Belgrade Fortress
Sane Mind Serbia

Belgrade Fortress

The Belgrade Fortress is the most important historical site in Belgrade. Its position overlooking the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers makes it a very unique place, because not many other cities have two big rivers.  Views from the fortress are spectacular.

The city-fortress was first established in the 3rd century BC. The city population lived within the walls of the fortress for centuries. Thus, its history was the history of Belgrade.

The fortress is a beautiful place today, right in the heart of the city. You can escape there from the crowds and the noise.  You can also spend a peaceful morning or an afternoon, surrounded by history, while you enjoy the views.

The Belgrade Fortress is divided in the Upper and the Lower Town and Kalemegdan Park. However, the lower section is neglected, despite the fact that it contains some historically very important structures. Anyhow, the Upper Town and Kalemedgan Park are the most interesting for visitors.

The main entrance to the park starts right at the end of Prince Mihailo street.

 

Belgrade Fortress
The entrance to Belgrade Fortress

 

As soon as you enter, you will come across the fountain “Unhappy Fisherman”, by Simeon Roksandić. Famous for his bronzes and fountains, he was also one of the most renowned sculptors in Serbia and Yugoslavia. He also made the same fountain for the Jesuit Square in Zagreb.

 

Unhappy Fisherman Belgrade Fortress
“Unhappy Fisherman” – Simeon Roksandić

 

The Promenade and Vista Point are one of several points within the fortress from where views of the city are the best.

 

Belgrade Fortress
The Promenade and Vista Point

 

From this point, you can see the river Sava and New Belgrade on the opposite side. In a photo below, you can see the Belgrade Waterfront construction site and bridges over the river.

 

Belgrade Fortress
River Sava seen from the Fortress

 

The Military Museum – founded in 1878, contains over 3000 ancient and modern artefacts. The collection includes Roman swards and helmets, Greek daggers, Serbian heavy knight’s armours, axes, shields, crossbows, armoured gloves and also western medieval weapons.

 

Military Museum Belgrade Fortress
Military Museum

 

There are also more modern guns, firearms and elements of soldier’s uniforms and equipment. The first permanent display opened in 1904 and it coincided with the 100th anniversary of the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman rulers.

 

Military Museum Belgrade Fortress
Military Museum

 

From there, the path takes you towards the central and the most prominent area of the fortress.

 

Belgrade Fortress Belgrade
Belgrade Fortress

 

In a photo below you can see Sava and a glimpse of Danube. On the other side of the river is New Belgrade.

 

Belgrade Fortress
Sava, Danube and New Belgrade

 

The Victor – is a symbol of Belgrade and its most famous landmark, erected in 1928. It commemorates Serbia’s victory over the Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian empires during the First and the Second Balkan Wars and the First World War.

 

The Victor Belgrade Fortress
The Victor

 

The monument is a standing bronze male figure with a falcon in the left and a sword in the right hand, as symbols of peace and war. It is on a pedestal in the form of a Doric column, on a tall cubic base. The statue looks forward, across the confluence of Sava and Danube and over the vast Pannonian plain, the area that belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire until 1918.

 

The Victor Belgrade Fortress
The Victor

 

A big scandal followed creation of this statue. They originally intended to erect this monument in the centre of Belgrade. However, the public challenged the erection of the monument in the city centre on moral and artistic grounds. The public made claims that the statue of a nude man insulted and damaged morality of chaste Belgrade ladies and girls. Thus, after a lot controversy, debate and criticism, they put the monument in its current position within the fortress.

 

The Victor Belgrade Fortress
The Victor

 

To get to the section where the Victor is, you have to pass through the King’s Gate, which is one of several remaining original gates that led into the fortress.

 

The King's Gate Belgrade Fortress
The King’s Gate

 

It dates between 1690 and 1696.

 

The King's Gate Belgrade Fortress
The King’s Gate

 

The best view of the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers is from the Victor.

