Golubac fortress

Golubac FortressOn the walls of the magnificent Golubac fortress the “košava” windbreaks the waves of the Danube where the river is possibly most powerful, just before entering the largest gorge in Europe between the mighty Carpathian mountains

Like a sad, lonely Byzantine princess, like an eternal vigilant guard by whom no one can slip into the Djerdap gorge (eng. The Iron Gates of the Danube), the famous Golubac fortress has been defying centuries.

Its founder remains unknown and one can guess it originates from the 14th century. It has always been of great significance so everyone wanted it.

Numerous conquerors walked in it considering it their own, but during centuries it only had one master, the Danube, the only one that knows all its secrets. We would like the Danube to tell us who built this perfect fortress on a cliff just by the road, and also which of the legends about its name is true.

One thing is certain, all stories about this fortress are sad, and the saddest one takes us back to the time when this part of Serbia was under the Ottoman rule.

A girl named Golubana was the most beautiful in the area. A word was spread about her beauty, and the story came to a cruel Turkish Pasha who fell in love with her. She refused his love. To get his vengeance, the Pasha tied the poor girl to a rock sticking out from the water in the middle of the river opposite the mighty fortress, where she died in pain watching the city that was later named after her.

The second legend tells the story about the city that was named after the Byzantine princess Jelena (Irene Kantakouzene), the wife of despot Djuradj Branković. She tried to drive away from her loneliness and sorrow by keeping pigeons that would come and sit on her white hands and she would tell them the story about her sadness and far Byzantium she longed for since she wasn’t popular among the Serbian people…

The actors of the third legend are wild pigeons that lived on the rocks surrounding the fortress, and after them, that have chosen this place to be their home, the fortress was named after.

And what stories about Golubac the history wrote?

It is supposed that this stone witness of numerous historic revolutions and battles, after the Battle of Kosovo (1389) fell in the hands of the Ottoman Empire, and then Golubac was the matter of dispute between two great empires, the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires.

Golubac fortress has ten towers. The first and the true builder of this fortress gave it nine towers set in front, back and lower town, but Turks added another tower and strengthened the fortress with cannon openings. All towers are built in a shape of a square except the donjon tower (the strongest tower of the fortress, the last stand of defense) that has a polygonal base, and the cylindrical top, thus the name “Šešir kula” (Hat Tower).

Not far from the fortress, a great settlement was created, also called Golubac and there was an old road leading to it and going around the fortress. However, after World War I, a new road was constructed passing through the very walls of the fortress, and now a days a major roadway to Romania leads through the fortress.

So today passengers are left breathless when passing through an unusual tunnel above which the old fortress rises and their eyes seek the ending of the blue river Danube that here resembles the sea.

How to get to the Golubac fortress?

When you are already here, don’t miss…

Visiting the magnificent Djerdap gorge, the Djerdap National Park and the archaeological site from the Stone Age – Lepenski Vir.

Don’t miss seeing Ram fortress, also on the bank of the mighty Danube, 15 km from the city of Veliko Gradište. And once you are already here, relax at Srebrno jezero (eng. Silver lake), Google map to lake >>HERE, of magnificent beauty, located also near this town.


Biker-friendly-Serbia-logo-2

Biker Friendly locations

  • Vila Dunavski Raj – Villa Danube Paradise / distance 11 Km >>Go there

Felix Romuliana

felix Romulijana2

The ancient imperial palace Felix Romuliana was located in today’s Eastern Serbia, and the remains of it’s gigantic towers and fortifications show the might of the Roman emperor Galerius, buried on the hill above it.

The monumental imperial palace Felix Romuliana was created when the Roman Emperor Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus, in the late period of his reign, decided to withdraw to his birth place. Its remains were found in the archaeological site known also as Gamzigrad, near the city of Zaječar in Eastern Serbia.>>Google maps to Zaječar

In 2007 Gamzigrad-Romuliana, Palace of Galerius, was put on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List.

Galerius (250-311) dedicated this luxurious imperial palace to his mother, Romula. His mother was a Dacian who left the banks of the Danube because of the Carpians’ attacks and married a herdsman. Galerius first followed his father’s occupation and he got the name Armentarius (Latin: armentum, herd), that followed him even when he became the emperor.

Galerius built a grandiose imperial complex, fortified with walls and 20 defensive towers. The complex was named Romuliana after the Emperors mother, Romula.

The city comprised of the imperial palace Felix Romuliana, a little temple, a large temple and public baths protected by defensive walls and system of towers.

Buildings are richly decorated with frescoes, mosaics displaying figural and geometric motifs, and decorations of great historical and artistic value. The palace is the example of the unique Roman court architecture and it is its best representative.

felixThe Felix Romuliana palace was never completed, and Roman emperors gave this monumental complex to the Christian church in the 4th century.

A century later the palace was destroyed by barbarian tribes and in the 6th century the Emperor Justinian I rebuilt the palace and turned it into a border stronghold. After the attacks of Slavs by the end of the 6th century, the imperial residence was abandoned. In the 11th century the complex came to life once again as Slavic settlement.

