Belgrade Fortress stands on top of a cliff overlooking the confluence of the Sava and the Danube. This is the last raised ground in the Balkan Peninsula before the vast stretch of flatland of the Pannonian Basin, extending all the way to Central Europe. The Fortress controls the access to the Pannonian Basin and the navigation on the Sava and the Danube, a position of outstanding strategic importance, accounting for its role as a border fortress throughout much of its history. It served to guard the border between the Roman Empire and barbarian lands across the Danube and the border between the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, to name a few, which explains why it was so often destroyed, rebuilt and redesigned. The Romans were the first to build a fort at this site in the late 1st century as the HQ for the IV Roman Legion - Flavia Felix. Its remnants are barely visible today. Belgrade Fortress consists of the Upper Town, Lower (or Water) Town and Kalemegdan Park. The present layout of the Fortress took shape in the late 18th century, but there used to be many more buildings within its walls that had perished in different battles.
Ivan Meštrović’s masterpiece “Belgrade’s statue of the Victor” is just one part of the fountain that was planned to be the crowning jewel of Serbia’s capital. Fountain remained unfinished, and the Victor being too liberal for the eyes of war-ravaged Belgrade, was sent from a shed in Senjak, not to Terazije, but to the edges of Kalemegdan’s fortress instead, where the spirits that brought a new age upon us made it a symbol of Belgrade.
Three years before the World War I the Terazije’s Plateau was reconstructed so that between the two lanes was left enough space for a splendid fountain. City officials entrusted the construction of the fountain to the most famous Yugoslav sculptor – Ivan Mešrović. His idea was to make the commemorative drinking fountain with its central masterpiece, the Victor, which was supposed to symbolize the freedom of a five century long slavery under the Turks, and the final victory.
Kalemegdan Park is Belgrade’s birthplace. Filling much of the promontory where the Danube and Sava Rivers converge, the green sprawl was settled millenniums ago by the Celts and bears traces of many successive peoples and empires. F