The Smederevo Fortress

The Smederevo FortressBy order of Despot Ðurad Branković began in 1428, at the mouth of the rivers Jezava and Danube, at the very north of the country, the building of the Smederevo fortress, which became the seat of Serbian secular and clerical authorities of the time.

Enormous quantities of stone necessary for the construction were dragged from ancient sites: Viminacium, Margum and Kulič, and Serbian medieval burial grounds were also sacrified. The Small Town The Court – was built within two years, triangular of shape, with six towers, the strongest of which is the Donjon tower.

A red brick inscription on the Despot’s tower that tells of the building of the town is preserved, inside the Court, facing the Danube, there was a reception hall – MAGNA SALA AUDIENTIAS, that is – with three Gothic bifores where medieaval court life took place. Along with it there was a room with a Romanic bifore designated for the ruling family. In the Small Town there was a famous centre for goldsmiths and transcription work, as well as a coin mint.

In the period from 1430 – 1439, THE LARGE TOWN – The Fortified Town – was erected in accordance with the triangular shape, taking up almost 11 hectares which puts the Smederevo Fortress among the largest European plain fortifications. Originally, the fortress was made for defence against cold steel weapons, but it was soon adapted for fire – arms warfare. In a longer, peaceful period from 1444 – 1453, the Large Town was raised with 19 towers, whose height was more than 20 meters. In this space there were The Court Church and The Church of the Annunciation with the holy remains of St Luke, who is also today the patron saint of the town. The Large Town became known as craft and trade centre in which also a colony from Dubrovnik did their trade. After the Turkish conquest of Smederevo in 1459, the Serbian mediaeval state ceased to exist.
In 1480 the Turks raised an outer defence wall around the fortress, and at the corners and at the entry into the Town four polygonal towers with gun openings.

The outer wall facing the town and the Turkish polygonal tower at the entry to the Town were pulled down when railway tracks were built in

In World War One, the Fortress was badly damaged. The last, largest destruction happened in an explosion of ammunition, on the 5th of June,1941.

The fortress is currently used as a city park, and occasionally hosts festivals, concerts, fairs, and other cultural events. A stage has been built in the small town. To the southeast, the previously open space along the Jezava now boasts a harbor and a marina. There are also discussions underway to determine compatible future, modernized uses, and to develop projects to restore and rehabilitate the fortress.

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