Eastern Serbia – Remains of ancient Roman cities
Remains of Viminacium, the capital of the Roman province Moesia Superior and legion camp, are located near the confluence of the river Mlava and the Danube , 12 km away from Pozarevac. The size and importance of Viminacium is closely connected to its convenient geographical position in the border defense system of Roman Empire and the traffic communications and commercial trade.
The most important remains of the city are located on the right bank of the river Mlava where military camps and settlement were constructed in the second half of the first century. Smaller settlements of traders and craftsmen were formed next to the camp.The settlement on the left bank of the Mlava river obtained the status of town in the first half of the second century, in the time of Emperor Hadrian, while at the time of Emperor Gordian the Third, it gained the status of the colony and the right to mint its own copper money. In the mid fifth century city was demolished by Huns and in 535 Emperor Justinian rebuilt Viminacium, including a small military fortress.
In the 19 th century traces of this settlement were still visible, wide streets making intersections under the right angle, squares, theatres, baths, water supply system and town fortification. Today most of the remains are kept in national museums of Pozarevac and Belgrade : marble sculptures, tomb plates and sarcophagi, jewelry and pottery
Golubac was built at the beginning of the 14 th century, on a high cliff on the right bank of the Danube , at the entrance of the Iron Gate (Đerdap Gorge). It is one of the best preserved medieval towns on the Serbian territory. In the year 1335, it was mentioned for the first time in the historical records. It was under the rule of prince Lazar, despot Stefan and Despot Đurđe By the end of the 15 th century it was concurred by Turks, at the end of the 17 th and the beginning of the 18 th century, it was under Austrians, after which it was again under Turkish rule, until 1867.
As the key strategic town, it has irregular layout and fortresses that follow configuration of terrain. To ensure efficient defense, the town was internally divided into several parts and nine massive towers connected by fortified walls and configured so as to enable protection from attacks from both the land and the water. In the lower part of town, on the Danube bank, there was a palace and in the upstream direction, Turks built octagonal tower to protect the west side of town and safeguard the port. Main entrance to the fortress was on the west side.
The archeological site Lepenski Vir is situated within The Iron Gate (Đerdap gorge), on the low terrace of the Danube River . That was the center of one of the most important cultures of the prehistory. The site of Lepenski Vir holds the remains of the sacral architecture from the period between 7000 and 6000 BC. All settlements of the culture of Lepenski Vir were positioned at low terraces, small and isolated because they were divided by the Danube on one side, and on another they were closed by steep slopes of surrounding hills. The architecture of Lepenski Vir has a specific style because there are neither octagonal bases nor vertical walls. Habitats in those settlements had a shape of cut part of circle with a sharp roof that lies on the base with hard floor made of broken calcite, with a big pebble positioned within, supporting stone sculptures. In the center of all settlements there was a wide square and habitats were arranged around them in regular lines.
The square was the place designated for various rituals. The shape and proportions of those habitats indicate that people who constructed Lepenski Vir must have had some knowledge of mathematics. The temples inside the settlements had the same shape as their habitats. Sculptures made of big pebbles representing human figures, were positioned around the fireplace. At the beginning only head was shaped. At later stages these sculptures would get the form of human figures, to gain the shape of real idols. Most often these would be human heads having the shape of fish or deer, while some of the discovered objects had mysterious images engraved: signs similar to coordinate system, sketches, letters, numbers or sceneries.
The archeological researches discovered 136 objects in total. Due to the start of work of hydro power plant “ Iron Gate I” the settlement Lepenski Vir was moved to a higher level to avoid flood. The museum was built on this location, and it displays most important archeological exhibits and copies of the most beautiful sculptures the originals of which have been exhibited in the National Museum of Belgrade.
To the south of Danube , close to the town of Zaječar , lie the remains of late antique fortified palaces Felix Romuliana. The palace was built between 297 and 311 A. D. after the idea of Roman Emperor Gaius Valerius Galerius Maximianus, following the design of antique palaces, the purpose of which was to provide safe home to the Roman Emperor during his lifetime, and the immortal monument of after his death.
The archaeological researches discovered remains of earlier and later fortifications, both constructed within the period of approximately ten years. The space within the fortress was divided into two parts. The complex of imperial palace with a small temple and altar was situated on the north part and on the south were objects for public purposes. The western port of Romuliana with the facade made of brick and white calcite, is one of the most grandiose works of Roman architecture.
