Petrovaradin Fortress Novi Sad

Petrovaradin Fortress Novi Sad

Petrovaradin Fortress is immovable monument of culture of large significance located on the highly strategic Petrovaradin inaccessable cliff, high above the right bank of the Danube River in Novi Sad, encircled with high defensive walls with steep sections. Petrovaradin Fortress is surely the most recognizable symbol of Novi Sad and one of the best preserved fortifications in Europe. The Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad has been constructed by the Austria-Hungarians in order to make excellent defense point and unconquerable stronghold of the town of Novi Sad from Turkish occupation. The Upper Town of the Petrovaradin Fortress is dominated by the Clock Tower which is famous for it hands –  the large hand shows hours and the small one shows minutes, making the memorable and recognizable feature of Novi Sad.

The present day Petrovaradin Fortress was built from 1692 to 1780 during the reign of the Austrian rulers Leopold I, Joseph I, Carl VI, Maria Theresa and Joseph II on the place of the former settlement that dates back to the prehistoric era. Archaeological excavations in the Upper Town of the Petrovaradin Fortress foundations have proved and documented human settlements dating back to the Middle Paleolithic – Early Stone Age (about 60.000-90.000 BC), and from the Neolithic – Late Stone Age (4.200 to 3.200 BC), as well as especially significant Eneolithic era of the Copper and the Bronze Age (about 3.200 to 1.700 BC), the period of discovered earth fortification with wooden palisades /Late Bronze era/. With this new development it has been established that there has been a continuous human settlement at this site from the Paleolithic age to the present. During the archaeological research excavations in Petrovaradin Fortress carried out in 2005, archaeologists also discovered another significant find. Examining remains from the early Bronze age (c. 3000 BC), ramparts were discovered which testify that already at that time a fortified settlement existed at the Petrovaradin site. On the site of the Petrovaradin Fortress was Celtic settlement in 100 BC invaded by Romans who constructed here Kuzum /Cusum/ Fortification. This fort was destroyed by Huns in the 5th century, to be rebuilt by Byzantines as the Petrikon Fortification. The first appearance of the present-day Petrovaradin fortification comes from 1235 when Hungarian King Bela IV let Catholic monks Cistercians to build its Belakut Abbey on the remains of the Cusum. During the invasion of Tatars, monks succeeded in defending by this fortification. Recently during the reconstruction works on the infrastructure of the Petrovaradin Fortress, remains of settlement and the church from this period have been found. Construction of the present day Petrovaradin Fortress was initiated by the Austro-hungarians in order to protect themselves from invading Turks. Its initiator and creative constructor was marquees Sebastian Voban, French military officer, architect and writer from the period of Louis XIV. The Petrovaradin Fortress dates from the periods of the Habsburg Family of the Austrian emperors – Leopold I, Joseph I, Karlo VI, Maria Teresa and Joseph II on the place of former fortification at the inaccessible bank of the Danube River. Petrovaradin Fortress was constructed under Turkish occupation from 1683 until 1699 and after the Peace-Treaty of Karlovci was signed in 1699, the Austro-Hungarians entered the town and started building the new fortress. “The Clock Tower is located in the most dominating place of the Petrovaradin Fortress, so-called Ludwig Bastion, probably named after Ludwig of Baden who carried out some reconstruction works in 1691 on the old-earlier fortification after the Turks were expelled from it. Originally there was on the same place the earlier smaller Clock Tower in 1701-1702 which was demolished during finalization of the reconstruction works and the whole stronghold /1753-1776/ when on the same spot a new Clock Tower hasbeen built.” Novi Sad, Price iz proslosti, Zoran Knežev

“Controversial data regarding the origin of the Petrovaradin Fortress design and its authorship have surrounded this aspect of the fortress history for many years, ranging from scientific, popular, unofficial and colloquial accounts to legends and myths retold persistently enough to enter even the official sources. There are numerous copies of the plans of the Petrovaradin fortress (over 200 in the Austrian State Archive) based on the built state of works, or done for a particular stage in the reconstruction, but the original conceptual blueprint is unknown. The story of the Petrovaradin Fortress invariably brings up the name of Sebastien le Prestre de Vauban (1633–1707) who gained great fame by improving fortification systems and significantly contributed to the development of fortress construction techniques, which remained dominant and admired until the twentieth century….. ‘Gibraltar on the Danube’, as the Petrovaradin Fortress is often called is the largest and best preserved building out of 284 fortifications in Serbia (comprising some forty fortresses and preserved fortified towers and monasteries) (Deroko 1964)…. Hungarian archbishop Petar Varadi, after whom both the fortress and the locality were named, invested a lot of effort and in 1501 restored the remains of the former fortification, which was recaptured in 1526 by the Turkish army under the command of Suleiman the Magnificent. Petrovaradin remained under Turkish rule until 1688, when the army of the Austrian Empire seized the fort….. The construction started in the southern side of the Upper Fortress, where the first of many bastions was built upon the orders from the Habsburg emperor Leopold I (the Leopold’s Bastion) into which a large amount of material from the medieval fortress was built….. At the end of the eighteenth century, battles for this fortification, as well as for the others in the north of the Balkan Peninsula, ceased. When underground corridors and some smaller buildings were finished in 1780, the Fortress acquired its final appearance, which has been preserved till today….. Using this concept of ideal geometry, the designers of star fortresses developed a regular polygonal urban matrix of an ‘ideal city’, adding to it the ‘halo’ in the shape of single (or multiple) star-shaped polygons (most frequently identical, scaled and rotated). The newly obtained star was not the result of the stellation of the initial polygons, but rather a complex polygon created by adding equilateral triangles onto the sides of the basic polygon, which was accompanied by radial distribution of outworks, appropriate number of counterguards, ravelings, redoubts, etc., designed in accordance with the rules of defense and needs of such a fortification. The angular geometry of the bastion fits perfectly into the star-shaped form that enveloped the central polygonal core of the fortification….. The design of the fortress, created by the military engineers Keyserfeld, Marsigli, Wamberg, and Gisenbir—all of whom, unfortunately, are less famous than Vauban—is a compilation of various influences, which were modern at the end of the seventeenth into eighteenth and throughout the eighteenth century, having proven effective in the military engineering of Middle Europe. In its current state it is an impressive example of the traditional European style of fortification planning and construction that was dominant in seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and was developed under a resounding influence of the French, Italian and Flemish schools of military architecture. Due to gradual, evolutionary building interventions over a long period of time, the fortress acquired its actual form in the year 1780, which coincides with the end of the reign of Maria Theresa when the last phase of the construction of the complex of buildings on the right bank of the Danube was completed”. Are Vauban’s Geometrical Principles Applied in the Petrovaradin Fortress? Marija Obradovic and Slobodan Misic

