Belgrade - The strategic importance of the fortress

Belgrade - The strategic importance of the fortress

We were impressed by the size of the fortresses, which from the distance from the opposite banks of the Sava river looked rather inconspicuous. Only with the tour and through the overview from above, the importance and also the mightiness will become clear, so the visitor should also bring enough time for an extensive tour.

We were amazed by a group of Turkish construction workers working on the Ottoman remains within the walls.

The fortress of Belgrade and thus the city of Belgrade have always had a special strategic position on the Balkan peninsula, especially through the locations between the Danube and Sava. Situated on the border of the Pannonian lowlands and the South-East European mountain peninsula, the fortress stands at the crossroads of the most important road connections, which since antiquity once united the city with Constantinople and Thessalonica. The Via Militaris from Budapest coming along the Danube as well as their historically following roads passed through Belgrade.

This strategic position led, among other things, to the fact that three crusades (1096, 1147 and 1189) were passing through Belgrade, and the city was subjected to permanent conquests in its changing history.

Legio IV Flavia Felix was moved to Singidunum

b_450_450_16777215_00_images_serbien_belgrade-5.JPGDue to its favorable strategic location, the first castle was built in the 3rd century BC, by Celtic or Thracian-Celtic tribes, called the Skordiskern. The Romans, who founded the city in the 1st century BC, have not only taken over the settlement as Singidunum, which probably means a round fortress or round town in the Celtic language, but also the name itself. In the year 86 AD the Legio IV Flavia Felix was moved to Singidunum. After the destruction of this military camp by the Goths and Huns, the settlement came to the Byzantine Empire, which assisted the Limes along the Danube with the Restauratio Imperii operated by Justinian I. The city of Singidunum was renewed in the form of a much smaller, but strong fortified Byzantine castron within the abandoned legion stand (Castra).

During the occupation of the Slavs in the Balkans around 625 the Kastron had to be given up. After a following changeful history from the 9th to 12th century the fort was renewed by the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I around 1153. Manuel personally controlled the work on the fortress. During this period, the name "Greek Weißenburg" came into being in Western Europe due to the white building materials used for today's Belgrade.

Conquest of Belgrade under the leadership of Süleyman I

b_450_450_16777215_00_images_serbien_belgrade-6.JPGStefan Lazarević (c. 1377-1427), the Serbian despot further strengthened Belgrade as a new center of its empire through huge buildings in the Upper and Lower Cities. Within the old fortress, the castle of the Despot was built, and on the bank of the Sava the harbor of war was expanded. Later, Belgrade belonged to the Hungarian Empire. The Hungarians under King Sigismund were able to hold the fortress against the Ottomans, who had conquered most of Serbia until the beginning of the second half of the fifteenth century. For the Ottomans, Belgrade constituted a major obstacle on the way to Central Europe, which they sought to conquer. They attacked the city on July 4, 1456 and besieged it (Siege of Belgrade (1456)), but they could not take it. After another 65 years, however, the conquest under the leadership of Süleyman I on August 28, 1521, succeeded. Thus in the 16th century Belgrade became an important Ottoman base for its campaigns against the West and flourished as a commercial center. The fortress left the rulers unaffected. It was only under the Austrian occupation of 1717-1739 that it became one of the strongest military fortifications in Europe.

The local relief also favored the fortification on a broad plateau on the ridge of the Šumadija, which is connected only by a steep slope with the river valleys.
Kalemegdan is a park on the former Glacis of the fortress of Belgrade. The Kalemegdan divides into the plants of the large and small Kalemegdan.
The Kalemegdan is situated northwest of today's center of Belgrade, above the mouth of the river Sava. From here, you can see the mouths of the Great War Island (today's nature reserve) as well as the Belgrade districts of Zemun and Novi Beograd, as well as the large forested and canal-covered area of the Pannonian Deep Plane.

Please read as well:

Camping Center Belgrade - City tour with a convertable

Belgrade - The fortress on the river mouth of Sava-Danube


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