Archaeological excavations were initiated in 1953 discovering several palaces and temples within the city walls. The traces of first habitats of the town of Gamzigrad were found to the north from the city walls, as well as in the very city.

The archaeologists found stone axes from the 3rd century BC, pieces of pottery from the late Bronze Age, jewelry from the late Iron Age. In the 5th and the 6th century BC Tribals established their settlement within the city walls, but it didn’t last for a long period of time. As there is no evidence of archaeological remains from the last century BC, it is not certain who the people that Romans found here were.

The discovery of the inscription “Felix Romuliana” in 1984 solved the mystery of Gamzigrad. The inscription reveals the full name of the complex mentioned in the work of anonymous writer from around the year 360, in Epitome of Aurelius Victor and Procopius’s De Aedificiis, written between 553 and 555.

There is data found in Epitome that the Roman Emperor Galerius was born and buried in Dacia, in the place called Romulianum, named after his mother Romula.

Procopius mentions Romuliana talking about the castrums rebuilt by Justinian I. Thus the place where Galerius was born and buried appears as Felix Romuliana (the inscription from 306-311), Romulianum (around year 360) and Romuliana (around year 555).

Today it is certain that Galerius and his mother were buried near Felix Romuliana, at the site called “Magura”, where two stone tombs, richly decorated with architectural ornaments, and two mounds with bonfires were discovered. According to the ancient ritual the emperor and his mother were ceremonially burned thus completing their apotheosis.

Did you know ?

17 Roman emperors were born on the territory of today’s Republic of Serbia. One of them, and at the same time the most significant, is remembered as the emperor who proclaimed Christianity an official faith. It is Constantine the Great, born in Nis.

How to get to Felix Romuliana?

When you are here, don’t miss…

In Zaječar: Radul beg’s residence, one of the oldest structures in the city as well as the Turkish water mill in which today is a restaurant of traditional Serbian cuisine.

If you like rock music and good gigs, then Zaječar is the right place for you in the first half of August because it’s the time for the “Zaječar Gitarijada” (Guitar festival).

The Gamzigradska banja (eng. Gamzigrad spa) is close to Felix Romuliana, on the north side of Mt. Rtanj. From that road you can take the route to Sokobanja which will amaze you with its wild nature.

See the magnificent Djerdap gorge (eng. The Iron Gates of the Danube), the Djerdap National Park and the archaeological site from the Stone Age – Lepenski Vir.

On that road you can also find the medieval forts on the Danube: Fetislem near Kladovo and for the other two you need to go further to Golubac and Smederevo fortress.

Trajan's_Bridge_Across_the_Danube,_Modern_Reconstruction

Trajan’s Bridge Across the Danube (first century)

On this road of Roman emperors, visit other structures from Roman times. Near Kladovo you can find Tabula Traiana (eng. Trajan’s board) and bridge as well as the Diana fortification from the first century. Visit Mediana in Niš, the outskirts of the ancient city of Naissus from the 4th century where the roman emperors stayed while visiting this city.

Don’t miss drinking a glass of wine in this region, because two wine routes can be found in this part of the country: Knjaževac wine route and Negotin wine route.

Civilization starts here!

VINCA-Statuettes-ALIENS1

 

Vinca-figureSince then the archaeological excavations have been revealing numerous cultural layers of a civilization preserved in a seemingly just an ordinary hill in Vinča. Archaeologists concluded that it was the largest Neolithic settlement in Europe, dating back more than 7,000 years B.C, and there they found the remains of several cultural layers.>>READ MORE


Pločnik archaeological site

The Vinca culture flourished from 5500 to 4000 BC on the territories of what is now Bosnia, Serbia, Romania and Macedonia. Pločnik archaeological site dates from the Early Neolithic period from 5500 to 4700 BC…>>READ MORE


When they find an older civilization in the world, we think it all started here!

Pločnik archaeological site

Pločnik archaeological site

Pločnik is the Neolithic archaeological site located in southern Serbia, in the village of the same name, at the bank of Toplica River, close to Prokuplje, 12 km away from Kursumlija. The archaeological complex of Pločnik is part of the Vinca culture. The Vinca culture flourished from 5500 to 4000 BC on the territories of what is now Bosnia, Serbia, Romania and Macedonia. Pločnik archaeological site dates from the Early Neolithic period from 5500 to 4700 BC. Pločnik archaeological site spreads on 120 hectares that included several parts between courses of three rivers. The unnamed tribe who lived between 5400 and 4700 BC in the 120-hectare site at what is now Pločnik site, knew about trade, handcrafts, art and metallurgy what testify on the metropolis with a great degree of sophistication and a taste for art and fashion. They were engaged in agriculture and stone was the main material for making their tools. They pursued beauty and produced 60 different forms of wonderful pottery and figurines, not only to represent deities, but also out of pure enjoyment. Within the archaeological complex of Pločnik numerous wonderful clay pottery and lots of stone and copper objects were found.

