I was always wondering why would they lie about Danube being blue, and where is it blue? Do not get me wrong, I simply love Danube and the fact we have it in Belgrade, but it is not blue. However, after going to a Danube cruise in Serbia, I found out where exactly is this river blue, but also that have seen a tiny bit of this wonderful country and there is much more.
About the cruise and the hotel:
One weekend in August I went to a trip through Serbia which is organized by hotel in Kladovo Aquastar Danube, and its duration is 3 full days. Travel includes a boat ride from Belgrade to Kladovo, 2 nights accommodation and half board in the hotel, as well as bus ride from Kladovo to Belgrade, but also a few excursions that are planned for 2nd and 3rd day.
The Adventure starts every Friday from May to October, when boat Aquastar Maxim is starting is ride from confluence of Sava and Danube in Belgrade to Kladovo, using the Danube flow, and its duration is 9.5 hours, but in my personal opinion it is worth every second and every penny. During the cruise you can enjoy the sun, food, drinks, tour guides fun facts as well as the ride itself, while you can see and take a shot of a lot of important historical and cultural sights like fortresses Ram, Golubac and Smederevo, archeological site Lepenski vir, Big and small cauldron in Djerdap gorge, also Decebal statue and Tabula Traiana.
In the evening on the first day we arrived to the beautiful 4 stars hotel in Kladovo, Aquastar Danube, right on time for an excellent dinner! The rooms are extraordinary and the bed is looking like a huge cloud, believe me you will feel sleepy the moment you see it, not to mention even when you try it. You will not want to leave. So rest and relaxation is guaranteed. Food is also impeccable so you can enjoy national and international cuisine specialties. There is also inside and outside pool, as well as inside and outside bar where you can enjoy in the Danube view and its blue color.
On second day you can go on excursions to visit Djerdap Hydro-electrical Power Plant and Archeological museum or Rajacke pimnice and Vratna gates. Otherwise, if you really just want to relax, I suggest a walk around Kladovo, near Danube, chilling on the city beach, enjoying SPA in hotel, or beautiful view from the bar. Since Serbia does not have a sea, we call Danube our sea, and believe me when you sea that blue color and wideness you will know what I am talking about, the feeling is like you are somewhere abroad and not in a small town in Serbia.
On the third day after breakfast we are heading towards Belgrade by bus, with several stops in Lepenski vir, famous archaeological site from Mesolithic and Neolithic era which was moved from its original place due to the flood, then Ethno Home Kapetan Misin Breg, and another archaeological Roman site Viminacium.
I would recommend this kind of adventure to everyone, because there is so many beautiful sights to see during this 3 day trip and the travel itself is not tedious at all, because everything is very well-organized. If you need more info on the tour itself you can find them on the site, as well as all info on hotel, boat and excursions. If you want to find out more on the sites on Danube you can visit DanubeVirtualMuseum.
Shortly on the historical and cultural sites:
Smederevo fortress – well-known also by a name Smederevac, as despot Đurađ Branković celled her, is lying on a confluence of rivers Jezava and Danube, and dates from 15th century. The fortress is a shape of triangle and consists of 2 parts – Big and Little town. Little town has 6 towers and it is a castle where despot lived with his family. Big city has been built a little bit later so that people could hide there from the Turks, when 19 more towers were built, and the fortress was surrounded by water. Fun fact is that the fortress has been built in purpose of being a new Capital instead of Belgrade. Also, during the construction of this part, which lasted only several years, a lot of workers died from exhaustion, so people blame depot’s wife for that tragedy giving her a nickname Damned Irene. The fortress was one of the greatest middle ages buildings in Europe, but her aesthetics were physically broken during the WWII when the bomb blew out bigger part of the fortress and the city itself.
Ramska tvrđava – is one of the oldest fortifications in Serbia, even tough the year of the construction is unknown, but in written history she was mentioned in 12th century for the first time and in the battle between Vizantia and Hungaria. However the first legend about how this place had been build is connected to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus, and it is also known that great leader Attila the Hun was also stayed for a while in this place. The base of the fortification is rectangular and it has 5 towers, and it has been reconstructed by Turks to be the strongest artillery fortification.
Golubačka tvrđava – better known as Golubac or Golubac city has been built in middle ages and it is located at the very beginning, at the entrance in Djerdap gorge. The fortress consists of 3 parts: front, back and upper town. And the name meaning is pigeon. The best know legend about this fortress is connected to the most beautiful girl in won named Golubana. Turkish pasha was in love with her so he offered her a hand in marriage, but Golubana was in love with someone else so she refused. Pasha took the girl on the rock near by and gave her the ultimate choice: either to live but as his wife, or to stay tied to a rock until she dies. The girl did not want to repent so that rock is called BABA-BAJ which on the Turkish language means to repent. The sailors say that she was eaten by the birds and that hear sad cries even today. The second legend is connected to despot Djuradj Brankovic and his wife Vizantine princess Jelena which was held imprisoned in the tower and was feeding pigeons.
DJerdap Gorge is the longest and biggest in Europe, and it is composite and ascendant valley that consists out of 4 gorges and 4 pits. Apart from this it also has sites such as archeological site Lepenski vir, Golubac city, Traian bridge and Tabula Traiana. After the construction of hydroelectric power plant the level of the water rose and so the Djerdap lake was made. The gorge represents a board between Serbia and Romania so from Serbian side it is called National Park Djerdap, and from Romanian side park Iron gates. Cauldron gorge is constriction in Djerdap gorge and it consists of 2 ittle gorges named Big and Small cauldron where you can also see some magnificent sites such as Decebalus statue and Traian’s plaque. Decebal was the last king of Dacia, who was defeated by Roman emperor Traian. The statue is over 40 meters tall and it is one of the biggest statues in Europe, and it is considered to be a defender of Iron Gates. It is also a fun fact that both Tabula Traiana and Lepenski vir needed to be moved due to a construction of the power plant.
Lepenski vir is one of the biggest and most significant archaeological sites from Mesolithic and Neolithic eras from the Stone age. The fishing and hunting settlements there had a planned construction before 8 to 10 thousand of years ago, which archaeologists found in the 60s of last century.
Viminacium is archaeological park which represents roman city that had over 30 thousand of residents, which dates from before new era and in which was born a large number of Roman leaders. Nevertheless, at the same spot in 2009 and 2012 they found mammoths skeletons, so there was made a Mammoth park as well. Although the first remains of the city were found in the 19th century, Viminacium was opened in 2006. The site is still growing and the remains of a great cultures are being discovered in this place.
My greatest recommendation to everyone who still have not visited this part of the country – by boat, bus or car, you will not repent in which every way do you travel to these destinations they are worth the trip and 2 or 3 days is more than enough to see everything mentioned.
Happy travelling my dear adventurers!
photos by: Dzoli