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Belgrade Guide

Highlights

Belgrade under Turks

A new force was born in the east, a new Turkish state that defeated Byzantium and worried the whole cultural world. Its wish was to rule over Belgrade since it was the important point in it’s conquers towards Western Europe.

On August 6, 1456, Christian army led by Hungarian commander János Hunyadi, (Sibinjanin Janko). The fighters of priest Jan Kapistran helped him, and sultan Mohamed’s plan to conquer the cities of Western Europe and take over the old emperor’s throne failed, his forces were defeated and Belgrade was defended. After this Christian fight against the Turks, Belgrade got another attribute: the rampart of Christianity.

In 1490 sultan Bajazit II tried a trick, promising the deputies of Belgrade commander a big reward in exchange for giving away the town. This attempt of treason was discovered and punished – the main actors were put in Belgrade prison were they were starved, forced to kill, impale and eat one another. That high was the price of Belgrade’s freedom.

On 29 August 1521, Sulejman conquered and burns Belgrade, and a Christian town slowly became a Muslim town with oriental characteristics downtown, numerous mosques, (drinking) fountains, turbeh, Turkish baths, stores, market places and developed commercial life. Old courts and towers were destroyed; the glory of aristocratic life was gone since the Serbian aristocracy disappeared, cultural heritage, churches and monasteries damaged, and Serbs from Belgrade were forced to move to Carigrad (Istanbul) were one can even today find the monuments of our past. That was the first migration of Serbs.

Turkish author of travels, Evliya Çelebi describes Belgrade’s reinforced fortress: it had double ramparts, with the total of 11 towers and 5060 cogs, divided into Upper (inner) town - with four lines of ramparts decorated with four iron gates, a fortress surrounded with five “sky-high” towers – and the Lower town.

The end of 13th century was particularly difficult for the Turkish Empire – janissaries (young Christians turned into Muslims, forming the base of the Turkish army) rebelled, robbed Turkish courts and threatened the sultan himself. This weaken empire was attacked by the forces of Holly Association (Austria, Poland and Venice, later on to be accompanied by Russia under the leadership of czar Peter the Great) and this resulted in many robberies and killings of population, and a two-year long Austrian rule over Belgrade that started in 1688. During the second great migration in 1690, Serbian population moved to a far away place on the Danube, to St. Andrea, and it became an important shelter for the Serbian people, its highest church dignitary (the patriarch Arsenije) and relics.

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