Gardoš Tower – The Last Symbol of a Fallen Empire in Belgrade

Gardoš Tower in Belgrade, Serbia

Gardoš Tower is a protected historic monument and a look-out tower that is located in Belgrade’s municipality of Zemun on top of Gardoš hill overlooking the right bank of the Danube. Rising above Zemun municipality, Gardoš tower is the major historical landmark of Zemun which can be seen from all parts of the district and is one of the stops we recommend on your Belgrade tour.

Although Zemun is one of Belgrade’s districts today, Belgrade and Zemun had been two distinct settlements until the recent 1930’s when the expanding Belgrade gobbled up Zemun as one of its municipalities. The Danube river forming a natural barrier between the two settlements made Zemun physically separated from Belgrade for a long time in history and the two towns were even part of different kingdoms. Unlike Belgrade, Zemun was never under Ottoman rule so the architecture is visibly different here, typical of Central Europe which contributes to Belgrade being a colorful and diverse city that appeals to a wide audience.

Between 1867 and 1918 Zemun was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The Tower of Gardoš was officially opened in 1896, celebrating a thousand years of the Hungarian state. It was part of a massive Hungarian construction effort which included new buildings in Budapest and four so-called millennium towers on historically important places for Hungarians. Zemun was the southernmost city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Millennium Tower (or Gardoš Tower as it is known today) was built on the ruins of the medieval fortress on Gardoš hill that once belonged to the powerful Hungarian noble family of Hunyadi, famous for fighting the Turks in the 16th century.

Due to its heritage, Zemun has a distinct spirit quite different than that of Belgrade. If you walk along the Gardoš hill or the Danube Promenade you can easily think that you are in a completely different city. The Danube is, of course, still an essential part of life in this neighborhood. Some even go as far as to say that if you order fish in a restaurant here, it will jump into your plate straight from the river. (Joking, of course.) People come a long way to experience this sort of a gastronomic pleasure.

Gardoš tower in Zemun

Click to enlarge

Belgrade has Kalemegdan Fortress, but Zemun has Gardoš (pronounced Guardosh). Gardoš is smaller but seems to be more charming. Kalemegdan is full of tourists while Gardoš is more calm. It is worth a visit if you’re staying in Belgrade.

They say that the bohemian spirit of Belgrade is moving from the Old Skadarlija neighbourhood in Belgrade center to Gardoš In Zemun. The nightlife in this part of the city is definitely very diverse and special. Gardoška, the street leading up to Gardoš hill is full of different clubs and pubs where you can enjoy a wide variety of musical genres, food and drinks.

The whole area around the Tower today is a popular promenade with Zemun residents.

 

 

 

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