Gardos: Romanesque Tower, Atelier and Gallery
One of the Seven Millennium Monuments and the Only Preserved Monument of Its Kind Outside the Territory of Hungary!
The Millennium Tower, Gardos or Sibinjanin Janko’s tower, was erected in 1896 as one of the seven monuments built by the Austro-Hungarian authorities to mark the 1000th anniversary of their arrival in the area of the Pannonian plateau. The tower in Gardos marked the imaginary southernmost point of the monarchy, and in addition to this, two monuments were erected in Hungary (Pannonhalma and Opusztaszer) and Slovakia (Nitra and Devin) and one in Romania (Barosevo) and Ukraine (Mukachevo). Seven structures correspond with the seven tribes from which the Hungarian people originated, and the Gardos Tower is the only preserved monument from this group outside the territory of Hungary.
This monumental building is the product of Hungarian architects and was built in the Romanesque style, combining stone and brick. Gardos, a hill in Zemun, was chosen for its position, above the old Roman fortification Taurunum from the 9th century. The roof of this magnificent 118 ft high tower once carried a massive eagle with a wingspan of 4 meters, who was watching over the Balkans.
The official name of the most famous symbol of Zemun is the Millennium Tower. However, among Serbs it is better known as Gardos, that is, Sibinjanin Janko’s tower. The name Gardos was created according to the Hungarian transcription of the Serbian word grad (city), and the nickname Sibinjanin Janko’s tower (Tower of John Hunyadi) was given thanks to the Hungarian knight Janos (John) Hunyadi, locally known as Sibinjanin Janko. Hunyadi was famous for the victory he won in 1456 against the Turkish Empire, defending Belgrade and achieving the greatest Christian victory over the Ottomans in the 15th century. Only three weeks after the victory, Janos passed away in the medieval Gardos fortress from the plague.
The tower is often mentioned as a place of mysterious events among citizens, and one of the most popular legends is that there is a passage under the Danube, which leads from the tower to Kalemegdan Fortress.
Gallerists Borka and Djordje Cubrilo renovated the Millennium Tower in 2006 with the consent of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and turned it into a gallery and art studio. A gallery of analog cameras and art photographs, atelier, and gallery Cubrilo are situated in the basement of the tower. The studio mainly deals with photographs, design, and graphics and organizes exhibitions of photographers from the country and the world.
There is a studio for making individual and family portraits in the tower as well as a school for studying photography free of charge. It also houses a permanent exhibition dedicated to the personality and achievements of Serbian mathematician and scientist Milutin Milankovic in the form of 3D models and software.
Every year, the Cubrilo family organizes an exhibition dedicated to the revitalization of the tower. The exhibitions include about 8,000 photographs taken by Djordje Cubrilo that testify about the various stages of the renovation.
In addition to the artistic experience that its architecture and gallery provide, the tower also offers an observation platform with a magnificent view of Belgrade and Zemun.