Perched on a rock above the Danube at the entrance to the impressive Iron Gate gorge in Đerdap national park, medieval Golubac fortress has for centuries been one of the most imposing sights in Serbia. At the end of March 2019, the fortress reopened for visitors after a five-year-long reconstruction project, which brought many changes to its looks by finally removing a road that used to run right through its gates and by building a pier for travellers arriving by boat.
Visitors can now enjoy the spectacular views over the Danube’s widest point (7km) from Golubac’s imposing towers. They can also learn about its history, beginning in the 14th century when the citadel was built to guard a strategically important spot on an ancient road which had connected Central and Eastern Europe since the Roman times.
Although visitors can climb nine of Golubac’s towers, the paths leading to the higher parts of the fortress are very challenging and some areas can only be accessed with a guide.
The fortress also features an exhibition dedicated to the failed Hungarian attempt to take Golubac from the Ottoman hands in 1428, which led to the death of one of Poland’s most famous knights, Zawisza Czarny (commemorated with a plaque on one of the walls). Outside the fortifications are recently unearthed remains of an Ottoman bathhouse, while the visitors’ centre has a small display of artefacts found during the reconstruction; there’s also an onsite cafe.
Golubac, located about two hours’ drive from Serbia’s capital Belgrade, is one of a number of sites which were recently reconstructed in a bid to preserve the country’s rich heritage and attract more visitors to its more rural areas. In November 2018, a 14th-century fortress in the southeastern city of Pirot also reopened after an extensive refurbishment, while in January 2019 the majestic art-nouveau synagogue in the northern city of Subotica received its first visitors after a major facelift.
By Srđan Garčević