Pločnik archaeological site1The Pločnik archaeological site was uncovered accidentally in 1927 by Miodrag Grbic, curator of The National Museum in Belgrade when the then Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was building a rail line from the southern city of Nis to the province of Kosovo. Pločnik archaeological site has been actively investigated with great interest since 1996 by Serbian and international experts. In Pločnik archaeological site experts found a “copper chisel and stone ax in which the foundation has proven to be 7,500 years old, leading us to believe that it was one of the first places in which metal weapons and tools were made in prehistoric times.”Archaeologists hope that the find in southern Serbia of Pločnik will prove the theory that the metal age began a lot earlier than it was believed to have. This finding along with 40 similarly valuable ones before it among which there were more parts of metal tools and weapons, as well as a smelter and furnace, prove that people inhabiting this territory began working with metal more than 5000 years before the new era. Houses had stoves, there were special holes for rubbish and the dead were buried in a tidy necropolis. The community of what today is Pločnik was especially fond of children. Artifacts found of Pločnik site include toys such as animals and rattles made of clay, and small, clumsily crafted pots apparently created by children at playtime. Men worked a furnace melting metal for tools. An ox pulled a load of ore, passing by an art workshop and a group of young women in short skirts. “They knew how to find minerals, to transport them and melt them into tools, which is fascinating find for evidence of early human activity”. The metal workshop in Pločnik was a room of some 25 square meters, with walls built out of wood coated with clay. The furnace, built on the outside of the room, featured earthen pipe-like air vents with hundreds of tiny holes in them and a proto-type chimney to ensure air goes into the furnace to feed the fire and smoke comes out safely. The early metal workers very likely experimented with colorful minerals that caught their eye – blue azurite, bright green malachite and red cuprite, all containing copper – as evidenced by malachite traces found on the inside of a pot. Archaeological excavations from the first decade of the 21st century lead us to believe that it was one of the first places in which metal weapons and tools were made in the prehistoric times. Recent excavations at the Plocnik site – part of the Vinca culture which was

Pločnik archaeological site2

Europe’s biggest prehistoric civilization – point to a metropolis with a great degree of sophistication and a taste for art and fashion. Prokuplje Museum archaeologist Julka Kuzmanović-Cvetković said that the Pločnik site “shows that the people who lived on our territory started civilization that presented the basics of the technological revolution.” Julka Kuzmanovic-Cvetkovic has come up with some rather surprising observations as to how members of an as yet unknown people may have dressed. “If the figurines found in an ancient European settlement are any guide, women have been dressing to impress for at least 7,500 years. According to the figurines we found, young women were beautifully dressed, like today’s girls in short tops and mini skirts, and wore bracelets around their arms,” Recent excavations at the site – part of the Vinca culture which was Europe’s biggest prehistoric civilization – point to a metropolis with a great degree of sophistication and a taste for art and fashion. They pursued beauty and produced 60 different forms of wonderful pottery and figurines, not only to represent deities, but also out of pure enjoyment”. Copper Age is significant because it marks the first stage of human use of metal. The Pločnik site has possibly been destroyed in large fire at the beginning of the 5th Millennia BC.

At site in Plocnik discovered in 1927 archaeologists found furnace and melting pots laced with copper. “All this undeniably proves that human civilization in this area produced metal in the 5th millennium BC,” said archaeologist Dusan Sljivar. Previously it was thought that the Copper Age started around the 4th millennium BC in southeastern Europe and the Middle East.

Plocnik is part of thew Vinca culture which is Europe’s biggest prehistoric civilization that flourished in present day Serbia between 6th and 3rd millennium BC. The settlement of Plocnik was destroyed at some point, probably in the first part of the fifth millennium BC, by a huge fire. Recently the construction and reconstruction of the uniquely interesting Plocnik neolithic settlement was completed which includes five neolithic houses made of authentic material – wood and earth providing outstanding insight of the Neolithic way of life. Thanks to the exceptionally interesting way of presentation of the Neolithic life at the Pločnik site by local and international researches and professional and skilled guides, like copper melting in traditional way or weaving and other authentic activities, as well as numerous nearby cultural-historical monuments and natural beauties, this part of Serbia provides rich and unique experiences to visitors.


Related stuff read this too!

The remains of the oldest Neolithic civilization in Europe lies in Vinča, on the right bank of the Danube, not far from downtown Belgrade…>>READ MORE

VINCA-Statuettes-ALIENS1


If you are already here visit …

Tall stone formations of Djavolja Varoš (eng. Devil’s Town) that are actually a group of petrified wedding guests, or at least that is what a legend tells, were nominated for one of the New seven wonders of nature…READ MORE

Niš fortress

Niš fortress 1

Old, strong, high ramparts and grates of Niš Fortress, which has stood on the right bank of the Nišava since the first half of the 18th century, are counted as one of the most beautiful and best preserved fortresses in the Central Balkans. The history of the fortification in this location began in the 1st century AD when Roman legions paved the way for a new civilization.
Built both by Romans and Serbs, the fortress was razed and rebuilt several times until the Ottomans gave its final appearance in 1730. Niš is one of the rare cities in the world with an impressive fortress in the very center that hasn’t been moved for two millennia.

