While visiting the fortress, we heard several very unusual legends.
According to 1, eggs, not concrete, were used to build the fortress.
But more famous 1 says that Jerina, Greek Princess and Despot Djuradj Brankovic's wife, used milk, not water, to wash herself.
One more reason why people of that time didn't like Jerina. They called her Prokleta Jerina (Damned Yerina) and blamed her for everything they suffered.
Smederevo is a large industrial town some 50 km south east of Belgrade on the banks of the river Danube. It's not a pretty place and there is a huge American owned steel works there that pumps out red dust that coats everything in sight. Near the river there is a railyard that takes steel to and from the plant. Smederevo does have a redeeming feature though, it's castle or to be more precise it's fortress. Dating from the 15th century Smederevo's fortress was huge and survived it's many battles and sieges well into the 20th century. Sadly much of it was lost in 1941 when the railyards were bombed but there is still enough left to give a good impression of the original.
The Medieval Town Of Djuradj Brankovic
Smederevo ia a charming town on the south bank of the Danube River, some 46km east of Belgrade.
This is the place with turbulent past and rich present.
It was the capital of Serbia in the 15th century and the last Serbian stronghold to fall to invading Turkish Armies.
Three weeks in Serbia
A day is enough really in this town. I spent three weeks here. One of the first things I noticed were the people. The women are very glamorous and beautiful and this looks odd as its such a stark contrast to the dirty, rundown surroundings. They have been through war and decades of communism which have produced little in the way of notable works of art or architecture.
As I traveled to other cities I found their inner city buildings to have very similar bland grey styles. It was very dissapointing as my mother came from Serbia and i had expected much more.
Outside the major cities people have decided to build their own houses. In Smederevo, ignoring the inner city grey flats, practically everyone who has a house is building or rebuilding or in some cases given up building and left abandoned a house.
...to be continued.
Board Game and City Festival
"Board Game DEFEND THE CITY OF SMEDEREVO"
The only one Board Game about the history (6 centuries) of a city, a nation and events important for the SE Europe. The image of the playing board is actual shape of the fortress that was built in 1430, on 25 miles east from Belgrade on the bank of Danube. It is the biggest European stone flatlander fortress, a replica of the Constanople fortress. Built by Serbs on Byzantine architects' plans this fortress to keep Turks to enter Serbia and mid Europe. Its fall in 1459 means the final downfall of medievel Serbia. It has over 10 hectares, 24 tall stone towers and nice view to Danube and the city (from a tower 20 meters high !).
"City Festival 2002"
of vine and fruits. In the 115th festival, held in 2002, we were in roles of the "despotic" family Brankovich: Gregory, Mara, Despotina Yerinah (my "lady"), Despot George (hmmm... it's me), Kanthacousina and Stephen
... AND OUR FAMILY
Despot George Brankovich ruled Serbia from 1427 to 1456 when he died as very old man (84) wounded in a battle !!! His lady Jerina (Yerinah) was Greek princess.
To keep keep peace with the Turks Despot's daughter Mara has been married to Turkish Sultan Murad II. She was the stepmother of the new Sultan Mehmed who conquered Constanople.
To keep good relations with the West, her sister daugther Cantacusina (in the West known as Catherine) was married to Austrian count CILL ULRICH (1406—1456), son of Frederick II., count of Cilli.
The brothers Stephen and Gregory have been blinded by Turkish sultan.
... and ABOUT OUR CITY
A town on the Danube, in the vicinity of Belgrade. As legend has it, Roman emperor Probus (3rd century) first planted the grape-wine cuttings he brought back from Asia to Smederevo. When despot George Brankovich built a fortress and made it his capital, Smederevo became one of the most important towns in Serbia.
The medieval fortress, built between 1428 and 1430, was the most significant and still is the largest castle on the Danube. It was a bastion separating the inner fortress from the outer walls bears a large brickwork cross, and an inscription giving the building date as 1430. Smederevo's medieval fortress exchanged hands several times during the Austro-Turkish wars of the 17th and 18th centuries. The fortress was the seat of the Turkish administrator for Serbia until when he moved to Belgrade. It was also the seat of the Legislative Council before the council was transferred to Belgrade (today's Serbian capital)
One of the earliest works of urban topography was Hartman Schedel's Liber Cronicarum, published in 1493. Known more familiarly as the Nuremberg Chronicle, the book includes a number of fascinating woodcuts illustrating cities of the known world.
Size: : 9¼" x 20½" - Black & White, Cover-stock paper
The siege of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire and one of the most heavily fortified cities in the world, took place in 1453. Sultan Mehmed II, ruler of the Ottoman Turks, led the assault. The city was defended by, at most, 10,000 men. The Turks had between 100,000 and 150,000 men on their side. The siege lasted for fifty days. The Turks employed various important war tactics in taking over the city. They used huge cannon to destroy the walls, warships were used to the cut the city's sea defense. They also used an extensive infantry to engulf the city.
After using his heavy artillery to form a breach in the wall, the fist attack was launched upon Constantinople on a May morning at 1:00 a.m. The shout of men could be heard miles away. This fist attack was led by the Bashi-bazouks. They tried to attack the weakest point in the walls. They knew they were outnumbered and out skilled, but they still fought with passion. After fighting for two hours, they were called to retreat.
The second attack was brought on by the Anatolian Turks from Ishak's army. This army could easily be recognized by their specialized uniforms. This army was also more organized than the first. They used their cannons to blast through the walls of the city. By using trumpets and other noises they were able to break the concentration of their opponents. They were the first army to enter the city. The Christians were ready for them as they entered. They were able to massacre much of the army from this attack. This attack was called off at dawn.
Before the army was able to gain strength and order, another attack feel upon them. Mehmet's favorite set of troops called the Janissaries started to attack. They launched arrows, missiles, bullets, stones and javelins at the enemy. They maintained perfect unity in this attack, unlike the other attempts. This battle, at the stockade, was a long tiring battle for the troops. The soldiers fought in hand-to-hand combat. Someone had to give. It was the Christians. The Turks remembered a port called the Kerkoporta. They noticed it had accidentally been left open by the Christians. The Christian army frequently used that gate to try to penetrate the flank of the Turkish army. They stormed the gate, but the Christians were able to stop them before completely entering the city.
While battles were being fought on land, the Turks were also trying to take control of the sea. Many ships were placed in the Golden Horn and off of the Marmora shore to help siege the city. Many of the soldiers came from these ships to aid the army on land. Once the signal was sent, troops flooded off of these ships to take down the harbor walls and start looting the city.
The City was now completely taken over by the Turks. Mehmed renamed the city Istanbul. To further glorify the city he built mosques, palaces, monuments and a system of aqueducts. The city was now officially claimed for Islam. New rules and regulations came about for the conquered. The Greeks were to form communities within the empire called milets. The Christians were still allowed to practice their religion, but had to dress in distinguishing attire and could not bare arms. So came the end to the great city of Constantinople.