The Military Museum is located at the Kalemegdan in Belgrade. It was founded in 1878 and consists of – as the name says – military items. There are numerous ancient and modern items; from Roman swords and helmets, Greek helmets and daggers, and Serbian medieval weapons to modern guns, firearms, and soldier's uniforms and equipment.
My personal highlight was the exhibitions about World War II. The history of the Red Army and the Yugoslav Partisans is well described with many plaques and displays. There is also a small exhibition of the NATO bombings of Serbia in 1999.
But you don’t have to enter the museum if you want to see military stuff. At some of the walls and moats of Kalemegdan you’ll find cannons from the 18th and 19th century and weapons from World War I and II. And these items are exhibited for free…
The most know sightseeing in Belgrade. It is a hill, a fortress in the old town which name comes from Turkish kale – fortress and megdan- battlefield.
The view is amazing to both rivers; the green park is great for walking, resting, easting an ice-cream…; the zoo is also located at the foot of the hill. The military museum is situated on its top, where also there is a wonderful restaurant. It’s a place where you can spend all day. Just try to avoid the holidays as it was really crowded (1.05)
Kalemegdan is a huge park and fortress complex in Belgrade.
The fortress complex was developed between the 1st and 18th century and bears witness of the different conquering cultures; Roman, Byzantine, Austrian-Ottoman, and Serbian. Quite a few interesting thing to see, for instance the old gates, the Clock Tower, the Despot Stefan Tower (from 1405, now an observation tower), the tomb of Damad-Ali Pash (an Ottoman Turkish general and Grand Vizier), and the Messenger of Victory Monument (from 1928). And there are amazing views of river Sava, river Danube, and the neighbourhoods of Novi Beograd and Zemun.
The park is located just outside the fortress complex. January is not the best time of year to visit, but it looked nice with many green areas, walking paths, flower beds, some monuments and busts – and vendors selling all kind of souvenirs...
-Inner Gate and Outer Stambul Gates
The main gate of the fortress was built in the 1730s during a period of Austrian occupation, but whoever held the castle afterwards kept and expanded this double gate.
This one was once used as a prison and is therefore often known under the name prison gate. It was added in front of the Despot Kapija Gate in 1455, anticipating its importance in what would become the 1456 Siege of Belgrade. The two big towers are not conneced with each other.
-Despot Kapija or Stefan Lazarevic Gate
This 15th century gate was built during the time of Despot Stefan Lazarevic. The most characteristic part of it is its white tower. It has a squared form facing the inner court and a round one facing the outer part. The tower of Stefan Lazarevic Gate houses and observatory. For a fee of 30 dinar (2011) you can climb the tower and get quite a good view over the place.
It is possible, that there was once a figure of a saint in this gate which got lost/removed/destroyed over time.
One of the newer structures of Kalemegdan Fortress, built in he 1750s. It was named afer partisan leader Karadjordje who entered the castle through this gate during the 1807 siege.
- Sahat Kula
...means clock tower. It retained its name given by the Ottomans which began with its construction in 1740 . The tower was completed by the Serbians in the last decade of the 18th century.
22 metre high Nebosja tower is regarded as the best preserved in Kalamegdan. As its surviving sister, Jaksiceva Kula, it was built in the 1460s. Kula Nebosja is located close to the water and separated by a road from the rest for the structure.
...was the main artillery tower, a true medieval structure built in the 1460s and used by Austro-Hungarians, Serbs and Ottomans alike. The tower was restored in 1937 after ceturies of falling into decay and damages from previous wars. At the same time, a mausoleum with the remains of WWI soldiers was built next to the tower.
- St. Petka Church
Built on the site of a spring, this little church is known for its mosaics work from 1983. Thougn looking much older, the church was finished in 1937. As the name suggests, the church houses the relics of St. Petka. It is not allowed to take pictures inside, but there a are a couple of souvenirs from this place on sale, including the water from the "miraculous" spring.
