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Modern-day Serbia is dotted with the remains of dozens of fortresses erected on strategically important spots – by the rivers, along the trading routes and at the borders of past empires.
Built to protect cities, properties or monasteries, fortresses were a crucial element in the military strategies of medieval rulers.
Some of them served a strictly military purpose and you can still see some of the former military camps, arsenals and barracks. Others developed into proper small cities, complete with houses, schools and corner shops, as well as churches and mosques, whose remains have withstood the ravages of time.
One of the oldest fortresses in Serbia is Stari Ras, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List together with the nearby monasteries of Sopoćani and Djurdjevi stupovi and the Church of Saint Apostles Peter and Paul (Saint Peter’s Church).
Today, fortresses in Serbia tell the tale of the turbulent history of these parts and transport visitors to the age of medieval rulers, knights and great battles.
Some of them have taken on a new life, a new energy and a new purpose, as the venues for cultural and art events, while the walls of some medieval forts now protect parks, galleries or even museums.