Roman well Belgrade (November 2019) The Roman well is special in that it is actually neither Roman nor a well. On the hill above the confluence of the Sava and the Danube, many cities were built by various conquerors during the last two millennia. The fortress got its present form during the great Austrian reconstruction when the new Belgrade fortress was built almost from scratch at the beginning of the 18th century. Roman Well itself was built by the Austrians between 1717 and 1731. 

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So it’s actually a Roman well, an Austrian water cistern. The water supply was of crucial importance for the city and its defenders, who were sometimes under siege for a long time. During the past centuries, numerous legends related to the Roman Well arose. One of the legends connected this place with the mythical hero Orpheus, who entered the underworld through a well. The second relates the creation of the well to the stay of IV Flavius of the Roman legion that stayed in Singidunum.

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Lenka Knićanin, who was accused of organizing the assassination of King Milan Obrenović in 1882, also died in the well. There is also a well-known story that the Germans suspected that part of the state’s gold was hidden in the vault, so they sent diving teams to check it out. A more recent tragedy related to the well tells a story from 1954. about a woman who died in a well and the killer was confirmed by the fact that trauma cards were found in his and her pockets. When Alfred Hitchcock visited Belgrade, he also visited the Roman Well, and then he said that such an environment was a real “treat” for him. The well was the inspiration for filming the movie Labyrinth in 2002. 

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The Roman well is normally 60 m deep, with a diameter of 3.51 m, and you can get down to the water through spiral walls of which there are a total of 212. Although numerous legends about the well arose in the imagination of people who were actually afraid of its unknown corridors for the defenders, it was the only source of water – life. Today, the well is an unmissable tourist attraction that attracts a large number of people who come to visit this mysterious place around which numerous mysteries have been woven for centuries.

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