Donji Milanovac Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Donji Milanovac

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    Visit the Ottoman Fetislam Fortress at Kladovo

    by tayloretc Written Jun 11, 2012

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    The Fetislam (“Gates of Peace”) fortress was built on medieval ruins by the Ottomans in 1524, and served as an active Ottoman garrison until 1867. Its outer structure is nearly hidden at ground level – the outer defences come inside a wide moat, much of which is still extant. You can walk part of the way around the outside, cutting through the interior to complete the circuit (perhaps 2km).

    The interior is mostly made over into playing fields. There is a small part of the inner fortifications left standing, though, and what appears to have been a stage more recently, but since fallen into disrepair. It’s all quite picturesque, crumbling prettily and overgrown with flowers.

    The town of Kladovo is about 65 km east of Donji Milanovac. There are several buses daily going to Kladovo, but only three returning during the day (10am, 1pm, 4:15pm). You'll see the fortress from the bus. You can request that the driver drop you in front of the Archaeological Museum and walk the short way back.

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    Visit the Archaeological Museum in Kladovo

    by tayloretc Updated Jun 11, 2012

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    The whole area around Kladovo has been settled since prehistoric times, and the museum reflects that history. It isn’t large, but it has a wide range of items for its size.

    Some of the prehistoric pieces are duplicates of statues found at Lepenski Vir, but there are also tools, pots, and jugs, and some photos of the original Lepenski Vir site that aren’t displayed there. The Roman collection consists mostly of items found in the immediate area, at Diana, the Tabula Trajana, and Pontes. As excavations continue, especially at Diana, the collection will likely grow. Also here are photos of some of the many sites – from all periods – that were flooded when the Djerdap dam was built, and some of the artefacts rescued from those sites.

    Information is mostly in Serbian, but there is at least one English speaker on staff to provide some explanation and answer questions.

    The town of Kladovo is about 65 km east of Donji Milanovac. There are several buses daily going to Kladovo, but only three returning during the day (10am, 1pm, 4:15pm). You can request that the driver drop you in front of the Archaeological Museum.

    Hours: 10-5, except Monday (closed).
    Entrance: 100 Dinar (1 Euro); donations also accepted.

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    • Archeology

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    Hiking in the Djerdap National Park

    by tayloretc Updated Oct 31, 2011

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    The Djerdap National Park stretches more than 100km along the Danube River, and hiking here is fantastic. It’s a beautiful landscape, with only a few small towns and villages within its 650sq km. The park isn’t that wide, but beyond the park is a lot more old-growth forest (protected by other organizations), and small farms, so when you’re here, you’re really alone in the woods. And the woods here are beautiful.

    The official map of the park indicates ten marked trails, ranging from two to twelve kilometers (one way), but doesn’t give details. Trailheads are mostly off small side roads, and are marked only with very small signs in Cyrillic. Once you find them, the trails are pretty well marked with white and red bull’s-eyes on trees and rocks. There are no amenities, so bring food and water.

    Besides the official trails, there are trails into the woods all over the place – the problem is that none of them are marked, and there are a lot of crossing trails, so unless you know where you’re going you could be lost for a long time. I’ve heard there was a good detailed map of the entire park (including distances and elevations) at some point, done by a German group. In 2011 it wasn’t available, but ask.

    Two (possibly three) of the official trails are within specially protected areas and require that you get permission to visit and pay a fee at the main office in Donji Milanovac. (The photo above is from one of these – you’re looking at the Danube and the Carpathian Mountains in Romania from about 750m above sea level.) The offices are open during regular business hours, Monday-Friday. There are people patrolling those specially protected areas, so if you haven't arranged permission you will be kicked out.

    Getting to trailheads. You'll want to ask at the park office. Getting to some trailheads requires a 4x4, which you can hire there. You can also get directions to some of the harder-to-find trailheads.

    Note The park office isn't really for tourists - they maintain the park, doing everything from patrolling for illegal activity to putting out forest fires - and only a few people speak anything besides Serbian, but everyone is friendly and helpful. Also, I was originally told I was required to go into the specially protected places with a guide from the park service, but was later told that as long as I had permission and knew where I was going, that isn't necessary. The rules appear to change depending on the management, so check.

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    Visit the Roman ruins near Kladovo

    by tayloretc Updated Oct 19, 2011

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    There are two Roman sites close to the town of Kladovo: the Diana Fortress about 10 kilometres north-west, and the last remaining pillar of Trajan’s Bridge a couple of kilometres east. Both the fortress and the bridge were built by Trajan around 100AD in support of the Dacian Wars.