Apart from the well preserved stone walls and gates, the Fortress exhibits numerous remains from the turbulent history of Nis. It is also a park, a green oasis in the centre of the city , with a lot of caffes and children playgrounds.

  • STAMBOL GATE (1723.) represents a symbol of the Fortress and the city of Nis. It was built in the period between 1719. and 1723. The marble slab, which is located above the massive wooden gate, was set in 1723. and represents the completion of the main works on the fortress. Besides the rich oriental ornaments on the topside of the gate, there are gear-shaped loopholes and circular holes for cannons which were used for defence of the fortress and the city. There were guard-houses and prison cells in the vaulted passage.
  • HAMAM (Turkish Bath, 1498.) is located at the very entrance of the Fortress, at the left side. According to Ottoman census books, the hammam has existed since 1498 and it represents the best preserved building in the Fortress from the period of the Ottoman rule. It was built as a single bath that was used either by women (usually by day) or by men (by night). Clay pipes used to bring water from the river to the hammam, where it was filtered and heated before it was used.
  • THE ARSENAL (1857.) Located on the right of the entrance of the Fortress, the Arsenal used to be a storehouse where cannons, gunpowder, cannonballs and other weapon and ammunitions were kept. It was specially designed and built with the purpose of storing sensitive materials. It was built by Ismail Pasha in 1857. The Arsenal serves today as an exhibition area of the Gallery of Contemporary Fine Arts.
  • ROMAN THERMAE (4th century). Located at the very entrance of former Naissus, thermae used to play a role in a procedure demanding everyone to bathe before entering the city. This building dates from the 4th century and almost all rooms that comprised the complex of the ancient bath are still preserved today: two central changing rooms, a cold (frigidarium) and a warm (tepidarium) bath.
  • PRINCE MILAN OBRENOVIC AND NIS LIBERATORS MONUMENT (1902.) was erected in gratitude to prince and his army for liberating Niš from the five century long rule of the Ottoman Empire. The monument was symbolically unveiled at the twenty-fifth anniversary of the liberation and the first anniversary since the death of King Milan Obrenović. Italian stonecutter Vincenzo Caliterna made the original monument in the form of a gun bullet, which, with the surrounding composition, represents symbols of the liberation war.bali_beg_mosk

BALI-BEY MOSQUE

  • BALI-BEY MOSQUE (1521.) A mosque is built by a janissary commander Balia from Edrine and it is the only preserved mosque within the Fortress. With its arches and vaults, as well as with richly decorated windows, it represents a pearl of oriental architecture. It was first mentioned in 1521 as a smaller worship place, and not before 1710 was it mentioned as a mosque. Today, this interesting piece of history of Niš is called “Salon 77” and it is an exhibition space of the Gallery of Contemporary Fine Arts.
  • LAPIDARIUM (1st – 4th century). A lapidarium is a unique collection of tombstones which are among the oldest antique monuments in Serbia. It was mentioned first by Austrian traveler Felix Kanitz in 1887, and it can be regarded as the first exhibition in Niš. It is located at the central plateau inside the Fortress and consists of 41 stones from the period between the 1st and the 4th century. The exhibition is comprised of tombstones, votive and sacrificial stones, sarcophagi and sculptures found primarily in the Fortress, but also in the vicinity of Niš and Knjaževac.
  • ANTIQUE STREET WITH BASILICA (2nd-4th century) In one period of its development (3rd century), ancient Naissus became a “municipium”. Not just any city could have such a status, only cities of greater importance for the Roman Empire in a certain area. Because of that, it was lavishly built and decorated. Examples of Late Antiquity architecture can be found in a preserved part of a street with a basilica (2nd-4th century) which made the central, the most sumptuous part of Naissus along with “the Building with Vaults”.
  • GUNPOWDER MAGAZINES (1723.) are military facilities used for the storage of gunpowder and ammunition. Five remain preserved, 4 located along the northern rampart, while another small one is situated in the eastern part of the Fortress.
  • THE OSSUARY MEMORIAL TO THE EXECUTED SERBS BY THE BULGARIANS DURING THE OCCUPATION IN WORLD WAR I (1927) The ossuary is a memorial to the victims of terror in World War I, especially to the murdered patriots and rebels of Toplica Uprising (1917.). It was raised in 1927. at the authentic execution site, marking the length of the wall along which the victims stood. It is located at tranches of the Fortress.
  • PALACE WITH AN OCTAGON (4th century) The Palace is certainly the most lavish building from the 4th century. Because of the construction style, decorations and objects found in it, it is believed that it belonged to some influential person of ancient Naissus, maybe even to Emperor Constantine himself. The examined part is 11 x 30 meters large, but the entire building was much larger.

