History of Zemun


For the history of Zemun, the least that can be said is that it’s a fruitful and exciting. From the very beginning until the present day, Zemun belongs to the group of the oldest settlements in the universe, it was founded at the same time as Belgrade, which is considered 3rd or 4th oldest kasaba in Europe. It was enslaved by numerous armies, it was destroyed and burned by both famous and anonymous military leaders, it was economically independent, geostrategically important, industrially perfected, but also a city that has experienced destruction and endured the epidemic of plague. It’s very little known that Zemun was founded on the location where Gardos fortress is, and around the area of the current cemetery on the same hill where in Neolithic epoch it was first built a fortified settlement more than seven thousand years ago.

This settlement dates back to the early Neolithic period, and the period of its most archaic culture in the Danube area, near modern Kula it was perfect to begin the formation of the future city, because they are natural caveats, the high places and the closeness of the river, hiding underground, were exceptional defense against attackers. From that settlement the area was later expanded, modified the names of the aggressors and the city was formed, and later a part of the city of Belgrade, with the current name. People of that time lived in dugouts - pits, according to the tangible remains of civilization, it can be, relatively easily prove that the first inhabitants of Zemun set up their colonies and they have existed in a period of about year 4500-3000 BC.

This civility was replaced around 2000 BC by Baden culture, and in this area the remains of Vučedol culture can be found in this region and in the environment of modern Pregrevica. This is confirmed by archaeological findings discovered on the banks of the Danube River. The famous fortress on Gardoš existed in the era of Celtic dominance of this region in the period from 3rd century BC to 1st century AD and with no representatives of them derives the first recognized name of the city - Taurunum. What is interesting is that the name Taurunum remains and does not change during the comprehensive period of Roman rule, in fact the ancient period. To support different ancient data sources it is believed that the settlement was raised around year 85 BC.

In the period of conquest by the Romans led to subjugate Illyrian and Celtic people and after the suppression of the Pannonian revolt in year 12 AD, Taurunum grows as ancient town and this is proven to be an ancient Roman city on the plateau of Gardoš hill. Its unchanging appearance of the biggest importance, Taurunum possessed as a city at a time when the Romans started arriving in Zemun and basically later as the port or place of residence of the Danube’s "Pannonian flotilla" and an important port opposite Singidunum. In the period of overdue antiquity, Taurunum is already a grounded port and trading town on the main road leading to the newly founded Constantinople. Permanently placed Roman forces at present Gardoš defended the city from invaders, as such has become a challenge for many conquerors, like the Huns, who destroyed and robbed it around 441.
Upon completion of the 8th century the Franks began to rule over Srem and visible at the site of the ancient Taurunum occurs a new Frankish toponim Mallevila (evil place), and then Slovenian name Zemlin, which means earthy city (early 9th century), which is already in connection with inhabited Serbs and managing of Bulgarians, who in that period moved Frankish governing from Srem. In the 11th and 12th century participants of the Second and the Third Crusade were flowing through Zemun, and in the same of those campaigns, and after a small incident with the crusaders, Zemun was completely burned in the identical period retreating from Belgrade, the Hungarians used the stones of ruined Belgrade Fortress to found Zemun city, it happened in 1127, twenty-seven years later, the Byzantine emperor Manuel Comnenus invaded Zemun in 1154, ordered to demolish its walls and that the stones are again incorporated into the walls of Belgrade, after nine years Zemun is conquered by Romeji, who destroyed it.

The essential core of Zemun accounted fortress, town of Zemun, the special position that rules the environment to some extent in the area of the necropolis of the aging Taurunum, created the foundation stone bumper with almost the exact rectangle that its format is approaching the square. It has become a quadrangular fortress that on every corner has a round tower. Right next to the fortress the residents of Zemun started to build their houses and the village was widened near the town and around and fell into the outskirts. As time went on, this way two parts were created and people called them the Upper and Lower Zemun, according to many indisputable confirmations of famous historians, this development was completed in year 30 of 14th century. Somewhat later, in 1368, the whole colony was called - Zemun town, because the fort at Gardoš whose fingerprints we see today, as built during 14th century and can be counted into the types of fortifications of Gothic era.

In 15th and 16th century Zemun got the new aggressor, the Turks, they ravaged and burned, in 1456 the Turkish army surrounded Belgrade, and in Zemun the Christian fleet, which reaches the Danube River from the north as reinforcements, breaks the barricade of the Turkish vessel in the most crucial moment under unwavering guiding of Janko Hunjadi arriving to help Belgrade. This finding is not surprising, because at that time Hungary was quite fond of Serbia, precisely because of the conflict with the Ottoman Empire, the Turks on the Danube river, next to the current restaurant "Carp" chained their ships to stop help arriving from the north, John Hunjadi and his army managed to crack the barricade there and defeat the Turks, and it was the biggest Christian victory over the Ottomans at that time. After the victory over the Turks, due to war accidents, plague appeared in Zemun which destroyed many of the inhabitants, and as the celebration of the triumph was still flowing, Hunjadi died of plague in his fortress, Gardoš tower. Since Hunjadi lived in the medieval fortress, the tower is  popularly called "Sibinjanin Janko’s tower." To the memory of that event, today many people consciously or unconsciously use that name for the current Tower on Gardoš like that though it was created whole 450 years later. 