The first project of the Petrovaradin Fortress was completed at the beginning of 1692 by Matijas Kajzersfeld (Matthias von Kaysersfeld). After his death in conquest of Belgrade in 1693 designing works were performed by Mihael de Vamberg (Michael de Wamberg) who died in Petrovaradin in 1703. He was replaced by Kaspar Derk (Caspar Dörck) who also died in 1711 in Petrovaradin during construction works. Until 1728 when he left to Belgrade the construction of the Petrovaradin fortress was conducted by Gisenbir (Gießenbier) with the civil engineer Majksner (Meixner) and plans of de Venc (de Wentz). After surrender of Belgrade in 1739 and only in the middle of the 18th century there was again attention paid to Petrovaradin fortress project development. In the beginning of the second phase of reconstruction of the Petrovaradin Fortress its designer Isaak Steiger died also here. He was substituted by engineers and constrctors Anton Keten (Ketten), Peter Bulanžer (Boulanger), Georg Tomerlin, Leopold Lajtin (Laitin), Franc Grubert (Franz Grubert)… Among famous military engineers of that time who visited the Petrovaradin fortress was fon Bon (Paul Ferdinand von Bohn), fon Rosenfeld (Wenzel Pawlowski von Rosenfeld) and de Kverlond (Claude-Benoit Duhamel de Querlonde). It was also fon Šreder (Albrecht Heinrich von Schröder) and Mikovini (Ludwig Mikowiny von Brzesnobanya) who developed the existing project with extension of counter mining system which was used for military campaign in the last Austrian-Turkish war (1788–1791). At the end of construction the Petrovaradin fortress covered 120 hectares. It contained the Upper town, the Hornverk, the water part, the Island stronghold on the Large War Island and the bridgehead on the left bank of the Danube River. The immediate surroundings of the fortified complex was under control of military authorities of so called esplanades (Fr. esplanade) that spread on some 1000 hectares. It directly impacted the spatial plans of Novi Sad until the first years after the First World War that actually spread on the left side of the river after destruction of the bridgehead. Existence of numerous military engineers during this long period undoubtedly had great impact on the architecture of the Petrovaradin fortress which needed to provide large number of soldiers, ammunition, armors and supplies. Structures for keeping ammunition and life supplies likewise spaces for accommodation of wounded and ill soldiers were constructed on the safe distance from the most endangered part of the fortress. In peace times the garrison of the Petrovaradin Fortress contained some 2500 soldiers of artillery, infantry, cavalry and engineers among whom were grenadiers, miners, commanders and supplier staff. In war times this number used to reach up to 10000 soldiers including free shooting staff who were actually free citizens with obligation to serve artillery during besiege. The military doctrine meant that the garrison number was determined according to number of bastions of a fortress – some 450 to 500 soldiers per a bastion. Due to a number of conditions the Petrovaradin Fortress managed to retain until today the most of its previous system, not only the bastion complex and fronts, but nearly all elements and structures that were built in front and behind its original walls, as well as structures above and beneath the surface in the counter mining system”. Izvor Moja Tvrđava Nenad Šeguljev

In Petrovaradin area, on the Vezirac Hill the famous Petrovaradin Battle between the Turkish and the Austro-Hungarian forces took place in 1716 in which Turks were heavily defeated and for good expelled south of Sava and Danube Rivers. During the course of time the Fortress of Petrovaradin god the name of „Gibraltar on the Danube” because of its premium position and great importance. At the Petrovaradin Fortress there are: Academy of Art, City Museum of Novi Sad, numerous restaurants and bars, the Leopold Hotel, ateliers, galleries, souvenir shops… For art lovers there is great opportunity to visit the Artistic Atelier of Dragan Kurucic, who provides introduction into the art of photography, as per announcement of visit-workshop. The most amazing attraction of the Petrovaradin Fortress are the underground military galleries of the City Museum of Novi Sad, created on the four underground levels, that are 16 km long. Visit route is something less than 1 km and provides visitors real impression on this huge stronghold.

Every year the Petrovaradin Fortress becomes State of festival Exit. Gallery “Atelier 61” is the unique artistic tapestry workshop situated on the Upper part of Petrovaradin Fortress. It is one of the rare world tapestry centers where the art of tapestry is cultivated, preserved and promoted. There are approximately 200 valuable art pieces exposed i Gallery “Atelje 61”. Since its founding in 1961 until now over 800 tapestry pieces were finished here in the special hand-weaving techniques.

Special Serbia Tour

Enchanting Balkan Tour

Serbia and West Bulgaria Balkan Tour

Fruska Gora and Belgrade 1