Kalemegdan: a Roman Castrum in Belgrade

Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade

Belgrade, the capital and largest city of Serbia, is well-known for the smiling faces of the locals, for their kindness and courtesy.

The oldest part of the city, the Fortress Kalemegdan, dates back to the first century BC, when Romans built a castrum as a permanent military camp of the Legion IV Flavia. The Kalemegdan Park is placed on the point where the river Sava flows into the Danube, producing nowadays an amazing panorama but in the past was the main way of recurring invasions and wars.

Kalemegdan is composed from the two Turkish words: “Kale”, meaning “fortress” and “megdan”, meaning “battlefield”.

Belgrade Fortress and Kalemegdan Park define a cultural monument of exceptional relevance, a special area where cultural and arts events take place.

Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade.

Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade.

The name of Belgrade comes from “Beli”, meaning “white” and “grad”, meaning “city”. It is assumed to derive from the special white color of the limestone rock that composes the fortress.

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Belgrade Fortress is the most ancient section and the heart of the urban area of Belgrade, for several centuries the city population was assembled within the walls of the fortress.

What now remains of the fortress are the strong walls, the bastions, the moats and the fortifications. Remains dating back to Roman times are still visible, but the most fortified buildings are Byzantine, Ottoman and Austrian. Inside the fortress are preserved guns, tanks and war vehicles dating back to the various war events in Serbian history.

Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade.

Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade.

17 Roman emperors were born within the current borders of Serbia, the second country after Italy itself. In the fifth century Belgrade became the borderline between the Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire.

Belgrade panorama

Belgrade panorama.

Legend says that Attila’s grave lies under the fortress at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube.

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Facing the park stands the Great War Island. Though uninhabited, the island is part of the city which acquired its name from its history as an important strategic point whether for the conquest or the defense of Belgrade. In 2002 the island was proclaimed a natural fish spawning area and declared practically the only part of Belgrade where is not allowed to build facilities like hotels or restaurants.

 

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