VRŠAC CASTLE - Vršac Hill

Main architectural and construction project of reconstruction , renovation , conservation and upgrading
Employer : City Museum of VRŠAC
Facility : VRŠAC CASTLE
Location: Vršac - Vršac Hill
Chief designer: Branislav Krnić , dia
Structural engineer Branislav Radibratović , dig
Consultant: Snežana Večanski , dia
Contributors: Mirjana Sladić , dia
Dusan Radosavljevic , architectural technician
Slobodan Otić , architectural technician

Vršac castle belongs to the medieval fortifications that are rarely mentioned in historical sources . Felix Mileker wrote that the Turks , who ruled for 164 years in this region , destroyed every written information that could teach us about the genesis and fate of this little fortress . According to the author This building dates back to about 1439th and believes that the fort was built by Despot George Brankovic .
The first stylized look of this building originates from the map of Lazarus Sekretaris in 1528. The presence of the Turkish army was recorded on the payroll mercenary from 1590-1591. Detailed descriptions of visible walls on the hill where transcribed by Evliya Celebi from his trip through this area in 1664.
The appearance of the Vršac castle has been preserved on the seal of the German municipality of Vršac in 1745. as well as on the stamp of "PRIVILEGIATE COMMUNITATIS VERSCHEZ " from 1804.
The Donjon tower was built of crushed stone from a local quarry, on an irregular rectangular base. The orientation, with small deviations, is to the four points of the compass. The walls rest on rock. On three sides the walls are reinforced by escarpments, along the entire length of the east wall, and on the south and north only the outside of the walls. The interior of the donjon tower is divided into three levels, which were separated by wooden structures. The lowest level of the tower has a rough surface with no openings. The main entrance to the tower, a barrel-vault of brick, with a floor of stone slabs of irregular shape, is on the second floor in the west wall, a barrel-vault of brick, with a floor of stone slabs of irregular shape. The threshold is formed of cut stone with doorposts and lintel also of cut stone. On the the west wall of the third floor is an arched niche with a window. The vault of the niche is made of masonry brick, as is the window frame. Along the side walls are sheet stone benches. In the southeastern corner are the remains of masonry brick stoves. In the south wall of this floor is an opening to the parapets – a brick barrel-vault passage. There is also a brick kiln ton the third floor that has a common stack with the stoves on the lower floors. At the top of the donjon tower are walkways of about 2m width with massive merlons. There are the visible outlines of a brick building on the north wall of the tower.

Minor construction works on the building were done in 1894. and 1933.
The first archaeological excavations on Vršac hill, of an exploratory character, were carried out in 1953. The results of the excavations were not published nor was appropriate documentation made . Exploratory archaeological excavations along the walls and ramparts of the building were carried out in 1983. The objective was to determine the shape and dimensions of the fort foundations and their level of preservation. The project for systematic archaeological excavation was completed in 1996. The Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Pancevo began work in 1997. This work continued until 2000 and was taken over by The Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in 2001 In the eastern part of the courtyard and at the foot of donjon tower, works organized by the City Museum in Vršac were carried in 2002.
The project for the first phase of reconstruction of the Vršac castle is based on data from research papers that were published in the book'' Castle'' by Brmbolić Marina. The project was to replace the floors in the donjon tower with box section beams to support the wooden floorboards. Metal parts are accentuated with paint to show intervention. The floors made of planed oak planks are installed over steel roof beams in two layers to overlap the joints. The entrance of the ground floor is made of glass, therefore the museum can be observed to the lowest level of the dungeon tower. The staircases between levels are made of steel box profiles with oak treads. The width of the staircase is 80 cm and the treads are dimensioned so as to permit relatively comfortable climbing to visitors. The four-sided wooden roof with roof shingles is put back. The attic storey and massive teeth with parapet are reconstructed. The stone walls on the outside and the inside are greatly damaged due to poor maintenance, a lot of stone has fallen out and lime mortar which walls were pointed with is evident only in traces, mostly on the inside. It is envisaged to replace the missing stone and re-pointing the interior and exterior side walls with extension mortar made from slaked lime and white cement.

In addition to the donjon tower a wall is planned to be built along the northern wall, on the existing remains. The building will have two floors , the toilet will be located on the ground floor and upstairs will be the office or curators control room. This room will be used to regulate the access of visitors and electronic museum. The connection between the floors in this building is provided by a stone staircase housed in thick wall . From the curatorial access is provided to the track from which the court can be approached and continues to the staircase leading to the entrance of the tower.The building is being built of rubble stone from a local quarry , with grouting of the joints on the donjon tower as well. The link between the original existing wall and the new masonry is accentuated by two rows of cut granite slabs . This building as well is sheltered by a three-paned roof covered with roof shingles . In the slope of the roof, insulation is going to be fitted designed to ensure the smooth operation of computer networks . At the corner of the north and the east wall a niche is made for the landmark of the state geodetic network..
The second phase of reconstruction of the Vršac castle includes the conservation of the existing walls and superstuctures.
Part of the east wall around the cistern will be restored to its original height, as there is a trace of the wall on the south wall of the donjon tower .
The missing part of the horseshoe shaped tower is built with quarry stone, the same type as the existing, extension mortar with white cement and pointing of the joints. The wall is being built at the height of the existing wall on the north side of the fort. Part of the missing wall on the north is also being built from quarry stone as well as the horseshoe shaped tower to the height of the existing wall on the north side. On the northern side of the fort in the area where it is assumed that there was a gate , visitors will be allowed to access the castle by a ramp, the original entrance gate is not going to be indicated. The project provides reinforced concrete foundations for the access ramp, part of the north wall and the walls around the cistern along the south wall of the donjon tower. The missing part of the north wall is on dilapidated walls, and it is necessary to create a foundation. The foundation for the walls around the cistern will only be done if, after digging, it is ascertain that the parts of the wall are not founded on solid rock.
Access ramps and plateaus in the courtyard will be paved with quarry stone without grouting , to allow water absorption . Plateaus will be created in a gentle slope to allow drainage of storm water through the original hole in the south wall of the fort.