In September, when the grape harvest begins in the Smederevo vineyards, the 125th Smederevo Wine Days will be held. A rich cultural and entertainment programme will be organized in this town on The Danube, not far from Belgrade, from 3 to 9 September. More from Jelena Gligorić.
Smederevo is a municipality two thirds of which is covered by agricultural land, half of which are orchards and vineyards. With 15,000 hectares of surface, the Smederevo area is the largest fruit and vine growing region in the Balkans, where the atmosphere and climate, along with the Danube and Morava rivers and the hills of the fruitful nearby region of Sumadija, form ideal conditions for fruit and vine growing. Hence the idea of the Smederevo wine festival, one of the oldest such events in Serbia. It was founded as an exhibition in the honour of grapes and wine, when, 125 years ago, delegations from Vienna and Pest sailed into this town on The Danube to buy fruit and wine. It is our obligation to continue with and cherish this tradition, says Branče Stojanović, the Smederevo mayor.
The vine-growing tradition here is very old and it dates back to Roman Emperor Probus from the 4th century, so the town of Smederevo is dedicated to keeping the cult of grapes and wines. The organized wine production has been going on here for more than a century, ever since the Smederevo vine-growing cooperative was established. In that period, wines from Smederevo were exported to various corners of the world and even to America.
The festival is aimed at introducing guests to the glorious past of this town, 50km far from Belgrade, which has been the Serbian capital twice – in the Middle Ages – and today is the most famous for its fortress, the largest one in the European plains, and is thus mostly recognized by tourists on river cruisers. Part of the festival’s programme will be organized within the walls of the fortress, built by Serbian ruler Đurađ Branković in the 15th century, but also in the Wine Town, in downtown Smederevo, where local wineries will organize presentations.
On 7 September, a medieval pageant will be organized along the central street, led by Đurađ Branković himself and his wife, Jerina, and also including folklore ensembles and members of the Association of Carnival Towns of Europe. The rich programme will be going on at several venues, says culture coordinator Dragoljub Martić, the Smederevo Fortress being the most interesting one. Visitors will be able to taste various wines, grapes, but also fish soup. They will also be able to enjoy arts and crafts exhibitions and musit programme. An exhibition entitled Village Yards, organized by the local communities and farmers of the region, will present its potentials to everyone interested in ethno tourism and a large number of interesting souvenirs will be on offer.