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On the rocky, cone-shaped hill overlooking Kosovska Mitrovica stand the remains of the fortified city of Zvečan. It is unknown who built this fortification or indeed when it was built. The first mention of it is found in the 11th century, when it was ruled by Serbian grand princes.
Situated at a crossroads of major caravan routes, Zvečan witnessed many battles for supremacy. Until the end of the 14th century it changed hands between different rulers, before it fell to the rule of Ottoman Turks, who retained control of it from the mid-15th century to the 18th century.
Its unusual, elongated layout is due to the shape of the terrain which the fortress follows.
The most visually appealing part of the fortress is the Upper Town, surrounded by five towers and the main keep tower, where the remains of Saint George’s Church and a tank have been found. The church’s preserved foundation reveals it had the shape of a cross-in-square, an altar apse and a dome over the square base of the central section. Saint George’s Church has witnessed a number of major historic events - according to records, it was here that a prayer for a favourable outcome was held ahead of a battle between the army of the Serbian ruler Stefan Nemanja and the Byzantines.
Although this once mighty medieval fortress now lies mostly in ruins, looking at the remains of the ramparts and the several remaining towers that have been preserved, one can immediately get a sense of its historic greatness.