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Discover some interesting facts about Belgrade, capital of Serbia

The rocky hill at the junction of two mighty European rivers, Danube and Sava, was perfect for establishing the city. Over the centuries, the city has changed many residents and lords, its appearance and size, but never its dominant position. Its walls would whitewash newcomers from the river, which is why it eventually received the name Beograd (Serbian translation: a white city). The traveler sailing under the walls of Belgrade from distant lands would be amazed at its sturdy fortress, the height of the tower and the symmetry of the castle on the top of the hill. Driven by the river breeze, gliding alongside the city, new buildings, streets and squares, a ship would finally find peace in one of the city ports. And the traveler we call a tourist today could see on the ship’s calendar that the year is 1403, the beginning of the 15th century. That year, for the first time, Belgrade became the capital of Serbia. At that time, the despot Stefan, son of Prince Lazar, was the lord of Serbia. Searching for a place to establish the capital of Serbia in the far north, using skillful diplomatic negotiations, he succeeded in acquiring Belgrade from the Hungarians. It took him only 23 years to turn a completely devastated and deserted area into a shiny new city. In the Letter issued in the city, the despot Stefan wrote: I have found the most beautiful place since time immemorial, the great city of Belgrade, which is sometimes ruined and deserted. I picked it up and dedicated it to the Blessed Virgin.

As an educated and sophisticated man, the author of the most beautiful lines of ancient Serbian literature, and an avid reader, the despot Stefan primarily wanted to make Belgrade an economic, cultural and religious center of the country.

With many significant economic benefits written on the Charter, which had a gold seal with the image of the city, the Despot Stefan has attracted many merchants, artisans and other residents, both from himself and from other countries. Desiring to provide a safe stay for all newcomers to the city, the despot Stefan first restored the old fortifications, defensive towers and ramparts.

Stefan then built “Gornji grad” (the upper city) and a palace complex as a separate entity protected by a mighty tower, called Nebojsa, and a gate with a movable bridge. There he lived with his family and other nobles.

However, city life took place in the lower city, where the thrust of commerce and crafts through the Despot reductions was so overwhelming that the city increased tenfold. Apart from Serbian merchants, Belgrade was inhabited and visited largely by the citizens of Dubrovnik and Hungarians, and a smaller number of French, Italians, Venetians, and others. In current terms, it could be concluded that, among other things, Belgrade was a fairly developed tourist city where people shopped. The Belgrade market offer was rich and varied. Most of the exported goods were minerals, lead, copper, mercury and precious metals, silver and gold. Leather, wax and cheese followed. Salt, spices, sweets, expensive fabrics, clothing, and jewelry pearls were imported. This means that the purchasing power of the citizens of Belgrade was at a high level as there was such a demand for luxury items. In such a richly populated city there was a religious seat of the Serbian state, a seat of the Belgrade metropolitan. For this the despot builds the metropolitan church “Uspenije preciste Vladicice”, on the east side of the city in a spacious garden decorated with various plantations. In addition to this, there were several churches and even a Catholic diocese used by foreigners.

Belgrade achieved development of this type thanks to a peaceful period and the skillful and wise policy of the Despot Stefan, so that the many towers and walls did not have to serve to drive away the enemies. Travelers from various places, east and west, north and south, could safely visit the capital of Serbia.

Belgrade received them warmly and they would have a nice memory of it. Belgrade is still such a city, hospitable and friendly. So visit Belgrade, a city that became the capital of Serbia 600 years ago for the first time, and to this day remains a cultural, economic and tourist center.

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