Smederevo Fortress near Belgrade

Smederevo Fortress near Belgrade

 

Smederevo Fortress is one of the largest flat ground fortresses in all of Europe spanning an area of nearly 11.3 hectares. It is located in the city of Smederevo about 30 miles south of Belgrade on the right bank of the Danube river. It was built between 1428-1430 on the order of Ruler of Serbian Despotate, Despot Đurađ Branković. When the capital of Belgrade fell to the Hungarian Empire, Smederevo’s Fortress was built to be the next capital of Serbia. Built with an extraordinary amount of manpower and time, this compound stands as quite the controversial structure in Serbian history. Untimely falling to the Turks in the late 15th century, the fortress was not returned to Serbia until the mid-late century. Smoderevo Fortress is described to be “one of the most striking and monumental pieces of architecture from medieval Serbia” and “the witness of Serbian creative force”.

In 1979, Smederevo Fortress has declared as a National Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance. The Fortress was placed on the tentative list for possible nomination as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. If you love European history and discovering medieval structures, this fortress is a sight worth your time and money.

 

Smederevo

 

History

The Fortress was built in the 15th century as the new capital of the medieval state of Serbia. Before Smederevo, Serbia’s capital was Belgrade. In 1426, after despot Stefan Lazarevic died, his heir Đurađ Branković returned the Belgrade to Hungarians and the medieval state of Serbia remained without a capital. To build a new capital, he chose Smederevo due to its location on the Danube. It provided an easy entree to the points along the river, permitted control of Danube traffic, and blocked the Hungarian entry into Morava valley.

The fortress has witnessed many historical events. In 1434, Đurađ Branković’s youngest daughter and Ulrich II Celje got married in the Fortress. In 1435, the brotherhood and friendship contract between Serbia and the Republic of Venice was signed in the Fortresses’ audience hall.

In 1459, The Ottomans conquer the city, which was the final fall of the city under Turks. In 1867, Turk Ottomans left the state, and Serbia was liberated. The surroundings of the Fortress have amassed the evidence of civilizations established over the time between the 15th to 20th centuries, which shows the advancement of the medieval Serbian state.

Architecture

Built-in Byzantine style, Smederevo is classed as a water Fortress because it is surrounded by water. When the fortress was completed few structural modifications were made because of a decline in its military importance. It is surrounded by 1.5 km long and 2 m thick crenelated walls, 25 towers, each 25 m tall. Two sides of the Fortress are bordered by Jezava and Danube rivers while the third side had two moats for a stronger defense.

 

Construction

The construction of Fortress was completed in four phases. First, a fortified manor was built for Đurađ Branković, at the convergence of the rivers. The second phase comprised of brickwork, for which stones, lumber, and lime were collected from different Roman cities. Subsequently, the throne hall to received visitors was built. Hall was built in a Gothic style with four double-arched windows. Hidden doors were built into the Jezava wall to provide safe passage to Hungary. Finally, nine years were spent to expand the fortifications, including a larger suburb a sacral complex, and a Turkish bath.

 

Visit Smederevo Fortress and Avala from Belgrade

 

Avala TV Tower in Belgrade

Avala TV Tower in Belgrade

Avala Tower

 

Avala tower is a telecommunication tower situated on the Mount Avala in Belgrade, Serbia. The magnificent tower stands 672 ft tall and is one of the tallest structures in Serbia as well as the highest tower on the Balkan Peninsula. The tower is one of the major tourist attractions in Serbia because of its exclusive design. It has an unusual tripod concrete base structure which symbolizes the Serbian tripod chair, and an equilateral triangle as its cross-section. It is the only tower in the world that doesn’t sit directly into the ground, instead, it is standing on its legs. The original tower was built during 1961-1965. The tower was designed by the Serbian architect Uglijesa Bogunovic and engineer Slobodan Janjic. It was considered a pioneering design of its time. On completion, it was among the top 10 tallest towers in the world. The tower has an observation deck to enjoy the mesmerizing views of the city that will leave you spellbound.

 

Sight from Avala mountain

 

Destruction

On 29th April 1999, the tower was destroyed by the NATO bombardment. One of the bombs struck one of the Avala’s legs, causing the tower to collapse completely. The bombing was orchestrated to abolish the Radio Television Serbia, which was a significant source of information during the war. Prior to the bombing, the station’s power supply was destroyed to stop the transmission, but a senior military officer installed a backup generator. The bombardment was intended to take down the Radio station permanently, however, the broadcast station prevailed as it was relayed on a network of local TV stations which broadcast its programming throughout the country. The Avala Tower was an iconic landmark not only in Serbia but in the Yugoslavia as well and its destruction was a major blow for the country.

 

Reconstruction

Just like the Belgrade itself, which has been destroyed and rebuilt 40 times, Avala Tower also rose from the ashes of the heinous attack and today stands as a monument of the country’s strength and pride. In 2004, a campaign was launched to restore the structure, and more than one million Euros were raised from public donations. In 2006, the construction of the new structure began. In April 2010, the new tower which is an exact copy of the original tower, except its 2 m tall, was opened for public.

 

Unknown hero monument

 

Where it’s Located?

Avala tower is located in Beli Potok, which falls under Belgrade. It’s a distance of hardly 20 km south to the base of Mount Avala, where the tower sits. If you want to get to Avala from downtown Belgrade, it will take approximately 30 minutes by car and 40 min by bus.

 

Best Time to Visit Avala Tower

The Avala tower is open for visitors all year round, but because it is a heavily forested area with tranquil walking trails, there is never a more magical time to visit Avala than early spring or summers. With live music and performances on the Avala promenade beneath the tower, summer has an additional advantage. Though winters are not bad at all and still makes for a beautiful trip, as the vicinity is covered with snow and you can enjoy enchanting views and amazing scenery from the tower. At the top of Avala mountain, tv tower is not the only attraction. You can visit the Monument of an unknown hero and a park around it. It is an ideal place to visit on a short sightseeing tour around Belgrade.

 

VISIT AVALA ON A PRIVATE SIGHTSEEING TOUR

Check our excursion to Avala and Smederevo