    The Diana Fortress was mostly destroyed by the Huns, was rebuilt in 500AD, and was destroyed again just 100 years later. It eventually became buried, leaving the lower levels of walls and towers completely intact, wood crossbeams and all. It’s a fairly large site, although most of it either hasn’t been excavated yet or is in the process of being excavated. In October 2011, it was completely open, with just one guy to watch over it. He showed us around (in Serbian), and said there were plans to make it more accessible. During the regular season there’s a multi-lingual guide on site. (Diana Fortress on Wikipedia)

    Trajan's Bridge was the longest bridge in the known world for a thousand years, and most of the stone pillars existed until well into the 20th century. Now, only one pillar and the remnants of the guarding camps are visible on each side of the river. When the river is low you can walk right up to the pillar on the Serbian side. There's no one watching this one, and no information once you're there. (Trajan's Bridge on Wikipedia)

    Kladovo is about an hour from Donji Milanovac and the buses are relatively frequent. From Kladovo, you can’t get to Trajan’s Bridge by public transportation, but it is walkable (you’ll have to ask for directions). The Diana Fortress is along the Kladovo–Donji Milanovac bus route, but it’s unlikely the driver will let you off there or another bus will pick you up later. Both sites are marked with small white signs on the river side of the road – easy to miss if you aren’t looking for them.

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    Visit the Roman palace Felix Romuliana

    by tayloretc Updated Oct 16, 2011

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    Roman Emperor Galerius’ royal palace complex Felix Romuliana is huge. With remains of fortified walls and towers, two temples, baths, and extensive living quarters, it could be easily mistaken for a small town. Around 300AD, Galerius built this complex to be his retirement retreat. He died returning to it for his retirement, so never lived here. Since it was his personal retreat and not important to Rome, it was left empty until it became church property (basilicas were built over some parts); it was later wrecked by the Huns, and eventually was covered over by earth. It was rediscovered around 1835.

    It’s the only UNESCO site in eastern Serbia. That tag has brought some benefits – there’s a good guide staff onsite (and I heard also in the museum in Zajecar), a good booklet in several languages and replica souvenirs available for sale, and good descriptions of what you’re seeing around the site, but there’s still not much money for the preservation and restoration of what’s there. Much “preservation” is simply leaving things covered. Most of the mosaics, for example, are covered with sand except for the ones removed to the museum, and there are huge areas of the site not excavated at all. During the summer there’s an active excavation of the small town discovered outside one of the walls, but as of 2011, nothing inside.

    It’s a fascinating site. There are no barriers, no walkways. You’re stepping over the thresholds they used 2000 years ago, and you’re on your honor not to climb the walls or remove a fragment of anything. If you’re history minded and lucky enough to be there alone (as I was), sitting in the remains of the emperor’s private garden patio (pictured above) is a unique experience.

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    • Archeology
    • Castles and Palaces

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    Visit the Medieval Fortress at Golubac

    by tayloretc Updated Oct 16, 2011

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    Although the origins are uncertain, the fortress here is supposed to have been built mostly in the 1300s, and saw plenty of fighting between various armies until the 1800s. There’s quite a bit of information available on the history and construction of the site, since it is classified as a “Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance” by the Serbian government. It is extremely well preserved, although the past hundred years have been less kind than the hundreds of years of wars before it – it’s a picturesque ruin, but a ruin nonetheless. As of this writing, there was talk of restoring it to make it more accessible to viewers.

    You can climb to the higher towers via a short, steep trail just off the road, although be advised there isn’t much in the way of safety precautions, wooden floors and stairs have rotted away, and a fall would be long and hard since everything not rotted away is stone. I didn’t climb up myself (injury).

    The town of Golubac is about 60 km west of Donji Milanovac. Since it’s the main route between DM and Belgrade, there are buses many times daily, both to and from. The fortress itself is about 4 km east of Golubac on this road – actually, the road passes right through the gates of the lower part – but the driver most likely won’t let you off here. If you can’t find a cab at the bus stand, it’s a flat walk back the way you came – not bad, but narrow and without a shoulder. You can bypass the road in town by walking along the riverfront until the eastern end of town, where a short dirt trail leads back up to the road.

