in the Zemun settlement of the same name. For the people of Zemun, it is the Tower of Janko Sibinjanin, a Hungarian knight and fighter against the Ottomans, John Hunyadi.
Of the medieval fortifications, only the quadrangular fortress has been preserved today, with a tower in the center. The Byzantine chronicler Jovan Kinam noted that in 1127 the Hungarians captured the Belgrade fortress and built the city of Zemun from its stones. Two decades later, the Byzantine emperor Manojlo I Komnin destroyed Zemun, he transferred the stones across the Sava river and rebuilt Belgrade. However, at the end of the 14th century, the Ottomans conquered and destroyed both fortresses, Zemun and Belgrade.
The famous battle for Belgrade, which was fought in 1456, was important not only for Belgrade but also for Zemun. On the right bank of the Danube, the Christian army was led by Janko Sibinjanin, or John Hunyadi, who managed to defeat the Ottomans and ensure peace on the southeastern borders of Hungary, for the next 70 years. Only three weeks after the end of the battle, while the victory celebrations were still going on, John Hunyadi died as a result of the plague in one of the towers in the Gardoš fortress. The people of Zemun did not forget their great hero and named the tower in which he ended his life Kula Sibinjanin Janka.
Namely, as part of the celebration of the thousandth anniversary of the stay and rule of Hungarians in this part of Europe, the Hungarians erected a monumental square with two monuments in Hungary and Slovakia, and four more identical towers in four cities, on all four sides of the world, and that on the extreme borders of the state. That is how, Zemun, as the southernmost city in the possession of the Hungarian crown, became one in which the Millennium Tower on Gardoš was built. The tower is a mixture of different styles and is 36m high. With the construction of the tower, a small park was arranged around the tower and inside the fortress, which until 1914 was a pleasant promenade of the people of Zemun, from which there was a beautiful view of the Lower Town and the Great War Island. At the beginning of the First World War, the Millennium Monument was damaged, when Austro-Hungarian soldiers used it as a machine gun nest. There are many mysterious stories about the basement of the tower. One of such legends is that a tunnel leading from the basement of the tower, which, under the Danube, leads to the fortress on Kalemegdan.
Today, the Gardoš Tower has been revitalized and is under the protection of the Institute for Monuments of the Republic of Serbia. Opposite the Zemun and New Belgrade quays is the Great War Island, and somewhere opposite the mouth itself is the Little War Island. All of them together with the Belgrade Fortress, which watches over the confluence of the two rivers Sava into the Danube, they preserve the turbulent and glorious past of Belgrade, which, like its ‘Pobednik’, still stands at the crossroads of East and West, at the most important gate of the Balkans
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