Article metrics

  • citations in SCindeks: [2]
  • citations in CrossRef:0
  • citations in Google Scholar:[=>]
  • visits in previous 30 days:0
  • full-text downloads in 30 days:0
article: 9 from 11  
Back back to result list
2008, iss. 9, pp. 89-103
article language: Serbian
document type: Historical Item
published on: 14/01/2009
New finds about Upper city Southeastern ramparts


In the fortification system of the Belgrade Fort, the Southeastern Ramparts of the Upper City played a significant part since it ran along the most accessible side of the fortified city. The area along the Southeastern Ramparts and its structure have been investigated several times. The research process tested previous finds, sometimes confirming and expanding, sometimes disproving them. The paper deals with the finds of the study of Tower V uncovered during investigation conducted in 2007, through which we gained more knowledge about the Upper City Southeastern Ramparts, causing us to review and in part change some earlier conclusions. After the removal of the bulwark, the basis of the Tower V became clearly defined, revealing that its front at the level of the uncovered remains was flat, disproving earlier assumptions that it was semicircular. Therefore it can be concluded that the Tower was rectangular, almost square in plan and open to the inside city. The outer front was 9.20 m (about 30 feet) in length, 8.30m long sides and the interior space of 5.00 by 2.70 m. The front and the side walls of the tower were between 3.20 and 3.30 meters, that is, somewhat over 10 feet, thick. As it was observed during earlier research, Tower V was subsequently built into the existing ramparts, which was cut in that section, while part of its wall mass remained in the interior of the tower (fig. 1-3). The eastern side of the tower to cote 125.00 is preserved better than the rest; observable are the remains floor rafter beds. On the basis of the finds of recent studies of the Tower V, along with earlier results of archeological digging conducted on the remains of the Tower VI (fig. 4-5), present body of knowledge can be extended concerning the appearance and the stages of construction of the medieval Southeastern Ramparts of the Upper City, with certain corrections of previously held views. As already pointed out in our papers, the new fortification of the Upper City was in its entirety constructed in the first decades of the XV century, during the reign of despot Stefan Lazarević. It was encircled with the system of double ramparts comprising the main inside wall curtain, about 7 m in height, to the level of the walking path, and the outer lower ramparts with the slanting rock escarp. Between the two ramparts ran a concealed road over which the outer ramparts had only a wall with battlements. In front of the ramparts, from the accessible land side in the east, there was a deep trench with masonry built contra-escarp. The foundations of the new upper-city ramparts were dug into older medieval layers, and even deeper, to the layers from the Roman and late Roman periods. Such stratigraphic situation was recorded at all studied areas, including the recent research in the interior of the Tower V. In its final form, the Southeastern Ramparts had eight towers, counting in the corner Tower XI at the join with the Northeastern Ramparts, which the two defensive curtain walls share (fig. 6). During earlier research it was concluded that not all the towers of the ramparts were constructed at the same time. Apart from corner towers, the Tower XI and most probably the Tower VII, concurrently with the main ramparts was built only the Tower IV by the Southern Gate which by the shape of its plan and the manner of construction was analogous with the Tower IX. The results of partial research give rise to the conclusion that the remaining towers were erected subsequently, but soon after the completion of the main ramparts, certainly before 1427. In the monograph Belgrade Fort (Belgrade 1982) we made an assumption that the additional towers, varying in dimensions and in floor plans were erected in two stages. We suggested that towers II, III and V were constructed at the same time, while towers I and VI are somewhat younger, dating from the same period as the lower-city towers at the Northeastern Ramparts, that is, from the third decade of the XV century. Finds from the recent research of the Tower V call for certain modification of earlier assumptions concerning the subsequent construction of the above towers. It was established that Towers V and VI are the same in terms of construction and size. They were also built into the main ramparts in the same manner, that is, the wall was partially cut into at that section, partially remaining in the interior of the towers. The foundation of the Tower V runs deep to the rock bed; it seems that the same applies to the Tower VI. In both towers the lower end of the foundations was dug into the foundation trench, while the higher part was roughly built and rendered. The leveling of the interior floor of the towers and filling in of the foundations was done with fine builder's rubble from the pulled down portion of the ramparts; it was done immediately upon the completion of the construction. This is clearly visible on roughly rendered surfaces covered with mortar made with the rubble from the ramparts. It is worth noting that in both towers, in the rubble used for leveling, or on its upper surface at the floor level, numerous finds of sgraffito ceramics were made datable to the early XV century. By the shape of their bases and in part by their dimensions, the upper-city Towers V and VI match the lower-city towers III and IV at the Northeastern Ramparts, approximately dated to the third decade of the XV century, before the year 1427. They all have rectangular plans with flat fronts 9 to 9.4 m in length, that is, about 30 feet. The length of the side walls in lower-city towers is 5 to 5.20 m, that is, about 17 feet, while in somewhat more massive towers V and VI it is about 20 feet. Certain minor discrepancies are more discernible in the dimensions of the inside space and the thickness of the ramparts (fig. 7). Finally, a few remarks are in order about the possible former appearance of the upper-city Tower V. In our earlier considerations, illustrated with ideal reconstructions, this tower was always imagined with a semicircular front. The assumption was based on the data in the plans dating from the period 1688 - 1693. However, recent research has shown that the lower part of the tower, preserved in the front to the height of about 1 m from the floor cote, had a flat front. In addition, its basis at that level closely matches that of the Tower VI, for which it has been established that had a flat front along the whole of its height, giving us reason to believe that the same was the case with the Tower V. The same applies to the mentioned analogous lower-city towers III-VI. However, if we closely examine structural characteristics of the better preserved uppercity towers IV and IX, the conclusions drawn could become relative. Namely, the neighbouring Tower IV by the Southern Gate, constructed together with the main ramparts, in its lower part, up to the height of 2 m from the floor level, also had a flat front of the same length as the Tower V - about 30 feet. The same is the case with the corner Tower IX by the Eastern Gate. In this context, we cannot rule out the possibility that the Tower V also had a semicircular front in its higher portion. Such shape of the tower better suited withstand the attack from siege weaponry was known since ancient times; however, it was rare in Serbian medieval military architecture where flat fronted towers predominate. The appearance of Belgrade towers with semicircular front, constructed during the reign of despot Stefan Lazarević present an improvement in the development of Serbian military building construction. However, subsequently erected large fortifications in Manasija and Smederevo did not follow suit. For example, out of 25 towers of the Smederevo city, only two had semicircular fronts - both within the Danube Ramparts, facing the part from which siege weaponry could not have been used. This phenomenon which does not lend itself to simple explanations is closely related to our study of the Towers V and VI, and requires further investigation within the general framework of the development of Serbian military equipment in the Middle Ages.