The medieval origins of the church are largely unknown and the original church was destroyed by the ottomans in 1521. The current building which was built on top of that was a gunpowder storehouse, but was rebuilt from 1867 to 1925 into the present church. The church is much beloved by the locals and is famous for its frescoes from 1938, an artwork by Djordje Mocilovic.
-Damad Ali-Pasha Turbe
Next to the clock tower, probably the most remarkable remain of Kalamegdan's islamic periods, this building is the tomb of Izmet Mehmed Pasha, a local ruler. The building was finished in the 1780s, damaged in the early 19th century and restored again in the late 20th. Damad Ali Pasha, after whom the locals named the building, died in 1717 and is not buried here.
- Monument of French Friendship.
This obelisk and the surrounding square were installed after WWI when the French fought on Serbian side against the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They were on the same side in WWII again, but during the Kosovo wars of the late 1990s, France was involved in the bombing of Belgrade. The monument was covered in black cloth during that time....
-The Victor (Victory Monument)
This statue created by Ivan Mestrovic in 1928 stands for the battles who were fought in and for this city. It is seen as a kind of "Statue of Liberty" of Belgrade. It surprised me that Victor's falcon symbolizes peace
Belgrade's top sight offers a lot to see for people interested in old castle ruins or those who want to stroll and relax in a park. Located at the confluence of Sava and Danube, it was of strategic importance and the driving power behind the growth of Belgrade. The earliest origins of that fortress date back to the Celtic and later Roman era. From then on, it was destroyed and changed hands several times, later mainly between the Austrian Habsburg Empire and the Ottomans. In 1867, the Ottomans left for the last time and the remains of the fortress were turned into today's park. Belgrade's name was probably derived from this fortress, the name of the city can be roughtly translated as "White Castle".
The grounds are full of ruins, monuments, several museums and a couple of other places fo interest. On several places, you can enjoy the view upon the river and the surrounding areas. To the south and the west, there are different kind of park areas, including Gornij Grad, the 1931 extension built to honour the victims of WWI while the northern side is dominated by meadows. Belgrade zoo is located to the northeast of the fortress. For details on the sights of Kalemegdan Park and Fortress, please see my respective tips.
You can rent an audioguide (as far as I can remember, the price was 300 Dinar as of 2011) in Serbian, English, German and some other languages. For that, you will need to leave an official document (like passport or national ID card) which you will get back when you return the audioguide. The audioguides are available from the little shop close to Galerija and Stambol Gate. If you want to follow the audioguide tour, I recommend half a day for Kalemegdan. Add the other half of the day, if you plan to visit the museums. Just having a look at everything in this area will take you around two hours.
The Fortress is probably the major attraction in Belgarde for inhabitants and tourists alike. It is situated in the old town above the confluence of the Danube and the Sava river.
The history of the fortress dates back until Roman times and it changed its masters many times over the centuries.
It's a great place to explore, sit in the surrounding park and let the world go by. It also hosts the military museum in case you want now more that particular field of interest.
Pobednik (Victor), the symbol of Belgrade, represents a strong warrior holding a sword in his right and a falcon in his left hand.
This 14m-high statue of bronze and stone was designed by Ivan Meštrovic. in 1928 it was placed in Kalemegdan during the 10th anniversary celebration of the breach of the Thessaloniki front.
Belgrade's Fortress, sitting within the grounds of Kalemegdan Park, is the city's most prominent historical structure. It offers grand vistas overlooking the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, but what could have been fantastic views, are blighted by the grey concrete sprawl of Novi Beograd (New Belgrade) on the opposite banks of the Sava. If you look out to your right, however, it's still beautiful, and if you come at night, the darkness hides the grey.
The fortress has been around as long as Belgrade, and that's a very long time. The city of Singidunum was founded in the 3rd century BC, and later would become Belgrade. The fortress was the only surviving building from that city. The fortress was then rebuilt by various masters, including the Romans and Byzantines, before it was finally captured by the Turks in 1521. It is from the Turks that it gets its name: Kalemegdan. In Turkish this means "fortress amid the battlefields".
