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Serbia: Smederevo Fortress

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Smederevo Fortress | Serbia | Europe

[Visited: September 2016]

When we enter Smederevo, there is no sign leading us to its fortress, so we park the car close to the railway tracks, and walk along the Danube waterfront towards the station. Indeed, the southern wall of Smederevo Fortress is right next to the railway tracks. The massive towers on this side of the fortress are mostly in ruins, with severe cracks: a heavy explosion of stored German ammunition in 1941 destroyed much of the fortress and the city, and killed thousands. We enter the fortress through the city gate; much of the inside has the looks of a park, surrounded by a triangle of thick walls with towers. It turns out there are remains of a church and bath, but only the foundations remain. We walk to an opening in the wall on the northwest side, where we walk alongside the wall and the Danube river to the northernmost point of the fortress.

Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): Bridge leading to inner city gate, with southern wall and water trench

A circular water tower at the northernmost point stands at the confluence of the Danube and Jezava river, and from here, we walk south with tall towers at regular intervals. The Turkish inscription tower stands outside the fortress, and we are back at the southern wall. We enter the fortress again through the main city gate, where we find ourselves in the open space which used to be the suburb of the inner city that was constructed in the northern part of the fortress. Time for a break: we sit at one of the benches to eat grapes we had bought in a village that morning, next to a line of poplar trees that stands parallel to the eastern wall. We now stay inside the fortified walls, and walk a wooden bridge over the water trench to enter the inner city through another gate.

Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): Poplar trees standing next to the eastern wall of Smederevo Fortress

Modeled after the fortress of Constantinople, Smederevo Fortress is a Byzantine complex, built in the early 15th century by a Serbian ruler. After the Turks conquered it, they further fortified it; its strategic location on the Danube river gave it natural importance. Several sieges over the centuries left it relatively intact: most of the damage was done in the Second World War. Some sections have been repaired, but much is still to be done. In the inner city, we find a stage, walk up the wall, which gives us good views of both the inner city as well as the fortified suburbs we have already explored. The double-arched windows in the northern wall give us views of the Danube in the background, and also some idea of how beautiful Smederevo Fortress must once have been.

Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): Wall with double-arched windows with the Daube river in the background
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): Northern side of Smederevo Fortress with circular tower
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): Cracks in one of the towers of Smederevo fortress
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): Tower at the southern side of Smederevo Fortress
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): Gate giving access to the inner city of the fortress
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): Eastern wall of the fortress seen from the inside
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): View of crumbling towers of Smederevo Fortress from the railroad tracks
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): Circular tower at the northern side of the fortress
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): The water tower seen from the inside
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): Part of the exterior wall of Smederevo Fortress: the eastern side
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): The southern wall of the inner city with water trench in the foreground
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): The Turkish inscription tower, located outside the fortress
Picture of Smederevo Fortress (Serbia): Part of the inner city seen from a tower with the Danube river in the background

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