 

Confluence Belgrade Fortress
Confluence of Sava and Danube

 

The Damat Ali Pasha’s Turbeh – named after the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, during the reign of Sultan Ahmed III. It was built in 1784, on the grave of Izzet Mehmed Pasha, another Grand Vizier and governor of Belgrade. The turbeh was badly damaged during the First Serbian Uprising. So, the Ottoman governor of Serbia, Marashli Ali Pasha, reconstructed it in 1819 and dedicated it to Damat Ali Pasha. Additionally, another two governors this time administering only the fortress, as Serbia gained autonomy, were also buried in the turbeh: Selim Sirri Pasha in 1847 and Hasan Pasha in 1850. It is one of the very few remaining Ottoman architecture monuments in Belgrade.

 

Damat Ali Pasha's Turbeh Belgrade Fortress
Damat Ali Pasha’s Turbeh

 

The Despot Stefan Tower -is one of the oldest constructions within the fortress, built around 1405, several years after the city became the capital of the Serbian Despotate, under despot Stefan Lazarević.

 

Despot Stefan Tower Belgrade Fortress
Despot Stefan Tower

 

The Zindan Gate – was built in the mid-15th century, between two round towers. From the 18th century the Ottoman rulers used the towers’ basement as dungeons and the gate’s name originates from the Turkish word for dungeon – zindan.

 

Zindan Gate Belgrade Fortress
Zindan Gate

 

The Ružica Church – is also within the Belgrade Fortress. The Ottoman Turks demolished the original church with the same name in 1521. In the 18th century, the site was a gunpowder storage.

 

Ružica Church Belgrade Fortress
Ružica Church

 

The church was further damaged during the First World War and rebuilt in 1925, by the Russian architect.

 

Ružica Church Belgrade Fortress
Ružica Church – the entrance

 

The Clock Tower – is one of the most important constructions within the Belgrade Fortress. The Venetian architect Andrea Cornaro built it in 1789. The gate under the tower also has the same name.

 

Clock Tower Belgrade Fortress
Clock Tower

 

The Inner Stambol Gate – built around 1750 and named after Istanbul, was the main gate of the fortress, within the second city wall.

 

The Inner Stambol Gate Belgrade Fortress
The Inner Stambol Gate

 

The Gallery of the Natural History Museum – in the Kalemegdan Park serves for exhibitions, educational workshops and conferences. It is a small gallery, but it contains a lot of of interesting exhibits.

 

Natural History Museum Belgrade Fortress
Gallery of the Natural History Museum

 

The Karadjodje Gate – the Serbian leader of the First Serbian Uprising passed through this gate, to conquer the fortress from the Ottoman Turks in 1806. The gate is from the 18th century.

 

Karadjordje Gate Belgrade Fortress
Karadjodje Gate

 

The Cvijeta Zuzorić Art Pavilion – built in 1928, in the Art Deco architectural style, was the first venue specifically built in Belgrade as an art gallery. Cvijeta Zuzorić was the famous 16th century poet and benefactor from Dubrovnik.

 

Art Pavilion Belgrade Fortress
Cvijeta Zuzorić Art Pavilion

 

The Belgrade Zoo – is also within the Kalemedgan Park.

 

Zoo Belgrade Fortress
Belgrade Zoo

 

It is a small zoo, but it contains a lot of animals and it is definitely worth a visit. The most recent addition to the zoo were two hyenas.

 

The Zoo Belgrade Fortress
Belgrade Zoo

 

It was neglected for a long time, but in recent times the zoo made a lot of effort to improve conditions in which they keep animals. Thus, newly renovated enclosures look good and spacious. However, in the large part of the zoo the works are ongoing.  It will certainly be interesting to visit it once they finish everything. The entrance is RSD 500, which is approximately £ 4 or Euro 5.

 

The Zoo Belgrade Fortress
Belgrade Zoo

 

Every visitor to Belgrade will inevitably visit the Belgrade Fortress. It is a magical place where you can relax and from where you can see the breathtaking confluence of Belgrade’s rivers. If you go to Belgrade, don’t miss it!

 

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