Antique Fortress – Roman city Naissus

The history of the fortification in this location began in the 1st century AD when Roman legions paved the way for a new civilization. In 2nd century AD, Greek geographer from Alexandria, Ptolemy documented the city of Niš under the name of Naisus.

On February 27th. 274, one of the greatest statesmen in European history, Constantine the Great was born in Naissus . At the time when the story of Constantine the Great begins, ancient Naissus was a central place of the Roman province of Upper Moesia. Small according to the number of inhabitants (20.000) but important as a commercial, military and administrative center, Naisus developed fast.

The city center, which was located in the area of the present-day Fortress, was built in accordance with the principles of Roman urbanism. A central part was a sumptuous square (forum), decorated with statues of Roman gods and surrounded with administration and military buildings, workshops and a basilica.

The remains of some buildings from this period can be still seen today in Niš Fortress ( Lapidarium, Termae, Building with Arches, Ancient street and a Palace with an Octagon).

Ottoman Fotress
In the second half of 14th century, Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović improved the ramparts of the fortress while preparing for the defense against a rising wave of the Ottoman army.
As one of the most important strategic points in the Balkans, Niš was found under their attack as early as in 1386. After twenty-five days of continuous attack – the city and the Fortress were conquered. Describing a fierce fight in defense of the city, an Ottoman chronicler, besides other things, says about Niš: “This city is a toughstronghold that resembles a bristling dragon with angry spines”.
In the following four centuries under the Ottoman Empire, the Fortress didn’t change its appearance. After the defeat by the Austro-Hungarians at the beginning of the 18thcentury, the Ottoman army left Belgrade, and Niš became the center of their territory on European soil. In order to preserve the existing borders, Sultan Ahmed III issued a decree on February 19th, 1719 that the construction of a large and strong fortress on the Nišava would begin.
The present-day Fortress in the downtown of Nis was built in the period between 1719. and 1730. For its reconstruction it was hired more than 10 000 landowners from 14 provinces, 40 stonecutters from Istanbul, while on the construction of walls worked more than 400 bricklayers. The stone was brought from the quarries in the surroundings of Nis. The end of the main construction works was marked by putting a panel on Stambol gate in 1723.

How to get to the fortress!


When you are alrready here, don’t miss…

Visit the city of Niš. Not by motorcycle, but by walking, because this is the only way to get to know this city. Try Nis Grill, Burek and other specialties. Delicious and great food.

Smederevo fortress

Smederevo fortress 1

Since the Smederevo fortress was being built very quickly, it required an extremely strenuous effort and many workers were exhausted to death. The people blamed despotess Jerina (Irene Kantakouzene) and named her “The Damned”

The Smederevo fortress is one of the largest lowland medieval fortresses in Europe and the last major masterpiece of Serbian architecture from this period.

History is still being written here – a tomb of unknown noble woman with priceless jewelry has been discovered in 2012. Archaeological excavations are still active, thus this is favorite destination of all archaeology and history lovers.

Once you’re here… who knows… you might even discover the legendary treasure of the Damned Jerina.

The Smederevo Fortress comprises of the Big and Small Town. The Small Town is actually the remains of the castle where once the Despot’s family and nobles lived. The Big Town was built later and here people took refuge fleeing from Turks.

Smederevo fortress 2

There are numerous legends and stories about the construction of the Smederevo fortress. One of the legends says that the despot Đurađ Branković had a dream in which he was instructed to build a new city on a river, hence he ordered the new city to be built on the confluence of the Jezava River and the Danube.

The stone for the building of the fortress was brought from Viminacium, Mt. Kosmaj and the Ram fortress on the Danube.

The city was built in just few years so many builders died of exhaustion. People were looking for a culprit and the wife of Serbian Despot Djuradj Branković – Jerina (Irene Kantakouzene) was blamed for it and the name “Damned Jerina” remained until this day.

The legend of lost treasure, that she had buried somewhere in the fortress, never to be found by conquerors, still hunts numerous adventurists. So if you’re seeking an adventure and you want to feel like Indiana Jones, try your luck looking for this treasure.

The archaeological excavations are still ongoing and you will have impression that history is revealing in front of you.

Excavating the foundations of a very mysterious little church in the fortress (it is not certain when it was built), a tomb of still unknown noble woman with priceless jewelry was discovered. Numerous vases, pottery and medieval arms can be seen in the nearby Museum in Smederevo.

The Smederevo fortress has a lot to offer even to those who are not that interested in history. In summer numerous manifestations and parties take place here and mysticism of this ancient fortress turn them into unforgettable events.

“Tvrđava teatar” (Fortress Theatre) is well known theatre manifestation that takes place every summer inside the Smederevo fortress. In September “Smederevska jesen” (Autumn in Smederevo) – the oldest viticulture manifestation in Serbia attracts numerous visitors. On those occasions the Fortress comes to life and restores its old glory.

