Friday, July 06, 2007

Golubac Fortress

At the entrance to Đerdap Gorge/National Park is the fortress Golubac. We had just seen the widest part of the Danube, which looked more like a lake than a river. Now the river narrowed into what is known as the Iron Gates, which is Serbian for Đerdap. This is the largest river gorge in Europe. It was here that a fortress was built in the 14th century, becoming the most valuable fort on the Danube. Although one could see the fortress consisting of nine towers arranged above each other with an irregular base hugging the steep terrain, the view would have been even more spectacular from a boat on the Danube. Also seen were the remains of a palace near the river and a low, polygonal tower built by the Turks to strengthen the town against firearms. This part jutted into the river, perhaps because of the dams.

Like nearly all of Serbia’s important monuments, Golubac also fell to the Turks. The first time was after the battle of Kosovo in 1389, followed by 25 years back in Serbian hands, and then reverted back to the Turks in 1458. The fort was used for military purposes, but lost much of its defensive strength in the 19th century due to the rise of fire power. After taking some photos, we drove through the rather narrow gate and out to the other side of the fort.

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