Smederevo is a town on the Danube banks in north-east Serbia. It is on the border line between the flatland area of the Pannonia basin and Šumadija, it is a meeting point of the Danube regiona and the Lower Morava region. The town lies just before the Velika Morava and the Danube confluence.
There are various theories about the origin of the name Smederevo – that it comes from the words smet (snow bank) and drevo (tree, wood) or from a mediaeval name Smender, that it actually derives from the name of St Andrew, that it is corrupt version of eis monte aureo (a golden hill), that it is a translation of a Persian name Semender, the far-end door, …
RELIGION AND TRADITION
The remains of St Luke the Evangellist used to be kept in the Smederevo Fortress.
The first renown Serbian composer lived in the 14th century Smederevo. Scribe trade flourished, but 24 manuscript books from Smederevo were destroyed when the National Library of Belgrade was bombarded in 1941.
In the Roman times, the Smederevo region used to be the centre of wine making, while today it is an industrial city with companies like US Steel, an erstwhile Železara Smederevo (iron works). Smederevo has the population of 62,000.
In the Roman times there were two fortifications there – the Mons Aureus (Golden Hill) and Vincea (Ćirilovac), a section of the Roman military border. Middle Ages was a golden era for Smederevo, when it became the capital of Despot Đurađ Branković’s Serbia, when Belgrade was given back to Hungary in 1427. Here Despot built a fortress, the greatest flatland fortification in Europe at the time. Here was the Despot’s court where people lived in luxury and art was flourishing. Smederevo fell under the Ottoman Turks in 1439, but a few years later it was recovered. The second fall of Smederevo was in 1459, marking the final fall of Serbia under the Turkish rule.
During the period of the First Serbian Uprise, once again Smederevo became the capital city – in 1805 the first school was opened and the Praviteljstvujušči sovjet (the government) established. In the First World War, between 1914-1915, Austrians bombarded the fortress, using cannons called the Big Bertha and at the beginning of the Second World War, the town was severely damaged from when ammunition storage blew up in the fortress. Its final destruction was in 1944, when the Allied Forces bombarded the place.