Do you know which city was called the second Al-Andalus?

Travel 31 Mar 2021 Contributor
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second Al-Andalus
Belgrade, capital of Serbia, is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube. © Mario Cupkovic | Dreamstime.com

What comes to our mind if someone says the second Al-Andalus? Well, some will get confused. Some will think of some reemergence of Islamic power in Spain and only a few will answer Belgrade. Yes, astonishing might be, but the Capital of Serbia was once an Islamic city. It was called the Second Al-Andalus.

According to famous researchers and Islamic scholars, after a long time of the declination of Islamic power in Al-Andalus, Belgrade was conquered by Islam and named The Al-Andalus of the Balkan region.

Location and its importance

The location of Belgrade is interestingly important. It is situated in the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. It also at the crossroads of the Balkan Peninsula and the Pannonian plainland. The main stronghold of this city is the fortress which is called Beogradska tvrđava in Serbian.

It is one of the ancient continuously inhabited cities in the World. As it was considered strategically as the entry gate to the Balkan regions, it has faced 115 wars and destroyed 45 times. It was bombarded five times and plundered. Who knows how many times!

Be it Romans or Byzantines, Belgrade was always a cherry on the cake for the imperialist powers.

But, Islam was the only empire that helped Belgrade to grow. According to the Islamic scholars, in the holy month of Ramadan, Islam took over the city which was once known as the fortress of Christianity.

The reclaim of the second Al-Andalus

The Ottoman advancement started around the year 1456. Over 150000 Ottoman Turkish soldiers besieged the city. But the Hungarian General John Hunyadi defended very well.

Around the year 1520, the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent attacked again. Finally, seven decades after the siege of 1456, the fortress was finally captured by the Ottomans. Suleiman planned a lot of reformation to the city. According to historians, he was well-read, educated, and a brilliant strategist.

It is said that he promised his subjects that if Allah instructs him, he will definitely conquer the city of Belgrade. He reached the coast of the city in the month of July and started bombarding the fortress. The first attack took place on the 3rd of August, 1521. The second attack was on the 8th of August, and this time it was fatal. The lower portion of the Belgrade Fort was captured by the Ottomans. Finally, on the 26th of the Holy month of Ramadan, Belgrade surrenders to Suleiman.

The author of the book called “Diaries on Sultan Suleiman’s campaign on Belgrade” states that after capturing the fort, a muezzin was appointed to call for adhan from it. On the next day, 27 of Ramadan, Sultan celebrated Ramadan with a gala show.

The reformation of the city

Belgrade became the seat of the Pashalik and it was made the second largest Ottoman town in Europe. Sultan Suleiman introduced Ottoman architecture efficiently. A number of mosques were established in oriental style. After a certain time, the number of mosques increased to 217.

The mosques were beautiful. They were very much in oriental style with gardens and water resources.

Another important reformation which the Muslims did was the establishment of clock towers. These clock towers are known as Saat Kulas. The resonance of the clocks can be heard from outside the city. The Saat Kula of Belgrade was established in the year 1537.

Just like the actual Al-Andalus, Belgrade was also destroyed by the Catholic European Imperial power. Presently, Belgrade is a modern European city, which has no memory of being the great second Al-Andalus of Islamic history.