It is likely that Belgrade got its name from the Fortress too. The name "Beograd" in Slavic means "white tower" or "white fortress", and that is signified by the white clock tower which now sits upon the fortress.
Ivan Mestroviċ is probably the best known sculptor from Yugoslavia. Two of his works are found here in the Kalmegdan Park. Standing high above the Sava is Polvenik – Messenger of Victory. Originally the piece had been intended for the city center but the full nudity was a bit much for the city folk of the interwar days and the young warrior stands out here instead, gazing to the north – Austria and Hungary lying across the Sava. The statue was erected in 1928 ten years after the decisive breakthrough along the Salonika Front which revived Serbia as a country.
Not too far away and closer to the city is a latter statue by Mestroviċ erected in 1930 – the Monument of Gratitude to France. The female bathing represents soldiers bathing in the pool of courage and is erected in honor of the French soldiers who died fighting for Serbia.
A few miles to the south of Belgrade, atop the 511 meter high Mount Avala is a third Mestroviċ work – the Unknown Soldier Monument. Erected in 1938, the monument is a tribute to those Serbs who died in WWI fighting to keep Serbia a nation – 58% of its prewar male population died, some 1,264,000.
The name Kalmegdan comes from the Turkish ‘kale’ field and ‘megdan’ battle – for here is the site of the former fortresses that were built, destroyed and rebuilt atop the hill above the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers. The present form of the fortress dates to the early 18th century during an Austrian occupation. When the Turks finally left the fort for good in 1867, Prince Mihailo Obrenoviċ created the project which has become today’s park.
Serving as an oasis of green above the frenetic city, people walk the leafy paths using the park as an extended living room. The trees, grass and flowers serving as a gentler cover to the more militial past. You find history in the park, as well as the zoo and magnificent views out over the Sava and Danube and beyond to the vast plains of the Vojovdina.
The city has been overrun over 40 times so a military museum - located within the Kalmegdan fortress - is a good place to gain a sense of history of Belgrade and Serbia. Most exhibits are in Serbian, but the understanding comes through regardless. War upon war - and Serbia has lost its fair share. WWI cost the nation some 25% of its population - far the worst of any nation in that sad affair. WWII exhibits give you an indication of just how confused the state of affairs was in Yugoslavia during that war. The last exhibits describe the break-up of Yugoslavia and the NATO intervention - government buildings hit by cruise missiles during that war are still in the destroyed state - see the Defense Ministry, for example.
So, to gain a good understanding of Serb history and culture, this museum is a very good start, along with the Patriarchal Museum - if it is ever renovated. Church and State.
The Old Fortress in Belgrade is a large and very impressive structure and, like many other walled defensive positions, it has a number of gates. If you approach the fortress from the Lelemegdan, the chances are you will pass through this rather impressive portal. It is the Karadjordje Gate, built between 1750 and 1760 and named for the leader of the First Serbian uprising who passed through the gate during a siege in 1807.
It has been subsequently refurbished.
OK, apologies for my appalling schoolby French but the title of this tip is meant to say, "we are friends once again". If any French speaker cares to correct it, please let me know. Allow me to explain. The rather grand statue pictured is officially the Monument of Gratitude to France and was unveiled in 1930 amidst great pomp and in presence of HRH king Aleksandar Karadjordjevic. It is a monument thanking the French for their contribution to the war effort against Germany in the First World War, when French and Serb forces fought alongside each other. It is the work of sculptor Ivan Mestrovic.
I was given an interesting anecdote by my Serb friend. Apparently during the last lot of problems in the Balkans, the French were part of the international force bombing the former Yugoslavia and, during this period the statue was covered by a black cloth. This explains my rather poor attempt at French in the title, apparently all is forgiven if not maybe forgotten.