Fetislam Fortress

Fetislam Fortress

On the bank of river Danube, the second largest river of Europe, lies the fotress of Fetislam. As Danube River passes through most of the central Europe along its whole course of more than 2800 km which is mostly passable, it can be said that fortess has been built on one of the largest corridors of Europe. The Danube River was often in the past border of many different countries and empires. At the beginning of the 16th century the Ottomans strengthen their control of the river by construction of the Fetislam fortress, which raised both their offensive and defensive abilities. The Fetislam Fortress was a part of larger defensive system along the Danube within a chain of fortresses: Belgrade, Smederevo, Ram, Fetislam… The precious name of the fortification is Fethislam, in Turkish Fethul Islam, which means “the Gate of Islam”, but is found in literature in various forms.
Fetislam Fortress is the most important cultural monument of the recent past built by Turks after they have conquered those territories of Serbia. The area of the present day Kladovo became part of the Ottoman Empire after the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, which ended with failure of the attempt of the Hungarian King Zigmund and the crusaders, allied with armies of France and Byzantium to decisively defeat the Ottoman army led by Sultan Bayazed, supported with the army of the Serbian despot Stefan Lazarevic. The Fetislam fort in Kladovo consists of two parts : Mali /Small/ and Veliki /Large/ town. 1524 is considered the year of construction of the fort, as the defence against Hungary and the military center for further invasion of Transylvania. Main difference between military fortification in the middle ages and the later modern era was in composition of walls, shape and usage. Because of the gunpowder, walls were built to be much thicker and lower, so that could resist the canon fire. In terms of shape, fortifications were built with many angles, in order to catch the enemy in cross fire. According to the preserved remains it can be concluded that the Small town of the Fetislam fortress had characteristics of the artillery base, which was protected with walls comprising circular towers on the angles and the loopholes within the wall. The Small Town had rectangular shape /90 x 30 m/. Beneath walls, except from the Danube side, there was the trench with two moving bridges to enter the fortress. There was the third gate within the wall which was located close to the Danube which enabled solders to escape from the fortress taking secret way and get to the boats. The Large Town as the part of the whole Fetislam fort has been built by the Turks later, during the wars between Austria and Turkey 1717-1739. Turks accomplished the construction of the fortress when they were exhausted by long wars and forced to pay attention to defend earlier occupied territories. Above the gates that led into the Fetislam Fortress there were marble plates with inscriptions that glorified the Sultan Mehmed II.
By great political initiative and activity of the Serbian prince Mihailo Obrenović, after the incident at Čukur česma, Serbian people have succeeded eventually to push out all of the Ottoman military forces from Serbia. Since then the Fetislam Fortress is in Serbian hands. As the years passed, Fetislam was constantly losing on military importance, until it became a silent monument to the ages that passed long ago…

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