Visiting The City Of Belgrade

The Belgrade Fortress

Any Visit to Belgrade, Serbia should start with the Belgrade Fortress. Today it is a huge complex that consists of the old citadel (Upper and Lower Town) the Kalemegdan Park (Great and Little Kalemegdan) occupying high ground above the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. The fortress constitutes the historical center of Belgrade and once represented the original boarders of old Belgrade. The fortress area was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979, and is protected by the Republic of Serbia. The area is very popular with the locals and admission is free.

The Belgrade Fortress – the massive Belgrade Fortress complex has four primary sections. The four sections, two of which include the fortress itself are Donji and Gornji Grad with two that make up Kalemegdan park today.

Gornji Grad, the upper section of the fortress was turned into a park, with promenades and the statue of “The Victor”, the “Roman well” actually built by the Austrians, the an Observatory in the Despot Stefan Tower, the Mehmed Paša Sokolović’s Fountain, with tennis and basketball courts.

The Statue of the Victor

Donji Grad occupies the ground above the rivers, from the location of “The Victor” statue*. Between the lower section and the river is the”Impregnable, Fearless, or Daredevil Tower”, which is a museum about the Greek revolutionary Rigas Feraios, who was strangled by the Turks. The Orthodox churches of Ružica and Sveta Petka are also located in this area, as is the Belgrade Planetarium.

Kalemegdan Park and the Military Museum Area – Veliki Kalemegdanski park occupies the southern corner of the fortress, with major promenades that include the Military Museum, the Museum of Forestry and Hunting, and the Monument of Gratitude to France.

*The Statue of the Victor is one of the most famous landmarks in Belgrade, located in the Belgrade fortress at the place where the medieval castle once stood. It was erected in 1928 to commemorate the Kingdom of Serbia’s war victories over the Ottoman Empire.

The Temple of Saint Sava

The Cultural heart of Belgrade is the Temple of Saint Sava is a Serbian Orthodox church located on the Vračar plateau in Belgrade, Serbia. It is today the main cathedral of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The church is dedicated to Saint Sava, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and an important figure in medieval Serbia. It is erected on the presumed location of St. Sava’s grave. During the Muslim occupation the Ottoman Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha had the coffin of St. Sava been moved from the Mileševa Monastery to Belgrade where it was placed on a pyre and burnt in 1595 to crush the faith of Serbian Christians. The Serbs recovered the ashes and dirt from under the pyre and saved them so when the new church was built the remains of St. Sava could be reenturned.

The first stone for the church was laid in 1935. During WWII the incomplete building was used as a depot by the German army and Tito’s communist partisans. After the war, the Orthodox Church was denied permission to complete the building by the Communist government. On May 12, 1985, a liturgy was held at the temple with 100,000 people in attendance and the communist authorities backed down from the ban on the construction of the church. In June 1989 after the fall of the government, the temple’s concrete dome weighing 4,000 tons and constructed entirely on the ground, was raised to its present position. The temple is now nearing its final completion.

Belgrade is now very proud of the new Ada Bridge. It is a cable-stayed suspension bridge over the Danube at the tip of Ada Ciganlija island. The Ada Bridge was opened in 2012 and features a unique offset suspension tower anchored on the island’s tip.

There are few traces of the 1990s Balkan war to be seen in Belgrade with the exception of the ruin of the Serbian Army Headquarters. It was hit several times with cruise missiles and is now left standing as a reminder of the war.

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