Ottoman & Roman Heritage

The history of old Ottoman fortress in Serbia

Smederevo is a city in Serbia, on the right bank of the Danube, about 45 kilometres downstream of the capital Belgrade with population of 108 209 people in its administrative area. Its history starts in the 1st century BC, with the conquerings of the Roman Empire, when there existed a town called Vinceia. The modern city traces its roots back to the late Middle Ages when it was the capital (1430–1439 and 1444–1459) of the last independent Serbian state before the Ottoman conquest.

Only a few Serbian towns were built like Smederevo was. Contrary to the towns which arose from the villages and other settlements, the Despot Djuradj Brankovic built Smederevo with the intention to be the capital of Serbia. After the fall of the last Middle Age Serbian capital under the Turkish rule in 1459, the Town lost its importance.

Smederevo fortress

A medieval fortified city and temporary capital of Serbia in the Middle Ages. It was built between 1427 and 1430, on the order of Despot Djuradj Brankovic the ruler of the Serbian Despotate. It was further fortified by the Ottoman Empire, that had taken the city, in the end of the century. Smederevo is the largest medieval lowland type of fortresses in Europe. Smederevo Fortress was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979, and is protected by the Republic of Serbia. In 2010, the fortress was placed on the Tentative List for possible nomination as a World Heritage Site (UNESCO).


Viminacium was a major city (provincial capital) and military camp of the Roman province of Moesia (today's Serbia). The city dates back to the 1st century AD, and is believed that it had 40.000 habitants, and was one of the biggest cities of that time. It lies on the Roman road Via Militaris. Viminacium was devastated by Huns in the 5th century, but rebuilt by Justinian. It was completely destroyed with the arrival of Slavs in the 6th century.
The archeological contains remains of temples, streets, squares, amphitheatres, palaces, hippodromes and Roman baths.


The modern founder of the city Smederevo was the Serbian prince Đurađ Branković in the 15th century, who built Smederevo Fortress in 1430 as the new Serbian capital. Smederevo was the residence of Branković and the capital of Serbia from 1430 until 1439, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire after a siege lasting two months.