Golubac Fortress: if I had known…

The Danube is an amazing river that is the most interesting in Serbia. First it spills through Vojvodina and just when you think it can’t be bigger, you arrive in front of Golubac where it turns into the sea and reaches its greatest width…

The distance of Golubac Fortress from Belgrade is exactly 131 km.

Golubac Fortress

If you are coming from other places, you can calculate the distance and the best route here.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

And as if the drama is not enough, it suddenly narrows and as if through the ears of a needle, all that force passes through the Djerdap gorge where the Danube reaches its greatest depth. At the entrance to the gorge, there is the Golubac Fortress, which defiantly announces to the shipowners that problems are occurring.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

The fortress is designed as an adrenaline playground for all walkers. There are several trails marked with different colors according to the degree of difficulty.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

The ticket price also depends on that. When something is inaccessible, there should be an inscription: IT IS FREE FOR THE DISABLED. That then means you can just turn around and walk away. However, there is no such inscription here either. Ticket prices, as well as working hours, can be found here.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

The burek I ate while coming here was already starting to stir in my stomach. OK, I am undesirable here but the surroundings are beautiful, the Danube is powerful, I will find a way to enjoy my stay here.

Golubac fortress Serbia travelThe origin of the fortress

It is not known who built it or when. It was first mentioned in 1335 as a Hungarian fortress and until then it changed owners frequently.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

Due to its exceptional strategical position, the following fought to obtain it: King Dragutin, Sultan Bajazit, despot Stefan Lazarevic, Hungarian King Sigmund, even the Polish knight Zavisa Black… and so on until 1867, when the Turks handed it over to Prince Mihailo. You can find more about this in the visitor center.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

He who controls the fortress, also controls navigation on the Danube. It is made very wisely, on three sides it is impenetrable and on the fourth it is protected by trenches filled with water. Ten towers protected three inner courtyards. It was impenetrable in its time, but modern technology ended that when the road through its center was broken due to the rising Danube.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

Today, that road has been moved again and now nothing stops the tourists from enjoying the fortress.


Legends of the fortress

According to one, the wife of the Turkish sultan fell in love with a local young man and her husband first locked her in the “hat tower”, which is so named because of its specific appearance, where she was accompanied only by pigeons whom she talked to and fed.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

Since she did not want to repent, her husband took her by boat on the water to the rock and chained her there. The people called that rock Baba kaj because the sultan kept repeating those words to her. Everyone, knowing the story, thought that he was repeating the words ‘repent’ to her, but ‘baba’ in Turkish means father and ‘kaj’ a rock. Even today, a large number of pigeons land on this rock, which the locals see as a sign that the legend is certainly true. At that time, gender equality was a foreign concept…

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

The real truth will never be known, but what is known for sure is that a commander-in-chief stayed in the Hat Tower, because the best view of the invaders is from there. At one point, a stubborn commander hid in that tower during a siege. The tower was impenetrable and he could have lasted a long time had they not cut the chain for a bucket which he used to draw water.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

How was the war fought?

At that time, the best strategy was an all out attack, but only the strategy of long sieges to exhaust the opponent could be used on Golubac.

The Golubac fortress was conquered by negotiations and not by force because it was invincible.

How did they eat in Golubac fortress?

During the siege, the knights ate fast food of the Middle Ages on both sides, and that was the crucifix bread or panforte.

It looks like bonjit made of dried fruit, cereals, almonds and hazelnuts with the addition of cinnamon, cloves, honey. It could last for six months and was eaten by soaking in wine.

While the knights were beating each other, the noblemen ate meat exclusively on a spit. The nobles never ate rabbit meat because it was humiliating for them. We also ate thick Danube fish, which was extremely appreciated and expensive at the markets in Constantinople, also lamb in milk and St. Mark’s pig. The name of this dish comes from the legend according to which the Venetians transferred the relics of St. Mark in pig skin with the famous mixture of pepper, cloves and cinnamon, a mixture extremely popular in the Middle Ages. Mljac!

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

Meat had to be eaten with various breads because even the Romans considered all those who did not consume bread to be savages. The best bread of that time was made from a mixture of cereals with toppings, so rich that it was a meal in itself. Everything was brought to the table at the same time.

How did people live?

I read somewhere that fortresses and castles were always cold and in summer they smelled horribly. They didn’t put much effort into it. That is why the floors in such castles were sprinkled with dried grass to reduce the stench at least a little. Even if you are under siege, who cares about hygiene.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

How did I experience the fortress?

But if it rains, it can last a long time. The rain followed us everywhere that day.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

Cloudy weather usually means less crowds. And really, while we were there, only one bus appeared with cheerful students who are interested in Golubac as much as I am in car racing.

Heh, heh! I used to be young too…

The children are usually followed by their teachers with an expression of boredom on their faces. This was probably their n-th time coming here…

Is the fortress accessible?

What I expected was waiting for me. The fortress is not accessible for wheelchair users, but the Danube is so beautiful in this place that I don’t care that I couldn’t enter, although I’m a little tired of writing the sentence DISABLED STOP. I’m not just talking about the fortress. It was built in dark times when we disabled people were probably thrown from the top of the tower, but today when so much is possible…

What can I say…

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

That is why one should indulge in good food, because I have absolute control there. This walk can only be completed in one way. Thick Danube fish and delicious fish soup in one of the many restaurants.

Golubac fortress Serbia travel

Have you visited Golubac Fortress?
Did I miss something?

Traveled and enjoyed,
Marko Veličković

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