THE LARGEST PLAINS
FORTRESS IN EUROPE
S m e d e r e v o
Stefan Ratković, Smederevo's speaker, as well as the first forms of notes of the oldest Serbian composer, Kir (Mr.) Stefan Domestik. Money was wrought and jewels were made. The Despot was one of the richest feudal people of that time in Europe. There were about 10 million Ducats in his treasury. Nothing of that great wealth was found, other than a golden earring with pearls and rubies. But the legend of "Jerina's Treasury", hidden in the fortress walls, still lives and attracts tourists keen for an adventure to look for it.
The fortress in Smederevo, a town some 40 km away from Belgrade, was constructed by Serbian Despot Đurađ Branković, from 1428 to 1430. The works were managed by brother of the Despot's wife Jerina, Đorđe Kantakusen. The mason masters were the Greeks and those from Dubrovnik. The largest part of the work fell however to Serbian people, who also had to work free of charge, in addition to taxes in money. The fortress was finished in a record short time and Jerina's nickname remained "The Damn".
The Smederevo Fortress extends on an area of 11 hectares and so it makes the largest plains fortress in Europe. It consists of the Small and the Big Town. The Small Town is the Despot's castle, which is separated by walls and towers from the Big Town, the last defense of the fortress.
The Smederevo Fortress has got a few more specific characteristics. It is the fastest fortified town in our region. Due to the fear from the Turks, it was finished in two years only.
Soon after the work completion, the castle becomes the spiritual and cultural center of Serbia at that time. A great book fan and benefactor, the Despot gathered around himself writers, musicians and painters. The works of Konstantin the Philosopher were written there, those of