The luxurious residence was discovered in the north-west quarter, with four great halls decorated with frescoes and floor mosaics. In the second half of the 4 th century already, Romuliana was abandoned and after attacks of Goths and Huns it was turned into a small Byzantine settlement. For the last time, the Gamzigrad palace was revived in 11 th century as the fortified Slavic settlement. After systematic archaeological researches, the remains of the palace with mosaics of extraordinary beauty, temples, public baths monumental ports were excavated. Near the palace, there is an altar where Emperor Galerius was, most probably, ceremonially cremated. Since 2007 Gamzigrad has been included in the World Cultural and Natural Heritage List of UNESCO.
Medijana - Niš
Niš is the birth place of one of the most known Roman Emperors – Constantine the Great, a man who proclaimed Christianity for official religion, by the Edict of Milan from 313 AD.
The ancient Niš was formed on the busy crossroads were the Roman military road divided into two ways: first to Constantinople and further to the east, and the other to Greece . During the reign of Constantine the Great Nis had reached major political, economic and cultural climax. This is witnessed by numerous discoveries in the suburbs of Niš known as Mediana. A Villa with Nymphaeum occupied a central place in Mediana. Remains of bath (lat. thermae) decorated with floor mosaics and wall frescoes, were found next to the villa.
During the Middle Ages, this town was ruled by Byzantium , Bulgaria and Hungary . In this town Serbian G rand Chieftain Stefan Nemanja welcomed Frederick Barbarossa, army leader in the Third Crusade.
In 1385 this town fell into the hands of Turks and remained under their rule until 1878. The Monument known as the Scull Tower is a testimony of life under the Turks. During the battle against Turks in 1809, the Serbian commander Stevan Sinđelić, having realized that Serbian army was not powerful enough to win over the mighty Turkish armada, decided to fire at his gunpowder depot killing himself and both his and Turkish soldiers. The historical records indicate that about 3000 Serbian soldiers and twice or three times more of Turkish soldiers were killed. After this battle, the Turks built a two meter tower made of Serbian sculls beside the road to Constantinople .
Spomenik prirode „Đavolja Varoš“ nalazi se na jugu Srbije.
Ovo je mesto čudnog imena i čudesnog izgleda, sa 202 zemljane piramide, pokrivene kamenim kapama koje nauka naziva andezitske kupe. Zemljane piramide, ili kako ih lokalno stanovništvo naziva “kule”, visoke su od 2 do 15 m i široke od 0,5 do 3 m. Smeštene su u dve jaruge podeljene uskom vododelnicom čiji se izvorišni delovi spajaju u jedinstvenu erozivnu čelenku, strahovito razorenu erozivnim procesima.
Jaruge takođe imaju čudne nazive: jedna je Đavolja jaruga, a druga Paklena jaruga.
Ovde je u geološkoj prošlosti, pre više miliona godina, bilo središte snažne vulkanske aktivnosti, čiji su svedok raznobojne stene na odseku erozivnog amfiteatra koji se strmo uzdiže u zaleđu zemljanih piramida.
U narodu o nastanku ovog jedinstvenog prirodnog fenomena kruži više legendi, a najpoznatija je ona koja govori da stubovi predstavljaju okamenjene svatove, koji su pratili na venčanje brata i sestru.
Nauka, pak, tvrdi da je stvaranje Đavolje varoši prouzrokovao, ne tako davno, čovek uništavajuci šumu i otvarajući put za razorno dejstvo vodene erozije. Ovako nastale zemljane stubove ostali klimatski faktori (vetar, sunčevi zraci, promena temperature i dr.) oblikuju u zemljane figure čudnog oblika i izgleda, koje kada se duže posmatraju deluju nestvarno, kako u pogledu oblika i veličine tako i neverovatne statičke postojanosti.
Druga prirodna retkost u „Đavoljoj Varoši“ su dva izvora vode specifičnih svojstava. „Đavolja voda“ koja se nalazi u neposrednoj blizini zemljanih piramida u Đavoljoj jaruzi je hladan i ekstremno kiseli (ph 1.5) izvor sa visokom mineralizacijom. Crveno vrelo“ je drugi izvor koji se nalazi nizvodno, oko 400 m od prvog na aluvijalnoj terasi, odnosno na ravnom terenu.
Nedaleko od Ðavolje varoši je i manastir svete Petke, koja datira iz doba Nemanjića, a predanje kaže da se u njemu zamonašila i majka svetog Save – Ana. Tu je i manastir svetog Nikole, a između dve jaruge, u samoj Varoši, vide se ostaci nekog crkvišta gde posetioci zastanu, pomole se Bogu i ostave prilog, mada je od nekadašnjeg hrama ostalo samo kamenje.
Prirodni spomenik Đavolja varoš ušla je u uži krug za izbor sedam novih svetskih čuda prirode, medju 170 najatraktivnijih svetskih lokacija.