In the next period, Zemun, 2 by 2 centuries the property, first of the Turks and then the Austrians, in 1522 the Turks frequently attacked Belgrade and the Sultan commanded to occupy Zemun, since then, Zemun is the sanjak region of Srem. From the Turkish period remains at this time the oldest surviving house in Belgrade, the inn at the White Bear, whose existence is recorded in the last five centuries. Robbing and war changes of Austrian-Turkish clashes, finishing in 17th and early 18th century were finished by treaty in Pozarevac in 1718, then

Austria finally got Zemun and kept it until the end of World War II, until the collapse of their empire.

With the arrival of the Austrian authorities, the circumstances in Zemun are modified, the Muslim population is almost entirely moved to the south, and formerly displaced Christian population returned to their homes. Amenities in the years gradually lose oriental look and receive European. Besides the indigenous Serbs in Zemun now came and German craftsmen family, stepping into the composition of Austria, Zemun formed part of the ownership of the family Schönborn. In 1730 he established a very important Zemun institution (Kontumac) primary cell permeable and sanitary goods, passengers and mail, and extra cells for daily movement, and was in the territory of the present Zemun park. Thanks to that institution Zemun became a major center and enabled him agile development. After the Belgrade truce border between Austria and Turkey settled on the Danube and all, suddenly grown importance of this region, year 1746, annulled the manor administration and all the villages of Southeast Srem entered in the edges of the military frontier, a border Zemun becomes autonomous military community with arranged Administration (Magistrate).

In 1789 the Austrians took over Belgrade from the Turks, since this town once in its history was "under Zemun", ie. Zemun’s mayor was the commanding officer of the City of Belgrade. Since the 18th and 19th centuries there was a stop on the terrestrial commercial road from Vienna to Constantinople, Zemun becomes an important transit and trading place. In 1833 in Zemun’s resident becomes a prominent poet Lamartine, and people from Zemun in his honor 100 years later erected a memorial pillar that still can be seen. Unfortunately, 1842 was well known Zemun’s Kontumac was cancelled, which caused a heavy attack on Zemun’s economic progress. Zemun extends to the point where the two empires collide, an intersectio of two worlds, two religions, East and West, and has considerable commercial involvement, because the inhabitants of Zemun at that time speaks several languages, sometimes is go down to the average Zemun’s citizen at that period spoke 7 languages ​​(besides German, Serbian, Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, French and Russian), and traded up to English.

In 1871, after reconstruction of the territory under the name of Austria - Hungary, Zemun receives the status of an autonomous city with a mayor election, something later deleted the military border and Zemun formed the center of educational districts, and some schools have a practice close to 200 years old, while the gymnasium came in 16 . a decade. In 1873 the city was bound railway line with Europe, and then, via Belgrade in 1884 with the East, the financing of the infrastructure has increased trade and revive the economy, which is seen in the opening of the workshop, the first manufactories, steam-mills for wheat, the first mortgage banks, instantaneous hotel, restored building fund, arranging roads, excavation of the first artesian wells (1892) and the installation of electric lighting (1901), the last days of World war II, on November 5, 1918, in Zemun walked the Serbian army and the borough is within the limits established state of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

Zemun’s Gardoš tower, a formation that rises above the old, the former Austro-Hungarian silver city, there is a 36 meters, is dominated this area as a tower and watchtower was supposed to impress neighbors and Belgrade. In the First World War, the tower was changed purpose and became a military facility in which he was raised by artillery fire on Serbian warriors as well as machine-gun litter, to this day is not permitted on who and when removed from the top of the tower eagle whose wings scope was four feet, his head was turned towards Belgrade as an indicator of Hungary wishes to Serbia. From this epoch onwards Zemun develops, expands, but also increasingly bounds itself to Belgrade.

n 1934 it was realized the bridge on the Sava and Zemun was administratively composed Belgrade expressed in this period began with the work I airplane factory Dragon in Karađorđevoj street, and within Belgrade Zemun was to war in 1941, the inhabitants of the city in March in 1941. the pact with the Force blamed the shaft, and on 12 April, six days after Easter bombing of Belgrade, Zemun is possessed, and appointment management is German, and soon organs of the puppet state of the Independent Croatian, identical in town appear first forms of resistance, and since the mid 1942 starting armed skirmishes members of the anti-fascist movement in the villages of southeast Srem, the struggle against the occupation took place without stopping and suffered enormous human and material losses.