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late afternoon october Belgrade Serbia Interior gun display of kalemagden fortress belgrade serbia

Kalemagdan Fortress Belgrade, Serbia

After a long walk from our AirBNB, we began our final approach through the well manicured, gently rising park to Kalemagdan Fortress. Sitting atop the ridge at the confluence of the Danube and the Sava river, the fortress has stood as the center of Belgrade since it was constructed by Justinian I in 535. The city had existed though since the 3rd century BCE as Singidunum. The fortress has remained an important icon to the history of Belgrade, standing strong through the mainly invasions and occupations of Serbia.

Kalemagden Statue
Kalemagden Front Gate

Get In

Passing through the flowered gardens, vendors with trinkets, and statues and busts of famous figures, the crisp wind of fall swept through the descending leaves and welcomed us into the massive stone entry. We were brought into an interior space filled with relics from the World Wars, most notably artillery, as well as recreational spaces. We proceeded on though, as were making our way to upper part of the fortress.

Kalemagden Park
Kalemagden Canons

This was not our first time at Kalemagdan Fortress. Due to it’s location and size, it’s quite easy to make several visits. We previously had ventured along the western side of the fortress, looking down upon the Sava and it’s moored bar / barges. The gardens that surround the fortress offer a great place to relax. It also offers wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Kalemagden Wall Overlook
Kalemagden Wall Overlook
Kalemagden Sava River

First Visit

Our first foray into Kalemagdan was from this western side, and presented slight difficulty as there was some construction going on. However, a quick climb put us right at the top and inner field within the fortress. We took a few photos, but as we’d already had a full day, we did not do a full exploration of the grounds.

Kalemagden Draw Bridge
Kalemagden Interior Home
Kalemagden Front Cliff

A Closer Look

However, this time, we took a more thorough look around, and already knew what to expect and where to look. We were in search of the Ruzica church which we knew lay at the northeastern edge of the fort.

Kalemagden Ruzica Walls

We made our way out through the various bridges and fortifications of the massive fortress. Eventually we came out at one of the entrances facing the Danube. Jutting from the base of the walls was the Ruzica church. The church is small, but has a character to it. The chandeliers are made of the used bullet casings and swords from soldiers during the first World War.

Kalemagden Briana In Ramparts
Kalemagden Side Gate
Kalemagden Cliff Gate Briana
Interior of Ruzica

Kalemagdan Ruins

Setting out from Ruzica, we could see the sun was beginning to set on the Danube. We made our way down the hill towards a small ruin. What it was, we don’t know, but the crumbling stone walls indicate it was of some importance to the massive fortifications above.

Kalemagden Grass Hills
Kalemagden Field Path
Kalemagden Ruins

Before night fell, we proceeded out of the fortress compound on the north where a large manicured field lies.

Kalemagden Panorama

Other Activities

The region around and within the fortress houses a lot to do. There is:

~K~

Kalemagden Dino Park
Zoo Mural
Kalemagden Tennis Courts
Kalemagden Briana On The Ramarts

The Big Churches Of Belgrade, Serbia

Christian influence into the region we know today as Serbia began in the 2nd century. Byzantine missionaries in the 9th century promoted and spread the religion across the land, with Christianity being declared the state religion, leading to the construction of numerous churches.

Over the years, the march of history has brought Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, and Judaism to the region, but Eastern Orthodoxy and Serbian Orthodoxy reign supreme in the region at 84% of the population.

As such, you can find numerous churches across Belgrade (and the nation). We visited a few of the more notable churches and cathedrals. And needless to say, they are quite impressive. Here I am going to go over the three big ones that should be on your tour lists.

Church of Saint Mark

St Marks Cathedral

This church was the first place that we visited. Sitting at the north end of Tasmajdan Park, it is a stunning and imposing church dedicated to the Apostle and Evangelist Mark. It was originally built in the 1830s, but the new church, as you see it today, was built in 1940.

St Marks Cathedral

The exterior consists of two colors of naturally occurring red stone. The interior is a large room that rises to 60 meters (186 feet). There is highly decorative gold throughout the church.

St Marks Interior
Interior of St Marks

Though we only entered the church once, we passed by it numerous times on our way to other parts of Belgrade.

St Marks Alter
St Marks

Today, the remains of Tzar Dushan, a prominent figure in medieval Serbian history is buried beneath the church.

St Marks Plaque

Saint Sava Temple

St Sava

We came to the Church of Saint Sava multiple times during our stay in Belgrade. The surrounding grounds are large parks and fountains as well as a large library. The church stands as a dazzling centerpiece to the area. We attempted to view the library, however you cannot simply go in as a tourist. We were limited to a very small display of old books and bibles.

St Sava Statue
St Sava Park
National Library

In 1594, Serbs rose against the Ottoman rule, during which time they carried flags with the icon of Saint Sava. The Ottomans responded by taking the sarcophagus and relics of Saint Sava and brought them to Belgrade, where they killed anyone in their path and then burned the remains on the Vracar plateau.

St Sava Front

Three hundred years later in 1895, it was proposed to build a temple to St. Sava at the place of the burning. Construction began in 1905, but was delayed by the first and second Balkan War as well as World War I & II. Construction began again in 1985 and progress has slowly continued.

St Sava Candles

Today, the church is nearly complete. The exterior is finished, though interior work continues as decoration of the walls and dome take form.

St Sava Interior
St Sava Interior Arch

The church forms a large Greek Cross. A central dome rises 80 meters with four semi-domes at each arm. The facade is white marble and granite, and the interior will be mosaics once completed. The church is one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world by volume and is the largest in Serbia.

St Sava Murals
St Sava Interior Dome

Ruzica

Outside Ruzica
Ruzica Ivy

We visited the Ruzica Church at the base of Kalemagden Fort on the Danube. The original construction is not known. The Ottomans destroyed the original church in 152, later converting it to a gunpowder magazine in the 18th century, and then converting it to a military church in 1867.

Ruzica Church
Interior of Ruzica

It was heavily damaged during the first World War, undergoing renovations in 1925. Today, the church is decorated by chandeliers built from spent casings and swords from soldiers during the first World War.

~K~

Ruzica Chandeleir
Ruzica Lawn