A Serbian Sojourn Day 4: Smederevo Fortress, Manasija Monastery and onwards to Niš ©Sangeeta Venkatesh

Day 4 was an interesting day with four stops with the Smederevo Fortress being the first one.

View of the River Danube from the Smederevo Fortress

Smederevo Fortress: An hour’s drive from Belgrade brought us to the Smederevo Fortress.The town began life as a small Roman settlement. In 1428, after the loss of Belgrade to Hungarians the previous year and under the pressure of the Ottomans, Despot Ðurađ Branković selected Smederevo as the national capital and set about constructing this massive riverside fortress to secure himself against attack.  This is now Smederevo’s key attraction. The fort’s distinctive Byzantine style of layered red brick and stone is thought to be chosen by Brankovic’s wife Jerina, who oversaw much of the construction, while her husband was running the country. The fortress is by the River Danube and River Jezava. We took about 45 minutes to leisurely explore the fort and take pictures at every corner possible before we headed to the Manasija Monastery.

Manasija Monastery, Despotovac: The next stop was the Manasija Monastery, which is also known as Resava. It is located in the Resava river gorge, about 135km south-east of Belgrade. The entire area emanated a certain peace, but it was not always like that.

It is in the ‘tentative list’ of the UNESCO, World Heritage Centre (Cultural). As a benefaction of Despot Stefan Lazarević, the monastery was built in the hard times after the Battle at Kosovo (1389) and its construction lasted from 1406 to 1418. The Monastery is dedicated to the Holy Trinity and stands protected by the massive walls with eleven trenches and towers. This was necessary, as the monastery was looted and damaged by the Turks many times. This Serbian Orthodox church has some beautiful frescoes inside, though many have sadly been destroyed.  Architecturally the monastery belongs to the ‘Morava School’.

The dormitories for the monks in the background

Lunch at Veliki Vrelo and Veliki Buk waterfalls, Stromsten: After the visit at the Manasija Monastery, Nikola, our guide took us for lunch at an absolutely delightful place, which seemed like middle of nowhere with streams, wooded patches, waterfalls. We wandered around just soaking in the ambience. We also saw that the wheat flour was being ground right in the premises. The lunch was delicious and sitting amongst such verdant surroundings and a waterfall just made the experience so special. I have also attached a video for your viewing pleasure!

After lunch, it was time to drive down to Niš and stay overnight at the Ambassador Hotel while exploring the city by night. More on that in my next!

More about the Serbian Sojourn can be found in the following links. Do subscribe/share/give the article a like and look forward to hearing from you.

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