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    Visit the Mesolithic Settlement of Lepenski Vir

    by tayloretc Updated Sep 25, 2011

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    The settlement of Lepenski Vir is one of the earliest human settlements in Europe (dating from 7000BC), and the museum and interpretive center do a good job explaining the site and the unique cultural features found only here. In addition to an inspired layout, which allows you to see the site as a whole and also get up close to parts of it, there is a small gallery of statues, tools, and pottery, an introductory film, a virtual walk-through of the reconstructed village, a recreated hut (outside), and helpful guides.

    The site was discovered in the 1960s, soon before the Danube was dammed and the river rose 30 meters. What’s presented here is the entire site transported and meticulously reassembled 30 meters higher and 100 meters west of the original location. As of this writing, many of the sculptures displayed are copies – the originals are in Belgrade because there was no way to protect them here before. It is unclear whether the originals will be returned now.

    The museum and interpretive center were completed in June, 2011, and it’s well worth a visit – a very well-done look at a rare piece of human history.

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    • Museum Visits
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    Hire a Boat, See the Gorge

    by tayloretc Updated Sep 11, 2011

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    The Djerdap Gorge is beautiful, with a particularly striking stretch between Donji Milanovac and the 1st century Tabula Trajana near Kladovo. Before the dam was built in the 1970s, the gorge was 30 meters deeper, and Trajan’s road ran beside the river. Now, the river is wider, passing through national parks with alternating impenetrable forest and impossible pillars of rock. There is a road on both sides (tunnels through the pillars of rock), but to really see the place you should go by water.

    The scale of the gorge is huge. The narrowest point is 150 meters, and the highest rocks are 600 meters above the water. In the photo, there’s actually a large cruise ship, about 2 ½ stories high, coming through.

    The strangest thing to me was that if you start from one side of the river, even with sheer rock walls on both sides, you aren’t allowed to cross the imaginary line between Serbia and Romania. Every boat has a flag painted on it somewhere, and Romanian flags stay on one side of the river, and Serbian flags stay on the other. So for now, if you start on the Romanian side you can’t see the Tabula Trajana, and if you start on the Serbian side, you can’t stop at the small caves on the Romanian side. There is actually border patrol. It wasn’t clear what would happen if I swam across to see a cave, but the idea was not well-received.

    At the time of this writing, there was only one person hiring out a boat from Donji Milanovac, but that’s bound to change – it’s just too beautiful. The gentleman in question can take 6-7 people, and speaks a little English. You can also make arrangements through the Tourist Info Center (it’s their info below). Round-trip between Donji Milanovac and the Tabula Trajana takes 4-5 hours, and in 2011 cost around 100 euros.

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    • Sailing and Boating

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    The Billet of Captain Misa Anastasijevic (I&V)

    by Zvrlj Updated Apr 17, 2009

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    The billet of Captain Misa Anastasijevic

    Only two buildings have survived 3rd relocation of Donji Milanovac in 1971 – the billet of Captain Misa Anastasijevic and the house of Stefan Stefanovic Tenka.

    The Danube captain Misa Anastasijevic, merchant, shipowner and President of National Assembly, was the richest person in Serbia in 19th century. His Palace in Belgrade, gifted "to his fatherland" is one of the greatest edifices of 19th century Serbia. Today, there is the Rectorate of the University of Belgrade and parts of the Faculty of Philosophy in it.

    The billet of Captain Misa in Donji Milanovac is large two floors building with a ground floor made of rock and the first floor made of wooden logs called bondruk, with an external stairway and a large porch.

    This building is transformed into restaurant nowadays and its interior lost a lot of its original appearance.

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    The House of Stefan Stefanovic Tenka (I&V)

    by Zvrlj Updated Apr 17, 2009

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    The house of Stefan Stefanovic Tenka
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    Only two buildings have survived 3rd relocation of Donji Milanovac in 1971 – the billet of Captain Misa Anastasijevic and the house of Stefan Stefanovic Tenka.

    Stefan Stefanovic Tenka was minister of justice and education in Serbia and President of Serbian Government in 19th century, and author of plans for town Porec – Donji Milanovac, after its 2nd relocation in 1832.

    The house of Stefan Stefanovic Tenka was built as a ground floor house made of wooden logs and base walls made of stone.

    Nowadays regional Tourist organization is in Tenka's house. Very kind tourist guides, besides their prime occupation, can help one to find the most interesting places not only in Gornji Milanovac but in whole region, and to find appropriate accommodation in Gornji Milanovac.

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    • Architecture
    • National/State Park
    • Historical Travel

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