The fortress Kalemegdan has a very long history,
going back at least to the castrum of Roman
times; destroyed several times by successive
waves of invaders, was rebuilt as a castle by
the Byzantines in the 12th century. Under the
Serb Despot Stefan Lazarević , son of the
king Lazar , Belgrade became the capital of
the Serbian kingdom; the fortress was strengthened,
and the Despot's palace was built within the
old castle. A medieval town grew up within the
walls of the lower fort (a model is on display
on one of the upper terraces).
1912, Meštrović designed a monumental
fountain on the theme of the liberation of
Serbia from the Turks which was to have stood
at Terazije square. The center of the fountain's
basin would have contained a five-stepped
column representing five centuries of slavery
under the Turks and it was intended that the
"Victor" should stand on top of
this. After the end of World War I the project
was given up, so that in 1928 the "Victor"
was placed on a column in Kalemegdan as part
of the 10th anniversary celebration of the
breach of the Thessaloniki Front. This monument
is often used as a symbol of Belgrade.
is the most beautiful and biggest park in
Belgrade, which is also the most important
cultural and historical complex, in which
the Belgrade Fortress stands high above the
Sava and Danube confluence. The name Kalemegdan
applies only to the spacious plateau surrounding
the Fortress, which was turned into a park
in the eighties of the XIX century. When the
Fortress served as Belgrade's chief military
stronghold, the plateau was a place from which
the enemy was kept under observation and where
preparations were made for combats. Its name
derives from the Turkish words kale (field)
and megdan (battle). The Turks also called
it Fichir-bair, which means "the contemplation
planned development of Kalemegdan began in
1890, when the military authorities handed
the park over to the Belgrade civilian authorities.
The mayor of Belgrade at that time, Nikola
Pašić, approved the first credit amounting
to 10,000 dinars for the regulation of Kalemegdan.
In 1905, the park was expanded with the development
of Mali (small) Kalemegdan, which spreads
from the Cvijeta Zuzorić Art Pavilion
to the Zoo.
Before the First World War, Kalemegdan spread
to the now still existing stone stairway (leading
to the lower terrace). The ground beyond this
stairway remained completely untouched and
overgrown with weeds until 1929. In 1931, the
park expanded also to Upper Town. Monuments
to many famous cultural and public persons
were erected in the park. Kalemegdan now includes
the Military Museum, Cvijeta
Zuzorić Art Pavilion, City Institute
for Protection of Cultural Monuments,
Zoo, a children's amusement park, a large number
of sports fields, restaurants and so on.
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