Some stories from the Smederevo Fortress - Welcome to the Middle Ages.

in #gems6 months ago

Each town has its own stories, legends, and secrets. Some are known around the world, some are local. When the town has a long history, the stories are more interesting, the legends more mysterious, and the secrets more numerous. Smederevo is a small town on the banks of the Danube. It has a little more than 100,000 inhabitants, but a long and interesting history. As a testimony of that period, when Smederevo was the capital оf Serbia in the fifteenth century, is the medieval Smederevo Fortress, one of the largest and most beautiful plain fortresses in Europe.



Modeled after Constantinople fortress, at the confluence of the small river Jezava and the Danube, on an area of 11 hectares, Smederevo Fortress is an archaeologically still unexplored site. The entrance gate is currently being reconstructed and the foundations of the walls that were demolished during the Second World War have been excavated. Many exhibits were found, but also unexploded bombs from the Second World War.

The confluence of the Jezava and the Danube

As you can guess, there are many amusing stories, but this time I will write about the last discovered and partially restored site - a Byzantine church from the tenth century. On the foundations of this church, despot Djuradj Brankovic, the wise ruler of the then Serbia, who built the Smederevo Fortress with his wife as well, built a new Orthodox church. I must mention that Orthodoxy has preserved the identity of Serbs during the long and difficult Ottoman rule, and as such is an inseparable part of Serbian history and culture.



The church was discovered in the 1980s. During the rule of the Turks, this church was demolished and turned into a mosque. For a while, the rule of Turks and Austro-Hungarians changed in this area, so this church was also Catholic for a while.



When the foundations of this church were found, it was initially thought that it was the Cathedral Church of the Annunciation (Saborna crkva Blagoveštenja) that is being searched for. But it has been determined that the size of this small church does not match the size of the church that is being sought. Why is this church important?

Despot Djuradj Brankovic, in order to protect the Smederevo fortress and the Serbian state, bought the relics of St. Luke for 30,000 ducats. He transferred the relics from the Epirus city of Rogos to Smederevo in the greatest secrecy. That moment was solemn and liturgy was organized, which was attended by the despot and his family. They carried the relics of Saint Luke around the walls of the fortress, believing that this would save Serbia and Smederevo. But the miracle did not happen.


The relics of this great saint were housed in the Cathedral Church of the Annunciation, which was large and imposing, in the period from 1453 to 1459. With the fall of Smederevo, a long and difficult period of Turkish rule began for Serbia. The church was most likely demolished by the Turks, and it is believed that they built a hammam and a Water military tower from its remains, and the relics of Saint Luke were removed first to Bosnia and then to Venice.

Where the foundations of the Cathedral Church of the Annunciation is still a great mystery.

Water Tower of Smederevo Fortress

Today, Smederevo Fortress is one of the favorite places of Smederevo residents for sports, recreation, walking, or picnics, as well as an inevitable tourist destination. My children adore the fortress and we often visit it. Our friend celebrated his birthday at the fortress. It was fantastic, we played football with the children and flew kites. The fortress is the right place to hang out.


I hope you enjoyed this time machine. The Middle Ages are dark and difficult, but mystical and exotic at the same time.

Have a nice day!

In this text, I used data from the book by Dr. Leontije Pavlović -
History of Smederevo in words and pictures (Istorija Smedereva u slici i reči) and from the site, although I know most of the data because this topic interests me.