Petrovaradin Fortress – one of the most beautiful fortress in Europe

Petrovaradin Fortress is stationed in Serbia (Balkan), in a city Novi Sad, in municipally Petrovaradin, on the Danube coast and the slopes of Fruska Gora. On the foothill of the Fortress is a small town.

On the place where Petrovaradin is today, Romans had their cestrum. City Novi Sad itself is founded by the merchants and trades people that worked on Petrovaradin Fortress. Twelve soldiers, twelve bakers, butchers, and other trade people are enrolled as founders of the city that in 1748 bought the privilege of exemption from feudal Comorian – border government.

Building of Fortress

Cornerstone for building of fortress was placed by Austrian prince Kroye. Building of fortress lasted full 88 years. Officially, finishing works on building the fortress were done in 1780 but the work is prolonged to year 179 when Petrovaradin fortress becomes a fortress with the latest weapon equipment in the whole monarchy. Her weapon those days was consisted of 400 artillery weapon of variety of calibers which was extremely large number in that time. Building was done by Australian military architects. Fortress was build on 112 hectares, on the rise that dominates in that ambience. It is build on several levels, and their depth comes up to 40 meters under ground, and there is a net of tunnels or “catacombs”, as they are wrongly but popularly called by Citizens of Novi Sad, including underground military galleries, in total length of 20 kilometers.

Fortress was undefeatable for that days war technique and even then she got name Gibraltar on Danube.


Suburb (lati. Suburbium) known as old part of Petrovaradin, is an old baroque city stated on lower part of Petrovaradin fortress. It is surrounded with moats that were once filled with water.

In 1714-1742 it becomes a permanent fortification. In it’s circle are raised headquarter buildings, barracks, military pavilion, houses, administrative buildings, engineers main office, military bakery, weapon warehouse and casemate, and in 1748 this tight settlement got a status of Military city municipality. Buildings are mostly high with big roofs, small backyards and narrow streets. Facades ar decorated, with symbols of housekeepers or statues of Saints in niches under the roof itself.

One of the most important buildings is Military hospital, which from its foundations has never stopped with its work, not even during war day.

The Clock, symbol of the fortress and Novi Sad

Clock-Tower is stated on Bastion of Saint Luka. The Clock origins from Alsace (France), and the Queen Maria Theresa gave it as a present The Clock Petrovaradin Fortressin the beginning of XVIII century. The Clock presents a sort of trademark of the fortress itself and Petrovaradin, and well as of Novi Sad (Serbia). The old tower was torn down on the beginning of XVIII century, and replaced by the one that stands till this day. The diameter of circles is about 2.5 meters, the clock is wound by manually, everyday.

It is interesting that its small needle shows minutes and the big one shows hours. It is made like that so that the fishermen on Danube  can see what time is it when they are far away from the clock. Of course , today everybody have modern clocks so this way of showing the right time is questionable, but because of tradition the needles stay inversely like they are.

By the way, during the cold day the clock is late, and when it’s hot it hurries; that is why it got epithet “Drunk Clock”.


Year 1526 Turkish attached Petrovaradin fortress and after a short time they concur her. In that moment fortress with its small number of defenders (1500) could not resist to attackers of Sultans numerous army (40000). The fortress will stay under Turkey’s jurisdiction for 160 years.

1694: Turks are trying to take back the lost fortress, but they have no success. Everyday battles, rain, winds, and harsh cold has exhausted the Turks. Big spate has flooded Turkish trenches and tents.  Newly come bad conditions and epidemic inside of Turkish military as well as the winter coming, after only 23 days of the siege, the retrieve to the Belgrade has started.

In 1716 Prince Eugene of Savoj has come in 9th of July with 42000 pedestrians and 23000 equestrians. There were already 1000 soldiers in  Petrovaradin fortress. During 26,27 and 28 July, Grand Vizier Damand Ali-pasha crossed Sava with around 150000 solider. Early morning on 5th of August Austrian army attacks Turks. The battle was settled until 11 o’clock. Turkish army with panic started to pull towards Belgrade and Grand Vizier has died.

Petrovaradin fortress today

Fortress still stands on its original place although it lost its strategic and defensive role.

Today the Fortress is one of the most attractive and most gladly visited tourist attraction of Novi Sad.

Museum of Novi Sad
Museum of Novi Sad inside

One of the attractions is also a Planetarium with telescopes directed to the sky full of stars, and one of the important institutions on the Fortress is Academy of Art, Museum of Novi Sad, Provincial Bureau for protection of monuments and culture.



Petrovaradin Fortress lake
Petrovaradin Fortress lake in tunnels



Although the most of the tunnels are still unexplored, there are also parts that are available for visitors. Of course, in tunnels the entrance is allowed exclusively with a professional guide. There is a so called Maltese cross in tunnels, as well as numerous Masonic insignias. One of the Masonic insignia is “Ipam miam”. It’s about an inscription that is used by alchemists and masons as signs on the doors to move towards the creator, towards something that becomes something out of nothing, and vice versa.

On the top of the Fortress is a luxury hotel Leopold where come many celebrities.


Exit singer Petrovaradin Fortress

One of the most famous world festivals (EXIT festival) is held every year in June on fortress.

Exit love Petrovaradin Fortress

Legends about the Fortress

There is a legend that in nearby of the Fortress there is a hidden treasure, so when exploring the tunnels, in underground galleries people went with metal detectors. The only things they could find are old weapons and munitions.

Legend of a big snake, a dragon, a monster. Due to the lost battle on Tekija,1716 when Damad Pasha was killed, out of revenge turkey specialists, after a certain period after the battle came with a mission to put angry adders, poisonous snakes, in mine systems around envelope, descriptions and it’s end points of the underground in niches. Those were the snakes that because of theirs hybrid gene have become enormous dragons that become rulers of the underground with only one goal, to revenge Eugene of Savoy by devouring army in the underground and over ground.

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