Bikić, V., Ivanišević, V.M. (1996) Prostor oko južne kapije Gornjeg grada Beogradske tvrđave. Starinar, br. 47, str. 253-271
Bikić, V.M. (1994) Srednjovekovna keramika Beograda. Beograd: Arheološki institut
Ivanović, A. (1995) Južna kapija beogradskog Gornjeg Grada. Godišnjak grada Beograda, XLII, 17-45
Jeremić, M. (1997) L'evolution du format des briques sur le territoire de la Serbie de l'antiqute au moyen age. in: Melanges de L'Ecole francaise de Rome - Moyen age, 109, 7-20
Popović, M. (1989) Utvrđenja Moravske Srbije. in: Sveti knez Lazar, Spomenica o šestoj stogodišnjici Kosovskog boja 1389-1989, Beograd
Popović, M. (1973) Jugoistočni bedem Gornjeg grada. Arheološki pregled, 15 89-91
Popović, M. (1982) Beogradska tvrđava. Beograd: Arheološki institut SANU
Popović, M. (2000) Južna kapija Gornjeg grada Beogradske tvrđave. Saopštenja, Republički zavod za zaštitu spomenika kulture, Beograd, XXX-XXXI, 71-96
Popović, M. (2006) Kompleks Sahat kapije. Nasleđe, br. 7, str. 9-36
Popović, M., Ilijić, G. (2008) Jugoistočni bedem Beogradske tvrđave - rezultati dopunskih istraživanja. Glasnik Društva konzervatora Srbije, Beograd, 32, 77-78
Popović, M. (1972) Jugoistočni bedem Gornjeg grada. Arheološki pregled, 14 134-137
Popović, P. (1930) Spomenica petstogodišnjice Smederevskog grada. Beograd