Kalemegdan is old fortress almost in center of a Belgrade. Placed in an ridge (125.5m), above confluence of river Sava into Dunav (Danube), this is one of the largest parks in a city. The name comes from Turkish kale (fortress) and megdan (battlefield). But in old times, Turks used to call it Fićir bajir (Fichir bayir) – a hill for contemplation.
The history of a fortress is also a history of a Belgrade itself. First settlement was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Celtic tribe of Scordisci. Later, the place was conquered by Romans and became a part of military frontier, known as Singidunum. During 4th and 5th century, fortress was attacked and destroyed many times by attacks of Goths and Huns. There is a legend that says that Attila's grave lies on the confluence of the Sava and the Danube (under the Fortress). Fortress kept changing its masters: Byzantines, Hungarians, Bulgarians, and then again the Byzantines until 12th century when it became a part of Serbian state. After the Serbian state collapsed after the Battle of Kosovo (1389), Belgrade was chosen in 1404 as the capital of the principality of Despot Stefan Lazarević. Major work was done to the ramparts which were encircling a town.
Stefan Lazarević`s tower
After the Despots death in 1427 it had to be returned to Hungary. Turks tried to invade it in 1427 but failed. They succeeded in 1521 and it remained under Ottoman Empire until 1867 when Turks withdrew from Belgrade and Serbia.
Today, upper part of Kalemegdan is turned out to be a park with beautiful promenades, statue of Pobednik (Victor), Roman well (made by Austrians :D), Observatory and Planetarium (on top of Stefan Lazarević`s tower), Military Museum, Museum of forestry and hunting, Monument of the Gratitude to France, basketball and tennis courts, etc.
Statue of Pobednik
It is a nice place, indeed. A place where I have spent a lot of time walking and sitting, looking over the river toward my hometown, Zemun.
More photos about Belgrade and Kalemegdan you can find here.
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