Saturday, October 3, 2009

Petrovaradin Fortress

By: Rina Mihajlovic

Novi Sad, Sept. 14, 2009 (Serbia Today) - Petrovaradin is a fortress in the city Novi Sad( province of Vojvodina), on the bank of Danube river. The corner of the present southern part of the fortress was laid in October, 1692 by Prince Croy.
At the present location of the fortress there used to be a medieval fortress built between 1247 and 1252. According to the latest evidence of the archaeological research, the traces of human life on the fortress date back to Paleolithic period dating from 19,000 to 15,000 BC. It states that there has been a continuous settlement at this site from the Paleolithic age to the present.
At the beginning of the 1st century BC the area of Petrovaradin was inhabited by Celts, only to be replaced 2 centuries later by the Romans who raised their fortress under the name of Cusum somewhere between present Petrovaradin and Sremski Karlovci.
They built the fortress that was a part of the fortified borders along the Danube.
The turning point in the history was in 1235 when King Bela IV of Hungary brought a group of the Order of Cistercians from France. This order of Monks built the monastery Belakut on the remains of the Roman Fortress of Cusum. The walls of the monastery were built between 1247 and 1252 and represent the fortifications at this site during the Middle Ages.
The new fortress was mentioned in written documents in 1347 for the first time as the residence of various commanders. In 1526 the Turks occupied it under the leadership of Suleiman II the Magnificent. While in the war with Austria, the Turks left the fortress several times returned later on when it had a Lower and Upper town. There was also one Suleiman-han mosque as well as Muslim suburbs besides one Christian suburb.
The Turks ruled the medieval Petrovaradin Fortress for 161 years continually from 1526 until 1689.
First phase of building the most modern border fortress in Hapsburg Monarchy, took several decades, from 1692 to 1726. It was built on 112 hectares with an arsenal of 400 artillery pieces various caliber and many underground tunnels (16km of underground countermine system). In the time of Revolution 1848-49 Hungarian Army bombed counter revolution Army in Novi Sad. The counter Army pulled back and the city was almost totally destroyed.
During the 20th century Petrovaradin Fortress run through several critical moments. After Second World War, the fortress was protected as historical monument and to this very day most objects from 18th century are preserved. During mid 19th century there were plans to drill the Petrovaradin rock in order to make tunnel for Subotica-Zemun railway. At the same time the first permanent bridge between Novi Sad and Petrovaradin was built.
Today, Petrovaradin Fortress is historical, cultural and artistic center with numerous studios of local artists. There is Novi Sad city Museum, Historical Archives of Novi Sad, Academy of Arts, Astronomical observatory, several galleries, equestrian club, archery club, hotel, restaurants, pubs and clubs also located on the fortress.
EXIT, the biggest music event in Southern Europe, takes place on Petrovaradin Fortress every year from 2001. During the festival 50.000 people visit the fortress every day and not only during the EXIT, the fortress is being visited by tourists and locals on daily basis.

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