The constant threat of Turks forced them to complete the Small City in just two years. The construction was finished in 1430.

Today the inscription made of red brick with the words of the despot thanking God for the successful completion of the city still stands on the “Krstača” (Huge cross) tower.

The Smederevo fortress was built in the form of irregular triangle and it is recognizable by 25 high towers. The fortress long stood strong before the conquerors. In 1459 it was finally conquered by Turks. It was the end of the Serbian medieval country.

The Smederevo fortress was well preserved until the middle of the 20th century. During the World War II a massive explosion occurred damaging the fortress and the large part of the town of Smederevo.

In 1946 the fortress was put under the protection of the state, while the conservation works are still ongoing.

How to get to the Smederevo fortress?

When you are alrready here, don’t miss…

…a glass of “Smederevka”, a quality white wine made from grapes which bear the same name that made this rich viticulture region famous. Every year this city is home to the “Smederevska jesen“ (Autumn in Smederevo) one of the oldest events in Serbia organized in honor of grapes, harvest and wines.

During the summer months visit the Fort in the Lower city where “Tvrđava teatar“ (Fortress Theatre), an international theatre festival under the open sky, is held.

You also mustn’t miss the opportunity to explore the fort itself, and discover why many legends of a hidden treasure and Jerina the damned were told.

After a tour, visit the temple of Saint George in the very centre of Smederevo, one of the most beautiful churches in Serbia.

If you are hungry for more archaeology  visit the archaeological site Belo brdo in Vinča – the Cradle of European Civilization. Vinča is located only an hour’s drive from Smederevo.

Vinča

1-VINCA-Statuettes-ALIENS

The remains of the oldest Neolithic civilization in Europe lies in Vinča, on the right bank of the Danube, not far from downtown Belgrade.

When the mighty Danube returned to its river bed a century ago, it revealed a great treasure. An old man named Panta from Vinča found a strange clay figurine at the river bank. This curious old man had never seen anything like it, so he took his figurine to the National Museum in Belgrade in order to find the explanation. He couldn’t have even imagined that in his hands he was holding a figurine that had been made by an early man in the late Stone Age.

vinca

Since then the archaeological excavations have been revealing numerous cultural layers of a civilization preserved in a seemingly just an ordinary hill in Vinča. Archaeologists concluded that it was the largest Neolithic settlement in Europe, dating back more than 7,000 years B.C, and there they found the remains of several cultural layers.

The archaeological treasure of Vinča was found at 10,5 m of depth and it contains numerous layers of civilizations dating from the Neolithic Period over the Bronze Age to the tombs from the Middle Ages.

Vinča_culture_locator_map

Vinča culture locator map

This archaeological site is a proof that 7,000 years B.C. there was a settlement there. It is considered to have been the center of a civilization that spread across the territory of Bosnia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece.

Vinca-figureThe archaeological site in Vinča revealed different kinds of tools and weapons made of stone and bones, pottery, ritual vases, jewelry, numerous anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines, the remains of prehistoric houses and many other objects created here or brought from remote areas.

What makes this site so unique is the large number of identical objects indicating that people had had some kind of standardized production in the late Stone Age.

This civilization was much more developed then it was firstly taught. Excavations revealed that this was an urban settlement.

This ancient metropolis was burnt numerous times, but some of those fires actually did a great favor to mankind.

Due to the fire, traces of houses and other objects were preserved in plaster, helping us understand our ancestors’ way of life.

The houses were made of mud and sand, set in narrow streets, and the early men were much more civilized and creative than we could even imagine.

They woven dresses with V-neck with certain style and design, they had the furniture in houses, and they created beautiful pottery. In addition, they loved to travel.

They would travel to the Carpathians in order to get the volcanic glass that was used for weapons, and they brought different objects from far lands and different cultures. That is why the Vinča culture is considered to be one of the most advanced prehistoric cultures. It is thought that it lasted for thousand years.

Copper caused numerous wars and the disappearance of the Vinča culture. While the people here made fortunes making jewelry and tools out of copper, others used it to make weapons and seize their treasure, as people in Vinča were a peaceful civilization. So the downfall of the Vinča civilization began.

Today the archaeological site in Vinča is still in the center of archaeologists  attention. Even though a large part of the site has been excavated, the exploration isn’t even close to being finished. The world hasn’t heard yet of all its secrets.

Vinča, once the center of a great civilization, today is one of the most significant archaeological sites in Serbia visited by numerous tourists each year.

How to get to Vinča?

Vinča is a suburban settlement of Belgrade which is 14 km from the center of Belgrade on the Belgrade-Smederevo road.

 

When you are already here, don’t miss…

Visit the Smederevo fortress, the last medieval capital of Serbia, where you can also visit the international theater festival – Fortress Theatre.

