Smederevo, Viminacium and Silver Lake
On Sunday morning the TV forecast said there will be rain, but our curious group of tourists was ready to escape it - to phenomenal places that only Serbia can offer. And indeed, we avoided the rain all day, the sun was welcoming us in every place we visited.
The gray clouds and the moody atmosphere on the road were additionally forgotten by the stories of our energetic tour guide. We listened to interesting stories, which made us impatient to get to the destination. And after a short drive, only an hour from Belgrade, it was in front of us.
It was the fortress of the city of Smederevo, which was built in the 15th century. The fortress is right next to the train station, and for that reason I got the impression that I'm on a set of a film whose story is in the Middle Ages. It's strange that the railroad is right next to the fort, unless that there are two movie studios, one next to the other.
Nevertheless, at the next moment, I realized that this fortress, because of that specific detail, is even more striking and vivid. It's different. It comes out of the usual frame.
We were welcomed by a local guide who pointed out to us the importance of this historic object of Serbia. The most interesting part of his story was the various anecdotes about the construction of the fort.
We were also taken to the castle, the most beautiful part of the fortress. There I had an even stronger feeling that I was on a movie set. I was a bit right though, as in Smederevo fortress the Serbian series "Nemanjici" was shot whose story was placed in the period of the 12th and 13th century. We also had the opportunity to see the parts which were upgraded for shooting needs. Frankly, if I haven't heard that information from the guide, I wouldn't even have figured out that it was a "false" part of the fort.
When we heard the whole story about the fort and the castle, we got the opportunity to explore its every corner. My favorite one was at the top of the castle, in the highest tower, from where I could see the divine view - the fortress from the bird's perspective, as well as the mouth of the river Jezava into the Danube.
Still under the strong impression of the fortress, we headed to the Viminacium archaeological park – not knowing that more awaited us. The curator told us gradually about the history of this Roman city and the legion camp. We moved from section to section of this really large archaeological park. It's so big that a vehicle needs to be used in order to traverse it.
At the beginning of the tour, while we wandered through the narrow and low corridors of the Roman tombs, I remembered the stories of my art history professor who described the passages through the tombs in Egypt. And in that moment I thought - so Viminacium is Serbia's Egypt! And indeed, it is equally rich, with terms and stories of how they were used by the Romans, with a gladiator battle arena, but also with an excellent improvised Roman villa.
In the Roman villa, called Domus Scientiarum, we had the opportunity to see a model of the former city, where it appeared to me as a really large one. We also saw the marble busts of the 18 Roman rulers who were born on the territory of nowadays Serbia.
As for the final, but equally striking moment of the tour, it was an opportunity to see a mammoth skeleton, called Vika. She was found in this area only a few years ago where she lived a million years ago! When you see that number on the information board next to Vika, the excitement grows as you have never seen anything older.
Remains of this mammoth are the oldest in Europe. That's why it's worth to come here.
After an exciting historical tour, it was necessary to collect impressions in a quiet and picturesque place, and there is no better choice than Silver Lake. The sun went down and everything was fitted to enjoy the Sunday lunch with a view of the lake.
When the tasty food disappeared from the plate, there was still plenty of time for a walk along the Serbian sea – the name some people use to call this lake. And they are not wrong about this comparison.
Rain, which was announced at the beginning of the day, began when we left the Silver Lake, full of new knowledge about the treasure of Serbia - in history and landscape.
Written by traveler: Jelena Stefanović
You can see more details and make online reservation for this tour here: https://www.serbianadventures.com/en/adventure/view/111/down-and-around-the-danube-viminacium-tour-one-day-excursion