Petrovardin Fortress, Cruise on the Danube River in Serbia, ReadyClickAndGo

Petrovadin Fortress, known for its “reverse clock” with the longer hand showing the hours instead of minutes in order to help local fisherman to see the time from a distance, is located on the Danube River, in Novi Sad. The construction of the Fortress was started in 1692 by Charles Eugene de Croy, a field marshal who fought against the Ottoman Turks in their attack on Belgrade.

The first mention of a fortress on this spot was made by the Romans who made a military base to protect their eastern borders. When King Bella IV of Hungary brought over the French monks who had built Belakut Monastery on the ruins of a Roman military camp, the whole area changed dramatically. The monastery was built between 1247 and 1252 and was “live” until the Middle Ages. Today’s look of Petrovardin Fortress dates from 1687 when the Austrian Army captured the fortress after 150 years of Ottoman occupations. The fortress is well known for its complicated system of underground tunnels, spread over four levels and 16000 meters long.

You can visit Petrovardin Fortress on a day tour from Belgrade or from a cruise on the Danube River.

Cruising on the Danube River your next stop is going to be in Belgrade at Kalemegdan Fortress or Belgrade Fortress situated at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers and it’s divided into a park and fortress. Originally the fortress was a military compound established by the Romans to defend its eastern borders from the barbarians. Easy accessibility by rivers made the military compound grow into very important city, Singidunum, on the crossroads between east and west, and today known as Belgrade. As a result Kalemegdan Fortress is full of historic monuments spanning the centuries. The Roman influence is easily visible at the entry to the Fortress, in the basement of City Library where Roman water pipes were discovered during refurbishment. The first Serbian church, St Ruzica,  is located within the fortress. Within the park you can see the Turbe (Tomb) of Damad Ali Pasha, one of the few well-preserved monuments of Islamic culture in Belgrade, and the military shelter built by the Austrians during their occupation of Belgrade in 1718, called locally Barutana (Gunpowder).

The Victor, a monument is dedicated to victories in WWI is located on the main plateau and it’s a work by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestorovic. Behind the monument in the greenery of the park there is bunker from WWII in used as late as 1997.

Walking through Kalemegdan Fortress is like walking through history. Unfortunately the Fortress was refused UNESCO World Heritage status as there is a military establishment in use on the site – the Military Museum.

Belgrade Fortress, Cruise on the Danube river in Serbia, ReadyClickAndGo

Continue cruising downstream on the Danube River and visit Smederevo Fortress the best preserved building of medieval Serbia, built between 1427 and 1430 by the Despot Djuradj Branakovic. The fortress is surrounded by water on three sides – from the Danube River on one side, the Jezeva River on another, and on the third by a canal across the promontory. All along the edge of the fortress high bastioned walls were erected every 200 feet. The northern part of the fortress is the Little Forte which was home to Djordje and his wife and where the wall of great hall still stands, the windows still look across the Danube towards Hungary. The Forte was the second line of defence behind the moat with four richly decorated bastions. One of them is engraved with a cross and the year 6938 which is the year of the beginning of the world according to Greek Orthodoxy.

The fortress was badly damaged during WWII from bombing by the Allies and an explosion in the ammunition store used by the Germans. Smedervo Fortress may lack the splendour of the Petrovardin and Kalemegdan Fortresses but its history makes it up for it. Today the Fortress is used for festivals and concerts which take place within the inner part of the fortress where a stage was built.

If you have time I would suggest you cross the train track (Smederevo Train Station is adjacent to the fortress’s southern walls) and visit Smederevo Museum which is very rich in local history dating back to the Roman period.

Smederevo Fortress, Cruise in Serbia, ReadyClickAndGo

Further downstream on the border with Romania there is another gem of a fortress called Golubac which is strategically located where the Danube River is at its narrowest and forms the so-called Iron Gate Gorge. Again, the first mention of Golubac Fortress dates back to the Roman era when there was a military site. Golubac Fortress was a border between different empires, the Turkish, Hungarian, Serb and Austrian, and as such was witness to many battles. It changed hands regularly until 1867 when it was given to the Serbs.

Golubac Fortress consists of 10 towers which are 20 -25 m high. Some of the towers are in good condition, others lack some walls. The last time I visited was in 2009, and Golubac Fortress, although it attracts lots of tourists and there was a project to restore it to its former glory, is still undeveloped. If you have time try to reach the towers in the upper compound which is the oldest part of the fortress. The oldest tower, tower number 1, is situated here and it’s called Sesir Kula or Hat Tower and you can see the Serbian church inside. Also the views over the Danube River are amazing from here.

Golubac Fortress is reachable on a day tour from Belgrade. If you decide to drive to the Fortress visit Viminicium, another Roman base, and the Silver Lake were you can stop for a nice lunch.

Golubac Fortress, Cruise on the Danube River in Serbia, ReadyClickAndG

If you are travelling to Serbia and would like to visit any of the Fortress listed here ReadyClickAndGo can offer customised day trips with your own guide, car and driver.  Private day trips throughout Balkans and Asia are also available, visit www.ReadyClickAndGo.com or email Tara@ReadyClickAndGo.com 

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About the author: Tara

 

The travel professional with years of experience in the travel industry – in guiding, reservations, operations, contracting, customer service and product development – and have travelled extensively in Asia and Eastern Europe not just on holiday but also for work, inspecting hotels, visiting attractions and seeing exactly what each destination has to offer. The only way I could do this properly was with my own guide, car and driver and this inspired me to create my own range of customised private day tours for other people to be able to explore in-depth and learn to love their destination as much as I do.

Website: www.readyclickandgo.com