The Petrovaradin fortress

The Petrovaradin fortress

Petrovaradin fortress was a significant military fort of the Austrian rulers who, at the time of Napoleon’s conquests, hid their treasures here. Today it is city’s art center, home to Exit festival and place which mysterious underground keeps intriguing explorers from around the world

When the European noblemen built Petrovaradin fortress, they certainly didn’t have in mind that 300 years later it would be the gathering place of people from around the world, of music and party admirers instead of soldiers. Their powerful military fortress was turned into a cheerful music fortress of Exit, one of the largest European music festivals, and into the biggest art colony in Europe.

Mighty bastion on the right bank of the Danube, the second largest fortress in Europe, has had numerous masters. After 180 years of Turkish governance it finally got its today’s appearance thanks to Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I of Austria’s Habsburg dynasty. Hence the style typical of the 18th century Austria. In 1703 he began the reconstruction of the fortress that lasted for 77 years.

Petrovaradin fortress Novi Sad

According to a legend the name of Petrovaradin fortress consists of three words meaning “the city on a rock strong as faith”. Furthermore, due to its strategic position and significance that the fortress had for the Hapsburg monarchy, it was called “the Gibraltar on the Danube”. It consists of Upper and Lower city rising above the Danube and representing the symbol of Novi Sad.

Petrovaradin fortress Novi Sad clock

Clock Tower

The most stunning part of Petrovaradin fortress is the Clock Tower at the Ludwig bastion. The clock is peculiar for its clock-hands: a little hand indicates minutes, while the big hand represents hours. This unusual clock was constructed such way so that people, most of all boatmen, could read the time from the great distance.

The second barrack is located in the Lower town and it gives Petrovaradin fortress its characteristic shape. Later it was transformed into the hotel “Leopold” with the interior that resembles the Austrian palaces. It is the ideal place to enjoy the authentic atmosphere of Petrovaradin fortress.

under the ground Petrovaradin fortress Novi Sad

Underground fortress

The mysterious underground that goes four floors under the ground was built in the 70-ties of the 18th century and the underground system of halls is 16 km long. This mysterious underground makes the fortress even more interesting. It was intended for the lodging of soldiers and keeping of weapons. It had 12,000 gun holes, and they even intended to make mine fields in order to protect the fortress from enemies. Today numerous researches explore this labyrinth in order to bring to light some of the legends and secrets of the Petrovaradin underground.

Stories about the treasure of the Habsburg family, about a monster from Petrovaradin fortress, the enigma of a Maltese cross on a wall of a dead-end corridor and the guessing about a tunnel under the Danube are constant topics of numerous explorations and writings. The crew of the show “Ghost Hunters International” from the American channel SF and the company Pilgrim Films & Television filmed a documentary about this mysterious underground.

Besides its underground, Petrovaradin fortress offers you the opportunity to look at stars at the Planetarium where you can hear astronomy lectures. Then you can see the exhibit of the Museum of the City of Novi Sad (“Petrovaradin fortress in the past” and “Novi Sad from the 18th till the 20th Century”) in the Topovnjača building, visit art studios located in the basement of the Second barracks, talk to artists of this unique and the biggest art colony of its kind in Europe, visit the equestrian club…

Beside all these sights at the fortress, take time for a walk and have a break in a garden of some cafe and restaurant overlooking the Danube, river gulls and boats. Try to feel the spirit of ancient times when the sound of army boots of famous army leaders such as Eugene of Savoy sounded across Petrovaradin fortress.

How to get to Petrovaradin fortress?

Once you’re here, don’t miss…

Walking in the old part of Novi Sad where you have to visit The Liberty Square from the 18th century, the Catholic Church The Name of Mary built in the Neo-gothic style, while Zmaj Jovina Street will lead you to The Bishop’s Palace.

You shouldn’t miss a walk in Dunavska street, probably the oldest street in Novi Sad, nor a break in Dunavski park, the most beautiful park in Novi Sad.

If you happen to visit Novi Sad in summer, get refreshed at Štrand – one of the most beautiful beaches on the Danube.

Visit Sremski Karlovci, a beautiful little town not far from Novi Sad, try some wine in some of the wineries from the Wine Route Fruška Gora, and look for some rest at the National Park and mountain Fruška Gora.

Kadinjača – Memorial complex

KadinjacaBrief Details:

Name: Kadinjača Memorial Complex (Спомен комплекс Кадињача)

Location: 14km NW of Užice, Serbia (prounounced ‘OO-zheets-eh’)

Year completed: 1952, with expansion in 1979 (2 years to build)

