By David A Norris
Perched above the confluence of 2 nice rivers, the Sava and Danube, Belgrade has been domestic to many civilizations: Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Bulgars, Magyars, Ottomans and Serbs. A Turkish fort, the point of interest for a Serbian principality, an highbrow and inventive heart, the town grew until eventually it turned capital of Yugoslavia. Now it really is one of many biggest towns in south-eastern Europe and capital of the Republic of Serbia. regardless of many demanding situations, Belgrade has resisted assimilation and created a different cultural identification out of its many contrasting facets, occasionally with mind-blowing results.
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Extra resources for Belgrade: A Cultural History (Cityscapes)
In early 1717 Edward Wortley Montagu arrived in Belgrade on his way overland to take up the post of Ambassador to the Court of Turkey. He was accompanied by his wife, Lady Mary, whose correspondence tells a great deal about daily life in the Ottoman Empire. ” The English visitors, escorted into Belgrade by the pasha’s guard, were impressed by the fortifications of Kalemegdan, not knowing that it would soon fall to the Habsburgs before the year was out. Lady Mary’s letter confirms that this was an Ottoman city dominated by a cultured and sophisticated ruling class: In the meantime, we are lodged in one of the best houses, belonging to a very considerable man amongst them, and have a whole chamber of janissaries to guard us.
Gavro Škrivanić of Belgrade’s Historical Institute, writing in An Historical Geography of the Balkans, comments on this development: “Konstantinopolis emerged from the old Greek town of Byzantium and was built under Constantine the Great in AD 330 and proclaimed as the capital of the Roman Empire. ” This rival to Rome is better known to the Serbs as Byzantium or Carigrad (City of the Tsar or Emperor); it was later renamed Istanbul after it fell to the Ottoman Empire. The Roman Empire effectively became two units: a western entity based on the power and the glory of Rome, and an eastern section administered by the new city.
The division was not complete until the Great Schism of 1054 when the leaders of the Church, the Bishop of Rome and the Patriarch in Byzantium, excommunicated one another, thus paving the way for the emergence of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The political and administrative arrangements for the initial partition of the empire led to a weakening of its defences, and Singidunum’s years of Pax Romana came to an end. The city was sacked by Goths in 378 and then again at the hands of Attila the Hun in 441.