Settlement: Stari Slankamen

Stari Slankamen

Imbued with the remnants of a rich past, and located in a beautiful setting on the banks of the Danube, Stari Slankamen still holds a special charm. Both history and nature have given the village numerous values ​​that invite visitors to explore and experience it. The village, which instigated the development of tourism in the municipality of Inđija, is still one of its most attractive villages for tourists.

The Church of St. Nicholas built in 1468, the remains of the Acumincum fortress, the remains of the Turkish bath, the source of salt water “Slanača” and the nearby Monument of the Battle of Slankamen are just some of the sights of the village. One can also get to know it from the water, by a river cruise that leads to the confluence of the Tisza and the Danube. The confluence represents the tripoint of Bačka, Banat and Srem and the place where, according to the legend, the famous military leader Attila the Hun was buried. The entire experience will be completed by the rich offer of restaurants and wineries in Stari Slankamen and its surroundings.

Stari Slankamen, the oldest settlement in the Municipality of Inđija, is located in the north-eastern part of Srem, at the place where the Danube cuts into the extreme eastern slopes of Fruška Gora. Numerous cultural and historical monuments testify to the turbulent past as well as the strategic importance of the village along the Danube, which used to represent the border between different empires for centuries.

Archaeological excavations carried out at the Gradina site testify that this area was inhabited first by the Scordisci – Celtic tribes, and then by the Romans when the settlement was called Acumincum. During that period, due to their position on the frontier of the Roman Empire, the Romans built an observation post that protected their territory from Barbarian incursions from the north.

At the time of the migration of the peoples, Slankamen was destroyed, but its strategic position and military function, which was noticed and used by the Romans, rebuilt it and it often changed its masters. Slavs were replaced by Hungarians who held it until the Battle of Mohács (1526). There is not much information about Slankamen in the time of the Middle Ages until 1072, when it was first mentioned as Slankamen, i.e., Zalankemen, which can be connected to a source of salt water, which is still used today.

In the 13th and 14th centuries, a fortress was built in Slankamen, which protected the southern parts of Hungary from invasions from the south. As the danger from the Turks grew in the 15th century, the Hungarian kings began to distribute many of their assets to the Serbian nobility as fiefdoms, provided they defended them. At that time, Slankamen first belonged to Đurađ Branković, Vuk Branković, and then to despots Đurađ and Jovan. Due to its important position controlling navigation on the Danube, as well as the confluence of the Tisza, Slankamen was a very important point in the defence system of southern Hungary in the 15th and early 16th centuries and the most important naval centre on the Danube. In 1504, there were about 500 chaika boats in Slankamen, and in the 16th century there was a shipyard for the construction of chaikas. Chaikas were light and fast wooden boats that used oars or sails to move. They were very easy to manoeuvre, had a cannon at the top and were used for both attack and defence. During the time of the despots, Slankamen was also a very important spiritual centre in which monastic book copying was a well-developed activity at the turn of the 16th century.

The first written mention of the Church of St. Nicholas dates from 1501. According to the legend, it was founded by Vuk Grgurević, popularly known as Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk, the grandson of Despot Đurađ Branković. The church got its present appearance in the 18th century. Due to its historical, architectural and artistic value, the church was declared a cultural monument of exceptional importance.

After the fall of Belgrade in 1521, Turks devastated Slankamen, which is confirmed by many travel writers who describe the settlement and churches as severely damaged and destroyed. However, during this period, Slankamen did not lose its significance, but also gained a new, town function. Namely, the Turks built a Turkish bath there in the middle of the 16th century and thus laid the foundation for today’s medical function, which later completely replaced its military function.

In the 17th century, more precisely in 1691, there was a conflict between the Austrian and Turkish armies, after which Slankamen suffered a lot. A report from 1702 notes that the town was only partially preserved, that two Catholic churches and one mosque were destroyed, while the Orthodox church had walls, but was left without a roof.

Due to its position on the Danube River, near the confluence of the Tisza, the importance of Slankamen did not completely decline even during the times of the Military Frontier. In 1820, it was recorded that there was a ferry near Slankamen for transport from Srem to Banat and Bačka. At the time, Slankamen was an important fishing centre, a dock and a layover port for merchant ships. Slankamen developed slowly until the abolition of the Military Frontier in 1871, but also later. Due to the congestion between the floodplain of the Danube and sliding loess outcrops, part of the population moved out of the settlement during the 18th century and a new settlement was formed, which was called Novi Slankamen.

Slankamen was revived at the beginning of the 20th century, when a modern road to Novi Slankamen was built and a Hospital/Spa was founded (1906). The new spa function influenced the increased traffic, trade and crafts. After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the annexation to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, Slankamen began to develop even more and became a tourist destination. In order to encourage the development of tourism, a part of a quay was built after 1945, and regular bus lines from Stara Pazova and ferry lines Belgrade-Titel and Belgrade-Slankamen were reintroduced in order to bring the settlement closer to other urban settlements.