Designer: Miodrag Živković and Aleksandar Đokić

Coordinates: N43°54’43.7″, E19°44’33.7″

Dimensions: Large complex covering 15ha

Materials used:  Poured concrete, rebar and granite blocks

Condition: Very good, well maintained

KadinjacaThe new addition of Živković’s sculptural elements to the spomenik complex consisted of several segments… firstly, a museum complex (designed by Aleksandar Đokić) which is called Spomen-Dom Kadinjača. Following this was a sprawling and undulating series of white painted concrete pylons emanating from the earth at different angles and sizes which was named ‘Alley of the Worker’s Battalion’, with this ‘alley’ following the ridge of the hill. The focal point of these undulating white concrete pylons are a pair together which are tallest among the rest (~14m). This tall flat pair, arranged side-by-side like a wide wall, have their upper-half pierced with what resembles a bullet-hole like opening (within which face-like forms can be seen). In addition, a large amphitheatre was built in the center of the complex, named the ‘Plateau of Freedom’, which hosted educational presentations, ‘Young Pioneer’ meetings and school gatherings. Interestingly, in the final form of the redevelopment of the old memorial by Miodrag Živković, the original stone pyramid element was not removed or minimized… in fact, Živković’s new sculptural elements are often credited for enhancing and highlighting the original memorial element, especially in the way in which it emphasizes rather than over-takes it.
n 1984, a new memorial element was added to the site on the hillside just a few dozen meters southwest of the spomenik’s museum to commemorate the death of President Josip Tito. The memorial consisted of the planting of 88 trees to symbolize the 88 years of Tito’s life. In addition, a paved pathway was included around the trees along with displays of several WWII artillery cannons. This new memorial was called “Partisan Woods’.
Kadinjaca

Location of Kadinjača Memorial Complex

Location of Kadinjača Memorial Complex
Location of Kadinjača Memorial Complex

Justiniana prima – Southern Serbia

Justiniana prima 2

This Byzantine city of Justiniana prima, in Southern Serbia, was built by the Emperor Justinian I, who had also built the famous Church of the Holy Wisdom, later an imperial mosque, and now the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul.

Justiniana Prima, or “Caričin grad” (eng. Empress’s town), one of the largest and most significant Byzantine cities in the Balkans from the 6th century, lies 7 kilometers from the town of Lebane in Southern Serbia.

Justiniana prima 1The city was built by the Emperor Justinian I, who was born in Southern Serbia and was known for having completed the construction of the famous basilica Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia, today the mosque Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

The Emperor decided to build a city that would glorify his name in his birth place, on the confluence of the Caričina and the Svinjarica rivers, 30 kilometers from the city of Leskovac .

Justiniana Prima was built at the site of Bederiana and these assumptions are supported by the remains of monumental basilica with the authentic Justinian’s monograph and a large Episcopal basilica in acropolis. Aside numerous nonreligious buildings, there are ten basilicas discovered in the city.

The city of Justiniana Prima lies on the gentle slopes which descend from the mountain of Radan towards the Leskovac basin, on the plateau of 42,000 square meters. The city was an important religious, administrative and military center, the seat of the newly established Archdiocese of Justiniana Prima.

The city was surrounded with walls, while the inner walls divided the city into three areas – AcropolisLower and Upper Town. The Acropolis was built on the highest point of the city.

It was the seat of the Church and a large cathedral church with three apses, atrium and baptistery, one of the largest monuments of the Byzantine architecture in the Balkans, was discovered at the Acropolis. Discoveries of imperial seals and glasshouse are truly unique in this region.

The central area of the city was a circular square where all public life took place. The streets were paved with rectangular limestone panels and surrounded by shops with covered porches and arched arcades, where artisans offered their goods.

Justiniana prima 3The remains of fortifications, streets, basilicas, public and private buildings, walls, aqueduct system and a large cistern, as well as floor mosaics in villas, make this archaeological site one of the most important monuments of antique architecture and urbanism. The three-aisled basilica with a crypt was found near the square, as well as the fragments of floor mosaic and frescoes. The third church, cruciform basilica with an atrium was located to the south-east from the forum.

The monuments of religious and profane architecture by their urban setting, mosaic floors and decorative elements fully correspond to the Procopius’s description of Justiniana Prima. After the frequent attacks of Avars and the arrival of Slavs around the year of 615, the city was abandoned by locals. The life in the city got extinguished, probably due to a fire or destruction of the aqueduct.

Justiniana Prima is commonly known as “Caričin Grad” (eng. Empress’s town) as it was believed that the Emperor Justinian had built the city for his wife, the Empress Theodorais one of the best preserved archaeological sites in this region thanks to its isolated position far from frequent roads. The unique location of the city has guarded it from the menace of centuries.

The unique discovery was the interesting corner tower with the cistern where the aqueduct ended and the system of water pipes leading from the tower. The seat of the church with the Episcopal basilica was located in the Acropolis.

 

 

How to get to Justiniana prima?

Caričin grad lies in the foothill of Mt. Radan 7km from Lebane and 30km from Leskovac. You can reach this locality only by car or by bus within organized tourist visits.

If you are coming from the direction of Belgrade the road to Leskovac is completely fine on the European highway E-75 which continues on to the local M9 road towards Lebane then over the local road to Prekopčelica, where this locality is located.

When you are already here, don’t miss…

The unique taste of Leskovac grill (the pride of Serbian cuisine), brass music and bustling festival atmosphere at the Leskovac “Roštiljijada” (Grill festival) which is held towards the end of summer.


Text copied from www.serbia.com