Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fortresses and Remnants of fortified towns in Serbia

By Lola Tapuskovic

Belgrade, Aug. 30 2009 m(serbia Today) - Spectacular exhibition “Fortresses and remnants of fortified towns in Serbia“ was opened on August 19th on esplanade of Sava on Kalemegdan, and will be opened till October 8th. It contains photographs of 27 fortresses and remnants of fortified Serbian towns, shown on 45 boards, made by “Publica” agency and art photographer Dragoljub Zamurovic. Exhibition is part of a big project which was initiated by The public enterprise „Belgrade fortress“ and sponsored by City Secretariat of culture.
The aim of exhibition is to make fortresses and remnants of fortified towns not being forgotten, and to be shown to public as part of cultural heritage and possible tourist potency of Serbia.
„With this exhibition we wanted to point out on cultural-historic, national, and international importance of these monuments of culture, and trial to inform public in what condition those fortresses and remnants of fortified towns are today”, said for Serbia Today Predrag Djidic, from PE “Belgrade fortress”.
He underlined that it was the main reason to establish Section of fortress and remnants of Serbian fortified towns.
“Section was activated to let know the public that those monuments exist in Serbia, and to start an initiative for conservation and restoring. Also, it is activated to suggest its revitalization, and to make them one of Serbian tourist offers, by adapting it to the needs of contemporary man. If we want to do all of that, it is necessary to engage the whole community, Institutes for protection of cultural monuments, other Institutes, etc”, said Djidic.
On exposed photographs, made from air and from the ground, it is possible to see 27 fortresses : Belgrade, Sabac, Petrovaradin, Smederevo, Uzice, Novi Pazar, Nis, castle of Vrsac, Ram, Golubac, Kladovo, Manasija, Maglic, Ras, Zvecan, etc.
Together with exhibition was promoted a publication about fortresses, video spot, and web site about fortresses and remnants of towns.
Long time ago fortresses lost its military and other functions. Although they dominated in areas where they are, fortresses are mostly negligibly and weedy. However, they still testify about time when they originated and existed.
Fortresses and Remnants of fortified towns exist in many former Serbian cities, but there are not much evidence about what they looked like. Fortresses that kept their function during many centuries, and under the Ottoman Empire are in better condition.
During the time, many fortresses were destroyed and adapted to different situations, so they lost their original look. But, it is important to say that most of them are precursors of modern towns.
Fortresses were very important in the middle ages like abutment of defense. If the enemy was lucky enough to conquer it, he grew into sovereign territory.
There was a rule to build fortresses on strategic places or on places which were not so available, usually on the top of the hill. Fortresses were surrounded by walls and pathways, and fortresses in lowland had, in front wall , a canal filled with water. Some fortresses had, on the top of the wall, high tower. By a side of fortresses, there were built fortified towns with castle of monarch and colony of common people. Best examples are fortified towns in Belgrade and Smederevo.
Belgrade fortress was built in II century by Romans. Main middle ages fort is from XV century, when Belgrade, for the first time, became Serbian capital. Fortress survives Ottoman conquest in 1521, Austro – Turkish war in 1688, wars in XVIII century. The Belgrade fortress got to the end of XVIII century. During the First and the Second World War Belgrade fortress was very ruined. One thing is sure – it is not scrutinized enough, and proof for that are remnants of old Antique castrum, which were found in May, while workers of “Belgrade road” found during correction of tram rails.
Smederevo fortress was built at the beginning of XV century, on delta of river Jazava, and its first purpose was to be a castle of Djuradj Brankovic, the monarch of that time. But, after many battles, Ottomans occupied it. They left it four centuries later, when they give it up to duke Mihajlo Obrenovic, together with other six towns.
Nis fortress was built on the right bank of river Nisava, on the place where were Antique and Byzantine fortress meet. The great count Stefan Nemanja conquered it in the XII century, but six years after that, he gave it to the Roman imperator Fridrich I Barbarosa. In one period, in XIII century, it was under Bulgarian authority, until Serbian imperator Dusan took it back. After him, from XV till XIX century it was under Ottoman empire.
Castle Bac was the most important middle ages fort in Vojvodina, built in XIV century on the island between river Mostonga and its armlet. It got its final shape in the XV century, but in XVIII century it was almost ruined.
Petrovaradin fortress is in Novi Sad, on right bank of river Danube. It is built on rock of Petrovaradin. At the beginning of the XIII century, on the same place, catholic monks of the Order of cistercita from France found their home there. In XVIII century they built there the monastery Belakut, which was, after Tatar’s attack, fortified. In XVI century, Petrovaradin was under Ottoman’s empire, and it was relieved after Austrian army conquered Turks in the Vienna battle.
Austrians built there, in XVII century , a fortress, because of nearness of Ottoman empire, and started to make new buildings, at the same place where were once middle ages fortresses.
Every fortress and fortified town has its own history, and that is the main reason why it is important to see this exhibition.

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